Martial Arts and the Silence of the Soul

Martial Arts and the Silence Within

Have you ever noticed that a church is silent? That there is a spirituality that pervades? That there is an ambience which cannot be denied, and which causes respect within the soul?

zen martial arts

You are the universe.

There is a similar feel to a Martial Arts training hall. The bowing and respect, the knowledge that one is partaking in a practice that has been assembled and passed down, the ritualistic movements which engender a specific approach to awareness, it all comes together to create a silence within.

There is sometimes joy and shouting, jokes and buffoonery, but there is also a silence that gnaws and worms and transforms.

The first time I became aware of this, I was talking to my instructor in his office. Nobody was in the dojo, and it was silent, and I realized that he had his radio on. But it was so low that it couldn’t be heard.

What was the point of having a radio on and turned so low it couldn’t be heard?

Years later I would have my own school. During the afternoon I was frequently alone, and I would listen to the radio. Sitting at the desk, perhaps reading, perhaps working on a letter, the radio seemed to be loud, so I turned it down.

Within a short while, it seemed like somebody had turned the radio up, so I turned it down again.

And again and again.

Finally, the radio was as low as it could go, but it was like a shout to my ears.

I had cultivated the silence within to the degree that the world was loud: I preferred silence to the raucousness of man. I had rid myself of so many distractions that I was listening without ear, and anything that threatened to distract seemed to be a shout, a yell, an assault upon my person.

I turned the radio off.

martial arts soul

3 thoughts on “Martial Arts and the Silence of the Soul

  1. LewisM

    Sensei, The silence in my mind is growing. I used to, religiously, turn on LOUD music in my wireless headphones, to be able to do my forms without distraction from people walking by in the building and other noises. last night i did my whole 45 minute workout without music. None. (and I actually enjoyed it!) This means A LOT considering I have been learning Matrix Karate for… 3 months (??!!) So THANK YOU for the course AND the newsletters. The knowledge DOES make a difference!

  2. aganzul Post author

    Imagine a world that is silent. Instead of radios and ipods and crime, there would be pride of craftsmanship, competence, honor, truth…

  3. Learn Karate

    I sometimes teach a class down at the local gym. I found the information here to be consise and easy to read. Thank you for sharing your views on the topic. Thumbs up.


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