By Aaron Vyvial | August 23, 2014
Martial arts training seems to be inextricably linked to ideas of wisdom. Many books have been written by martial artists both ancient and modern on the topic of what they have learned through their practice.
So how does a student of philosophy go about achieving a clear understanding of what is referred to in those books? Experience alone can provide a relevant context.
The study of martial arts is primarily a physical experience. Personally delivering a punch bears little resemblance to reading about a punch, or watching another person deliver that punch. It is an experience all its own, not available to be duplicated in any other way.
The direct experience of martial arts and its applications provides context for any intellectual or abstract study of martial arts and what it means. Power, ability, practicality, and a host of other ideas are examined in the physical study of that experience. Functioning within the context of direct application brings to otherwise abstract ideas the opportunity to be fully and relevantly appreciated, because martial art is fundamentally a physical science.
Students of martial arts start their philosophy of martial arts right away, alongside their training experience. As each strike, block, or other movement is completed, another layer of experiential context grows on the mind as well as the body of the practitioner. Each layer of growth makes the mind and body stronger and more complete, like the rings of a tree or the layers of a pearl. This is where the understanding of martial wisdom begins, the seed from which it grows.
The bottom line is that there is no substitute for experience. That experience is what the Ving Tsun Kuen Kuit – the proverbs that have grown up within our martial arts training and studies – reflect.