Honing the Body to Hone the Mind
War of Skill
Martial- of, relating to, or suited for war or a warrior
Arts- skill acquired by experience, study or observation
The opposing dichotomy of each of these subjects when brought together becomes something which truly surpasses human understanding. To dedicate an entire lifetime to an ideal, to the attainment of a higher plane of thinking or functionality, to forego any and all ties to humanity by abandoning self and forging a path towards discipline and steely-eyed determination.
I have had a fascination with martial arts and the artists that are born from such enduring study for the better part of my life. Regardless of the age of my body, I feel an almost spiritual connection to observing anything that remotely shows or represents an individual on their journey towards master.
Now the purpose behind this introduction goes much further in the past. The hundreds of years of Chinese history and its people that conceived and perfected such mastery of oneself physically and mentally are the roots and foundation for almost all other forms of martial arts in the world as we know it today. However that is another study left for another time. The introduction into modern Western society would be best acclaimed to the one and only Bruce Lee.
Introduction of Eastern style into Western Civilization
Bruce Lee, after many years of training and developing himself, had been said to have achieved a state that Man hadn't ever before even dreamed of. Astounding the athletic community and awing the masses on the big screen. One could say that Bruce Lee had reached the epitome of what a martial artist is. Yet despite all his expertise and near invulnerable disposition he would fall to the hand of fate and thus the world lost a truly remarkable individual.
His rise and influence in Western society paved the way for many other pioneers to chart their own path with their fists and so wonderfully was Chinese taijiquan, better known as tai chi, introduced to us.Tai chi is known today as a technique which improves ones health. It is plainly disregarded as an ineffective style with moves and forms only suitable for the elderly. This is an extremely saddening misconception.
The Internal Strengthening Art
Taijiquan or, loosely translated in Chinese, "supreme ultimate fist" would be considered an internal martial art. Designed for focusing the energy of the body through fluid concentrated movements, controlled breathing and deliberate intention. This energy, known by many names but most commonly as "chi," is the foundation of qigong practice in the world today. Considered as a form of alternative medicine in large parts of Eastern culture, modern science, especially Western practice has written it off as largely superstitious and even bordering the supernatural. However, there have been no disputes on the benefits that one can obtain from practicing any form of martial art with the use of qigong.
Now I strongly believe that the mind is more powerful than the body and I would even go so far as saying that a large portion of the successes based on qigong just might be the will of the individual over the idea of an inner energy. But hey! I'm just a punk kid, no use pontificating on things that I've no proof of. A gut feeling couldn't be considered proof either. Maybe there truly is an unknown life force and maybe there isn't, it isn't something anybody should worry about. As far as I'm concerned, just try some chai tea, I mean tai chi, feel better and live in the moment.