Single combat is a wicked problem. It is a problem that resists a straightforward explanation. It can only be understood after it is solved, and only to the extent that it has been solved.
We tame a wicked problem by defining it clearly. Thus, in the field of software development, we often plan to “build one (solution) to throw away.” The product of this effort is not intended to be a final solution, but a restatement of the original problem in more concrete terms.
The benefit of such throwaway prototypes is that we do not become too invested in refining the right solution to the wrong problem. Solving the correct problem is the difference between a successful engineering project and a piece of abstract art.
To my eyes, The Deadliest Warrior TV series is a work of art Continue reading Why Max Geiger Is The Deadliest Warrior
As shown in The 20 Best Martial Arts Quotes of all Time, many of the most intelligent and insightful observations on martial arts originate outside its community. Let us now select a few more choice quotations from the art world at large.
A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.
~ Michelangelo Continue reading 9 Famous Artists’ Quotations on Martial Arts
Sean Treanor’s article on the Bullshido phenomenon raises some important questions…
Martial arts practice in America is entirely unregulated. There is no central body that issues standards, no set of accepted practices, no communication between different styles. State and local governments have nothing to say about who is and isn’t a martial artist. After all, consumers are free to make their own decisions.
Unfortunately, it can be very hard to tell the difference between fantasy and reality when studying an ancient, esoteric and exotic discipline. Not many people have any idea what martial arts training should consist of. There is almost no agreement within the martial arts establishment over what is effective training and what is not.
Investigation is expensive and the market is too small to attract much media attention, aside from cinematic mythmaking. The mainstream martial arts magazines have never made investigative journalism part of their repertoire. George Dillman, the mental KO king was Black Belt Magazine’s instructor of the year in 1997. There is simply no money in exposing these martial arts entrepreneurs. Some people, however, are willing to do it for free.
Continue reading On McDojos and Mob Justice
You’ll never know what freedom really means, until you’ve been pinned against the wall with no hope for escape.
Google defines freedom as “the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.” Popular culture and public schools promote this childlike view of freedom, wherein our supposed inherent rights are actually another person’s liabilities. Continue reading The Martial Artist’s View of Freedom
From Chuck Norris’ recent column in World Net Daily…
God and guns were so important to our founders that they established our protection to exercise them in the first two amendments to our Constitution-–the uninhibited and unrestricted freedom to choose our own religion and bear our own firearms.
But, more and more, these pillars of American life and liberty are being attacked and abandoned, not only out of sheer bias but ignorance of our founders, the Revolutionary period and our Constitution. Instead, these pivotal American rights have become the brunt end of cultural jokes and are often regarded as biased lifestyle components of “rednecks” and rural citizens.
The indifference, lack of education about and passion for all of our Bill of Rights gravely concerns me. Continue reading Chuck Norris on God and Guns…Mostly Guns
In a class of twenty new Taekwondo students, ten will probably drop out within three months’ time. Though they will cite a variety of excuses for quitting, all the dropouts show a lack of commitment to Taekwondo training.
One year after their first entry into the dojang, half again will have quit, leaving perhaps five of the original twenty students. Only one, maybe two, is likely to stick around long enough to attain the rank of black belt.
Like those early quitters, the black belts are motivated by a variety of factors. Beyond these varied reasons, though, there must be some unique character attribute that drives these people to reach elite black belt status. Continue reading Why Black Belts Never Quit
Please answer the following question, in forty words or less (preferably in one sentence):
What is the single most important lesson you have learned in martial arts?
On June 30, I will randomly select one respondent to receive a prize, courtesy of contest sponsor Shambhala Publications.
If your complete answer exceeds forty words, you are welcome to publish it on your own blog or forum; just give us the summary, and drop a link to your full post below.
Continue reading The Single Most Important Lesson in Martial Arts
Looking at ridiculous news reports of bamboo laptop computers and recycled toilet paper, it would be easy to conclude that the so-called “green revolution” has gone too far.
I think it hasn’t gone far enough. While many embrace the concept on a shallow and symbolic level, fewer people are asking themselves difficult questions about sustainability. Continue reading My Art is Sustainable, Ethical and Green
This is the continuation of a group discussion of martial arts and compassion. Your thoughts and opinions are welcome.
As martial artists, we naturally develop a certain familiarity, or even comfort with violence. That is a good thing.
And at the same time, as members of a civil society, we are compelled to minimize our violent interactions. That is also a good thing.
Can these attitudes and skill sets be integrated? Synergized, even? Or, must gains in one area come at expense of the other? Rory says,
Mindfully learning to crush a throat is incompatible with compassion- no matter how hard you visualize or how deep your meditation on your skills, if the first time you break someone’s bone or make them scream it bothers you, you weren’t honestly mindful- practicing violence to acquire a peaceful nature requires a willful blindness.
Continue reading Reconciling Violence and Compassion
After reading my previous articles on Mesmerism, James Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge and related subjects, some visitors have expressed skepticism over my meta-skepticism. Why am I so skeptical of skeptics?
Actually, I do respect philosophical skepticism, the frequently claimed pedigree of modern scientific skeptics.
Philosophical skepticism is both a philosophical school of thought and a method that crosses disciplines and cultures. Many skeptics critically examine the meaning systems of their times, and this examination often results in a position of ambiguity or doubt. [It] is an old movement with many variations, and contrasts with the view that at least one thing is certain. Indeed, for Hellenistic philosophers, claiming that at least one thing is certain makes one an [irrational] dogmatist. ~Wikipedia
The relationship between philosophical and popular (“scientific”) skepticism is roughly analogous to the relationship between Cheese and Cheez. Continue reading Skepticism in Theory and Practice: A CSI Case Study