Martial Artist vs Martial Scientist

Monday, 8. November 2010

Despite the obvious overview of the title this post isn’t about any sort of contest between the 2 whatsoever.  Rather its an examination of the styles and methodology of martial study.  In that regard, the title is very limiting and should be expanded upon greatly to include probably more titles perhaps than I could fit into this article.

This has a fair amount of bleed over into the reasons for training martial arts (and there are indeed many.) so I am going to try and separate the two as much as possible.  The reason for this of course is because different training styles attract various  personality styles and along with them, motivations.  Someone might ultimately be unsatisfied with the practical effectiveness of their training and move away from a Do style to a Jitsu.  The reverse is equally as likely as one searches for a meaning in their training beyond taking people apart.  All styles have this crossover, as well as a spiritual aspect and one of self improvement.  Although I list terms in Japanese, it shouldn’t be too difficult to break your methodology apart if you look at it.

With that out of the way we can being to look closer to the heart of the matter; artist versus scientist.  Of the original study there was no “art” in martial arts at all.  It was purely a military study of defeating ones opponents using the best technology available at the time.  Fists, Sticks and Swords have now been supplanted for the most part by firearms and explosives.  The former is still used, but it’s highly situation ally specific.

The martial artist is interested in the study of martial arts primarily for the “art” of the study.   The techniques need to look good as well as be effective within their intended scope of their application (Note I did not say this was ineffective, just slanted towards what the scope is.)  Technique is there, however the original intent and depth of the technique is reinvented from its original purpose.  Compartmentalization occurs between the trinity rather than looking at the similarities. 

The martial scientist on the other hand is looking for the connection and application between the techniques.  Biomechanics, leverage, momentum, mindset, distancing all carry between the triangle of grappling, percussion and weaponry.  The martial scientist seeks to exploit the familiarities between these to a point where no thinking is required.  The motion is familiar enough in muscle memory to the point where it simply occurs with predictable results.

I can’t say that martial scientists were the “original” martial artists because that approach wasn’t taken until later in Japanese history and a good amount of European teaching was non standardized until later as well.   The concern for effectiveness was most likely there over modularity.  Modern martial “arts” in many cases are far from the original and is something that needs to be rediscovered to encourage the original effectiveness.

Where does your training fall within the spectrum?

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2 Responses to “Martial Artist vs Martial Scientist”



  1. runjikol Says:

    Within that spectrum my training is within the art side, quite firmly. My thinking, however, is in the science side.



  2. Grey Says:

    And that is really the first thing that you need to really work effectively! There is a tremendous amount of good material out there on both sides, its just a matter of seeing where its applicable is, and how malleable the motion is.

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