Hurting Yourself for Fun with Martial Arts?
Bad Martial Arts practices will probably always be with us. After all, there is always going to be somebody who is just a wee bit not too smart in the martial arts. More gusto than brains.
The first martial arts training that I heard of that was a bit loony tunes was in Karate. This was back in the fifties, and it consisted of smashing your hand into rocks or telephone poles or other non-giving objects. The result was a hand bleeding, maybe even broken, and much too tender to continue karate practice with.
Over the years I heard of other things, but the latest and greatest has to do with gangs that administer ‘martial arts beatings’ to make sure you are tough enough.
I think it was the movie ‘colors,’ with Sean Penn, where I first heard of gangsters beating the hell out of recruits before they accepted them into their inner circle. They were supposed to be gauging the recruit’s ability to fight back or something like that.
Just the other day I came across the latest evolution of this bad martial arts practice. It takes place in prison, and it is called ’52 Pick Up.’
A deck of cards is thrown into the air, and the recruit must pick up the deck, in order, while three other cons beat the heck out of him.
Now that is an interesting concept, the ability to play cards while in a gang war.
The interesting thing is that done properly, there actually is reason for these practices. Many schools, for instance, believe that one should be pushed and struck while doing the form Sanchin. The pushing and striking, however, is not to brutalize a fellow and make sure he is reduced to an animal nature, but rather to ensure that he is sinking his weight and aligning his body properly and breathing correctly and so on.
Doing this type of training, correctly and with much awareness can actually lead a person to what the Chinese call ‘Iron shirt’ training. This is a body that is impervious to strikes.
Thus, while there are many bad martial arts practices, training methods that can damage and even maim the body, the good martial artist will search for that training method that will enable him to strengthen his body through cultivated awareness.
About the Author: Al Case began martial arts in 1967. You can check out his method for chi training at MonsterMartialArts.com.