Martial life

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My martial art is more noble than yours!



There we were, discussing strategies to take in order to make our work more efficient when coworker of mine tied the notion of efficiency and nobility with the art of Aikido. A Kendo enthusiast for more than 15 years himself, he argued that aikido and Kendo were both more noble and efficient than arts like Karate and "Chinese karate" (term he used to describe Chinese martial arts). That was more than enough to fuel a friendly debate between him and I.

The conflicting point was not about efficiency but with the word "noble".

Quick, to the dictionary to look up the definition of the word noble
photograph taken from Dr. Marcus Gossler / wikipedia commons

Here is the definition of the word noble, as presented by:

no·ble   (nbl)

adj. no·blerno·bles

1. Possessing hereditary rank in a political system or social class derived from a feudalistic stage of a country's development.

2. Having or showing qualities of high moral character, such as courage, generosity, or honor: 

Whereas he believed kendo and aikido to be nobler, I believe there are no systems that are more noble than another. All the while disagreeing, I questioned him on the basis and criteria used to qualify the nobleness of martial arts.

His point of view was based on the fact that both aikido and Kendo were originally created and practiced by people from noble social caste. Consequently, the many aspects of the traditional mindset of the nobles were still present in his art (and absent from others). It is those retained quality that served as the basis of using the word noble.

My standing point, based on the modern use of the word noble, was that morality, which is a human trait, is independent of martial activities. No modern martial arts practitioner could claim sole ownership of higher martial ethics and morals.

Aikido: Why use your own force when you can use your opponent's.
photograph taken from / wikipedia commons


It really doesn't matter who was right or wrong as our debate was obviously a showcase of the different usage of the word. We settled the argument by both agreeing that Kendo and ai kido were developed by people who belonged to nobility.

Besides, we respected that we were entitled to our own personal opinions, which are based on our knowledge and personal judgment.


The question of interest, which is the real subject of this text, is on the real motivation that fueled our debate. Behind every action, there are always two reasons: the noble (read honorable and high in morals) and the real reason.

My (noble) motivation was to put a stop to misinformation and to inform my collegues about the ultimate truth, although maybe, deep down, I also wanted to showcase my views and knowledge of martial arts.

His motivation was no doubt similar to mine, in the sense that he also wanted to inform and perhaps, like me, vanity might have come to play.

We are the martial arts noble
photograph taken from Christopher Smart / wikipedia commons

But when I mention motivation, I don’t mean the motivation behind having an argument. Even after 15 humbling years of martial arts training, what was his motivation for associating nobility to the arts of Kendo and Aikido?

Was it because he did not know the word "noble" evolved and nowadays, is mostly used as a synonym to "higher morals"?

It is possible he simply repeated what his teachers and peers told him?

Was it because he took into consideration aspects from modern practitioners and thus, in his highly researched analysis, categorized the arts as noble, all the while refraining from using those data as arguments during our debate?

Could it be that believing his art was morally superior gave him confidence, knowing that his every actions are filled with righteousness, both in the dojo and in his personal life.

Perhaps he was living a feudal fantasy where children of lower cast daydreamed about escaping their caste and growing up to be a respected samurai?

Maybe even as an adult, he wishes to be part of something bigger, some sort of ancient secret organization bound by courage, justice and honor, who use kendo dojos as decoys to attract potential recruits?

Or maybe, he did it for the sake of argument?

The fact is only he knows the real motivation for claiming his arts to be noble... But then again, does he really know...



Golden Samurai: Taken from Rage against / wikipedia commons

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Last Updated on Monday, 22 November 2010 07:13  

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