The Spectrum of Martial Arts

Martial Arts, like music, have evolved numerous styles suited to differing situations, environments and temperaments. Some styles are very strenuous and active, often focused on self-defense these styles are typically well suited to younger people. Some styles are practiced slower and appear more abstract, focusing on health and the inside of the body, these are often more accessible to adults.

Styles also differ in their guiding philosophies and overall strategies.
Some focus on developing strength and “hard” methods to directly overcome an opponent’s incoming force, while others develop sensitivity and changeable “soft” methods to avoid ever having to conflict directly with an opposing force.

Additionally some styles focus exclusively on techniques of combat, while others, typically influenced by Buddhism and Taoism, take this aspect to be symbolic and use it to help in developing a highly energetic “inside” component of the body as well as attaining deep meditative states.

A well-rounded martial artist is familiar with methods from this wide spectrum and at the same time builds a practice considering his or her own personality, age, interest and physical condition.

About brianlee

Brian Lee is the thinking person’s martial arts teacher. What he has to say has been distilled from the work of more than 20 masters of both the internal and external martial arts. (Click here for a list of Brian’s teachers and the Chinese, Japanese and Korean lineages they represent.) When Brian teaches, he also offers the student the benefits of learning from someone who, when tested by the military, scored 96% or above in every category. So, he not only knows how to demonstrate the physical aspects of the martial arts, he also knows how to understand them and how to explain them to others. For those who learned Karate, Judo or another external martial art as children and wondered why it was considered somehow a spiritual discipline because it really seemed to be only physical training, Brian’s approach can be a revelation. His teaching attracts doctors of oriental medicine, black belts of various other styles, as well as members of the general public. It is mainly geared to adults 21-60 or older who want to understand what they’re doing and so learn it better and faster than can ever happen with years of mindless repetition. He has also developed a progressive system for permitting students to do this that makes it quicker to learn at a more energetically effective level. Perhaps, if you studied martial arts as a youngster, you heard the old adage that you can practice the external arts in your youth, but in order to be able to continue to practice when you’re older, and to maintain good health, you need to study the internal arts. What Brian has done is to find a way to integrate the physical, the emotional and the spiritual aspects of the martial arts back into the unified whole they were always intended to be. He understands that martial arts, philosophy and Chinese medicine all grew from the same roots and he has learned, over the course of years of study, how to show students the essence of the discipline as well as its outward expression. Although Brian started out learning external forms, attained “Master” status before the age of 35, (having begun teaching before he was 18,) he rejected the label “Master” and was drawn to go deeper. Having begun with Taekwondo, he progressed to a study of many different styles, Masters and philosophies (he studied philosophy in various settings, including in residence for six months with Zen monks and four years at St. John’s College.) In his mid 20’s Brian moved to the desert in a self made house and has only left this “retreat” infrequently, as teaching and artistic duties have required. This self-imposed “buddhistic type of voluntary simplicity, quelling desires, literally hauling water and chopping wood” has helped him to master his art more fully and to integrate his conception of his art and his life. Sometimes this work has included the study of Western disciplines like body psychotherapy (in which he has been certified) and medicine, while, at others, it has led him to engage in physical disciplines of other sorts, ranging from metal sculpture to building ecologically sound houses. This is far more than the story of a youth who emerged from his contact with the martial arts as a confident and healthy adult. That’s a familiar image and a true one also, but it’s only a small part of the picture here. What has resulted from Brian’s continuing quest of more than 20 years is a unified approach to the subject, a clear philosophy of teaching and a desire to share his hard-won insights with others. He does so with each student, in a manner and at a level that is tuned to the capacities of the individual. Brian says that he wants to explain to all his students and to help them discover firsthand in their own bodies “how truly amazing these unique arts are, how they can impact body, mind and destiny.”
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