The Spiritual Side of Martial Arts – Episode 45
[The text below is excerpted from today’s show]
Today we’re talking about the spiritual aspects of martial arts. Let me be clear here – we’re not talking about religion.
Martial arts isn’t just a physical pursuit, as anyone knows. Martial arts is a method of personal development. This concept goes all the way back to the generally-accepted origin of what we today call traditional martial arts.
It was the Indian monk Bodhidharma who developed martial arts as a way of keeping the monks of the Shaolin temple in physical shape. He found that the monk’s focus on meditation left them mentally strong but physically weak. So, he gave them a set of exercises to strengthen their bodies. The combat aspects were secondary even then, just as they are for most of us now.
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It was the Japanese swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, known to many today as the author of the Book of the Five Rings, who said that the more he looked for proficiency and efficiency in his training, the more he looked for proficiency and efficiency in all things. He began to look for the deeper purpose in everything that he did.
There’s a story of a Master of the Japanese Tea Ceremony from the province of Tasa – a man without any martial arts skill but with great meditative and spiritual strength. He accidentally gave offense to a Samurai and was challenged to a duel…