Silliness in martial arts

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Silliness in martial arts

Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:39 pm

TGace[quote]As part of my series on silliness in the martial arts, I would like to point you to an excellent article at Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung’s site NO NONSENSE SELF-DEFENSE called “Dysfunction in the Martial Arts”. He starts the article by saying:

A psychiatrist we know is fond of saying: “There is an assumption of sanity in this culture.” By this she means when you are dealing with people, you automatically assume they are sane. In a very real sense, this assumption is a courtesy you extend to the people you are dealing with. It is almost as though you are saying, “Out of politeness I will assume you are sane, and deal with you accordingly.”

If that assumption doesn’t turn out to be correct, things can get troublesome.
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:40 pm

Not to imply that everybody that gets involved in “dojo wars” is “crazy”. I think that some of the excessive involvement in the drama is simply the human attraction to “soap opera” and drama. People like to feel that they are part of something “important”. Combine that with an inherent urge towards “tribalism” and “group identity” and you have an environment ripe for conflict. Marc talks about this phenomena:
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:41 pm

The style wars, dojo politics, trauma dramas, Internet flaming, persecution, cults and countless other examples of outrageous behavior in the martial arts culture take on entirely different implications when considered from the stand point of dysfunctional people acting out.

That’s not martial arts or self-defense, nor is it even about the martial arts culture, it’s something else being hidden behind the name of those things.

In fact, it would be safe to say, most of the arguments are red herrings; less about the topic and more about personal agendas. Agendas which can be strongly influenced by neurotic, dysfunctional and — sometimes — disturbed thinking.

I mean stop and think about it, if the greater goal of personal safety is to keep people safe from violence and harm, then how come there is so much fighting, quarrelling, rude and obnoxious behavior going on in the name of self-defense and the martial arts?

For people who claim to be able to teach you about self-defense, they sure aren’t walking their talk. Instead they spend a lot of time jumping headlong into flame wars, style wars, verbally attacking each other and creating all kinds of strife, hard feelings and trauma drama.

That’s not self-defense, that’s fighting. More specifically, that is what is known in psychological terms as “acting out”
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:43 pm

The rest of the piece goes on to describe some of the psychological and emotional disturbances that one can find in the world of martial arts and why martial arts in particular tends to attract people of these types:

And run into them you will in the MA world. As we stated earlier, there seems to be an attraction to the martial arts/self-defense world for disturbed people; who can be any personality type and anywhere along the continuum. Why? In psychology a known problem is “self-medication.”

This occurs when a person with a mental disorder attempts to quell it by regularly ingestion a certain type of chemical. They initially attempt to do this because the drug seems to even them out in the short run. Unfortunately, without a doctor prescribed regime of medication, addiction commonly results.

A behavioral equivalent also exists. A person can become addicted to a type of behavior. Compulsive behavior occurs when a person engages in a certain type of behavior to the point of destructiveness and/or obession.

While many people know about Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, do you also realize that there are groups like Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and Sexaholics Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous and Co-dependants Anonymous? Groups that are dedicated to overcoming behavioral addictions?
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:44 pm

Any behavior can become addictive in an attempt to mentally self-regulate or repair damage — including a fixation on self-defense, fighting and martial arts.

With this in mind, it not unreasonable idea that people who are obsessively training for “self-defense” are commonly using it as a means of avoiding dealing with their issues. I mean face it…how often are you physically attacked?

Then why obsess on it? Or is it a way to avoid other, more realistic issues?

These can be any number of possible conditions ranging from obsessive compulsive, bipolar disorder, paranoid personality, primary delusional, secondary delusional, projection, post traumatic stress disorder to dependant personality, to name a few.
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:45 pm

Putting that in layman’s terms: A person is attempting to shore up holes within themselves by adding in the ability to fight and/or learn the ultimate fighting art. Think about it, how often is self-confidence and self-respect promoted as one of the selling points of even the more mainstream martial arts?

While it is true that the martial arts can assist in achieving these goals, if the problem is severe, without professional psychiatric help and supervision a very real possibility exists of such an attempt reinforcing the problem instead of solving it.
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:47 pm

Another possible explanation is that instead of assisting in overcoming these problems, this kind of training can be used to reinforce them.

That is to say instead of altering the behavior that puts a person into conflict with others, a certain type apparently is learning how to fight in order to be able to get away with that behavior.

Why change an aggressive, dysfunctional behavior when you think you can beat up anyone who objects to it? This is especially true when you are willing to ferociously attack anyone who dares question your assumptions — if not physically then verbally.

Why learn people skills when you are engaging in training that supports your belief that knowing how to fight is all you need in order to be safe? The mindset apparently is: If I can kick the world’s ass, then I’m not the one who has to change.


:lol:
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Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:48 pm

This is why we say such people seem to view MA/SD as a way to act out and reinforce their beliefs and dysfunctions. It also seems the more extreme the school/organization, the greater the numbers and degree of dysfunction.

On the other hand, some seemingly “more normal” schools can have their fair share too, although these tend to be a little more subtle. As such, a little bit of research into this subject is warranted — before you find yourself being sucked into trouble.



karate will make you a better person :P
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Postby Shana Moore » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:42 pm

reading the article now...thanks for the interesting thread!
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All good advice . . .

Postby gmattson » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:37 pm

Especially for teachers and forum administrators. . .
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Well....

Postby Van Canna » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:29 pm

Isn't this article a kick in the ass? :lol:

Image

"mirror -mirror on the wall" 8)

Image

We can talk about this one for the next twenty years...now where are the guys that will say " That does not apply to me"

:P :P
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Postby Van Canna » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:38 am

TGace
But when it comes to behavior and personal traits like honor, does anybody think that coming to a dojo a few times a week to move your limbs around confers some sort of moral authority that is superior to any other physical activity?

I know..I know.. the “yes except in the martial arts we teach people how to injure others and with that comes responsibility…” explanation will invariably arise.

Except for the fact that there are many activities like boxing, shooting, wrestling..etc. that do the same thing. They just dont have the benefit of exotic origins, nifty uniforms and philosophic associations.

I have a longstanding criticism of people who walk around living fantasies of “warriorship” based solely on martial arts training.

The types who like to spice up an otherwise “ordinary” existence by believing themselves “warriors” because they drive down to the dojo for a few hours every week.

There are many more authentic “warriors” out there who have ZERO martial arts experience. Unless you are out in the world putting your ass on the line for “something” you are a warrior in thought rather than deed.
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Postby Greg » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:59 am

Canna Sensei,

This does not apply to me :lol:

As usual I greatly enjoy and appreciate virtually everything MacYoung writes. What is most impressive to me is that comparing his current work on his website to that in his early books he clearly continues to improve and expand in the depth and scope of his writing (not to say that I didn't get a great deal out of his earlier books, re-read them periodically or recommend to all who will read them).

Interestingly I had begun writing a similar article several years back (at Mattson Sensei's behest) about personality types and dysfunction in the MA. I can't find it at the moment and in fact never finished it, but I'm sure it's much better than Mr. MacYoung's. :roll:

In any event I find it a fascinating subject both from the psych perspective and from the MA one. I will have to recommend the article to the numerous soldiers in my battalion who had to forego their imminent careers in professional NHB competition to enter the Army...

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Postby Van Canna » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:35 pm

Hi Greg,

Interesting. If you find the article you wrote...please post it.

Yet from a pragmatic point of you...just about all humans have some dysfunction...so we accept it and have fun dysfunctionally. :lol:
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Postby Don Rearic » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:52 am

Van Canna wrote:


I mean stop and think about it, if the greater goal of personal safety is to keep people safe from violence and harm, then how come there is so much fighting, quarrelling, rude and obnoxious behavior going on in the name of self-defense and the martial arts?

For people who claim to be able to teach you about self-defense, they sure aren’t walking their talk. Instead they spend a lot of time jumping headlong into flame wars, style wars, verbally attacking each other and creating all kinds of strife, hard feelings and trauma drama.

That’s not self-defense, that’s fighting. More specifically, that is what is known in psychological terms as “acting out”


That's why I stopped writing about self-defense for the most part on forums and even on my own website. You actually get internet stalkers now...if you dare skewer whatever cow they are worshipping at any given moment. :)
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