“Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

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“Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Tom on Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:52 am

Sound insights and practical sense.



https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VJIpwZT_Avo
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby GrahamB on Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:24 pm

Thanks for posting Tom. In a world of misinformation, Tim is a trusted source of common sense.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby GrahamB on Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:25 pm

Everything Tim says is great, but I do wonder about the very starting point of their discussion which is kind of an assumption - "martial arts were created to teach people how to fight".

Were they all "created" for that purpose? How can we be sure?

It seems to me that once you trace "martial arts" back further and further it becomes harder to separate them out from cultural practices that included "fighting" but encompassed a whole lot more - a whole world view that is no longer with us.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby GrahamB on Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:35 pm

For example, here's a great look at martial arts through an anthropological lens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4t6WXYukHQ

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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Bao on Sat Oct 09, 2021 1:47 am

GrahamB wrote:- "martial arts were created to teach people how to fight".

It seems to me that once you trace "martial arts" back further and further it becomes harder ...


Well, I guess I would ask “when” does a practice become a martial art? Do you need to add something actually useful to start calling it martial art?

But then I guess we need to ask - haven’t most styles actually ceased to be martial arts?

But maybe it’s better to define martial arts by the part “art”: “Martial arts are artistic expressions” or “fighting expressed as art”. And then we fall back to that artistic practices and expressions of combat might have been there before it was actually meant to be useful.

So I guess that we need to agree about a definition before we can make generalized conclusions.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby GrahamB on Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:06 am

Exactly - to some, "martial art" means something to do with military arts.

e.g. the book

Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century Kindle Edition
by Peter A. Lorge

is in large part a history of military arts.

But it's also true that an art can be more than one thing at once - e.g. Choy Li Fut can be performed as a cultural celebration for the local community with lion dancing and drumming... and it's also a genuine fighting art. Both at the same time.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Steve James on Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:20 am

Were they all "created" for that purpose? How can we be sure?


Which martial arts were not created for training people how to fight? I think you're confusing function with purpose. Hammers are made to hammer/pry nails --unless they're war-hammers meant to bash skulls. They're by primary purpose.

Ok, we can agree that fighting is older than martial arts. I don't think it's relevant that, nowadays or at any particular point in time, some people use a martial art for some other function --such as exercise. However, that can be done with any martial art --and a ballet dancer can kick a guy in the head, too.

It is interesting to consider when an organized martial art first emerged. But, imo, it had to have started with some form of organized training. There had to be a group of people doing the same thing --wherever it came from-- with the purpose of fighting. No doubt there were groups of people doing organized activities --like dancing, planting, praying, hunting-- that needed to be handed down. And, there has to be a hierarchy, specifically a leader who can tell others what to do.

I'm thinking of the development of Zulu martial arts.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Bao on Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:52 am

Steve James wrote:Which martial arts were not created for training people how to fight? I think you're confusing function with purpose. Hammers are made to hammer/pry nails --unless they're war-hammers meant to bash skulls. They're by primary purpose.
...
It is interesting to consider when an organized martial art first emerged. But, imo, it had to have started with some form of organized training. There had to be a group of people doing the same thing --wherever it came from-- with the purpose of fighting.


Generally, martial arts means an organised method to practice fighting. But the question is about where the practice started and why.

Some old types of ancient fighting are very ritualistic, like shamans possessed with spirits. Sometimes scaring the enemy and intimidating was enough to point out a winner.

Ritual, religion, dance, have all been integrated with both fighting and sacrificial rituals. And from what we know, this happened much earlier than we have any proofs of systemised martial arts systems. So it's possible that fighting methods were integrated early into ritual and dance. Or that religious rituals and similar were used as a framework to organise the earliest martial arts systems.
Last edited by Bao on Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:53 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby GrahamB on Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:49 am

Steve James wrote:
It is interesting to consider when an organized martial art first emerged. But, imo, it had to have started with some form of organized training. There had to be a group of people doing the same thing --wherever it came from-- with the purpose of fighting.


That's the assumption I think we should challenge. Why do you just naturally assume that?

What if, for example, there was a ritual that was performed every harvest moon where a priest or shaman invoked the spirits of the dead warriors of the battlefield - the hungry ghosts - and "fought" them using martial movements to keep them in their place for another year? What if over the years those movements became ritualised.

It's possible :)

At some point all the "martial arts" that exist today became codified as martial arts - sure - , and not whatever they were previously, sure. Or, they were created specifically for fighting - but that's a *modern idea* - Judo, for example.

I think a skilled fighter can use movements from pretty much anything to fight with or to practice "marital movement". That's also something to consider.

In short - It's complicated.
Last edited by GrahamB on Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby GrahamB on Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:53 am

If all martial arts were created purely with the intention of fighting then why is this in my martial art?

Image
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Bob on Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:54 am

It's highly unlikely that one can reduce the evolution of martial arts, culture etc. to some type of linear causative chain - generally speaking that is probably why the evolution of these issues are best viewed through a multiple-correlative lens.

When you shake everything loose you draw from the waters of ontology (what is the nature of being?) and epistemology (nature, origin, and scope of knowledge) and when you drill down deep enough you hit the bottom of the "existential" well as to what is the meaning, if any, of human existence.

It's a worthwhile endeavor if one is willing to live open-ended and embraced by the uncertainty of it all.

Enjoy your practice - bottom line - live well! ;)
Last edited by Bob on Sat Oct 09, 2021 10:04 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Kelley Graham on Sat Oct 09, 2021 10:06 am

To me, this is simple. Martial concerns survival. Sometimes, we must fight to survive. Art asks, When fight? Why fight? How fight? What is a threat? Knowing what is not a threat. These are deep issues, and difficult ethical questions are involved, but not complicated.
Last edited by Kelley Graham on Sat Oct 09, 2021 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Steve James on Sat Oct 09, 2021 10:40 am

What if, for example, there was a ritual that was performed every harvest moon where a priest or shaman invoked the spirits of the dead warriors of the battlefield


Ah, dead warriors presumes the existence of wars. Kelley's take on the need for "art" when it comes to warfare is Suntzi's argument. Studying war is necessary for the preservation of the state. That's the purpose of turning war into an art. Now, where those techniques, tactics, strategies arose from --whether sport, religion, dance, or experience in battle-- is really a separate issue. Sure, an art may have emerged from watching praying mantises or monkeys. Or, a farmer might learn how to use a rice thresher to bop someone over the head with, and later the practice is codified into a practice or included in a martial art. I'd still argue that the practice became a martial art when its purpose became martial.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Taste of Death on Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:26 pm

I believe RSF member Sal Canzonieri's book The Hidden History of the Chinese Internal Martial Arts addresses this subject but may not adequately explain it.
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Re: “Irreverent Sensei” podcast Ep. 4: Tim Cartmell

Postby Bhassler on Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:41 pm

Kelley Graham wrote:When fight? Why fight? How fight? What is a threat? Knowing what is not a threat. These are deep issues, and difficult ethical questions are involved, but not complicated.


These questions are neither deep nor difficult. To think that they are speaks from an exceedingly safe and wealthy viewpoint-- one that hasn't existed for the vast majority of human history.

Martial arts are not a monolith. At best, one can speak to those lineages one has directly studied (academically) and practiced deeply (to know if the theories presented are likely or reasonable).
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