ANSWERS: 2
  • Some martial arts have philosophical and/or religious roots or associations, e.g. with Buddhism, Taoism, or Omotokyo. Thus, it is natural for people who are considering a particular art to wonder if it is compatible with their own philosophy or religion. Normally it is not considered ethical for a Sensei/Sifu/Master/Teacher to try to *impose* his own views on his students. However, the philosophical aspects of some arts may still be present in the required training to the extent that some potential students would be offended by it. As with so many other aspects of martial arts, it depends on the art and even more heavily on the instructor. So, be sure to watch for this aspect when you visit a school that you are interested in. Have a conversation with the instructor about it, and watch how he/she interacts with his/her students.
  • Yes, you should if you have the time, money, and interest. The most revolutionary concept in the martial arts that I know of is the "Tao of Jeet Kun Do", by Bruce Lee. For all the myth and hype around the guy he shattered traditional martial arts by incorporating many different styles into one philosophy that prized adaptability, uniqueness, and emphasizing the fighters advantages over formal maneuvers. Mr. Lee incorporated elements of gongfu, wu shu, boxing, escrima, Okinawan weapon syles, and others into his system. The variety of styles also broadened his philosophy on the martial arts as an internal system of mind/body one-ness. Since every person is unique (shorter, taller, stronger, etc..), no one style is perfectly suited to each individuals nature,. Thus explore, experiment, keep what works and discard what doesn't.

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