Living The Martial Way - A Manual For The Way A Modern Warrior Should Think

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Author: Forrest E. Morgan
Pub: 1992 by Barricade Books, Inc.
Pages: 312
Ranking:Five Star Rating
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I literally cannot overstate how fascinating this book is. If you don't own it, and you train in *any* martial art, stop right now, and purchase this book! It's absolutely chock full of good advice for martial artist's. It wouldn't be an overstatement to call this a "Martial Arts Bible"... I highly recommend it!

Moving beyond specific martial arts, (and although tending to maintain a Japanese background, it's not restricted to this), the author has constructed a balanced philosophy for training. He asks questions that most of us have never seriously considered or thought through. If nothing else, this book will force you to reconsider your martial philosophy.


 

                       CONTENTS
	
Foreword ............................................... 1

INTRODUCTION ........................................... 3
Background on the Martial Arts ......................... 5
Martial Arts, Martial Ways, and The Martial Way ........ 9
Why Practice The Martial Way Today? ................... 10
The Design of This Book ............................... 11

          PART ONE: THE WAY OF TRAINING

Chapter 1: The Warrior Mind-Set ....................... 17
Getting the Mind-Set .................................. 24
Acknowledge Your Warriorship .......................... 25
Pursue Internal Versus External Objectives ............ 27

Chapter 2: Your Martial Destiny ....................... 33
Doctrine, Strategy, and Tactics ....................... 36
Choose Your Strategic Foundations ..................... 40
Analyze the Threat .................................... 41
Evaluate Your Physical and Emotional Assets ........... 42
Select a Doctrine ..................................... 43
The Pitfalls of Narrow Doctrine ....................... 44
Build Your Skills Around a Doctrinal Core ............. 47

Chapter 3: Train as Warriors Train..................... 51
Make Training a Daily Regimen ......................... 54
Employ Shugyo in your Training ........................ 56
Take a Jutsu Approach to Training...................... 61

Chapter 4: The Warrior's Way of Strategy............... 75
Plan Your Strategy in Four Phases...................... 79
Identify Your Strategic Objectives .................... 79
Collect Intelligence................................... 81
Plan for Environment................................... 83
Program for Engagement................................. 85
How to Develop Tactics ................................ 87
Read Your Opponent .................................... 98
Control the Fighting Range ............................ 90
Feint Effectively...................................... 92
Use Rhythm and Timing ................................. 93
Avoid, Evade, and Intercept ........................... 95

Chapter 5: The Warrior's Spell Book .................. 101
Kiai and tiki ........................................ 103
Find Kokoro .......................................... 107
Practice Haragei ..................................... 111
Develop Kokyu Chikara ................................ 116
Apply Kime ........................................... 118
Practice Kata With Utmost Seriousness ................ 122
Mushin - Mind Without Thinking ....................... 123
Zanshin - So Alert You Dominate ...................... 128


          PART TWO: THE WAY OF HONOR

Chapter 6: The Foundations of Honor .................. 137
The Basic Tenets of Honor ............................ 142
Obligation ........................................... 143
Justice .............................................. 144
Courage .............................................. 148
Honor and Face ....................................... 149
Develop Your Own Sense of Honor ...................... 152

Chapter 7: Honor in Action ........................... 157
Putting Honeor to Work ............................... 159
Truthfulness ......................................... 159
Courtesy.............................................. 161
Restraint ............................................ 163
Loyalty .............................................. 165
Service .............................................. 170
Honor in the Fog of Life ............................. 171

Chapter 8: Revenge and Suicide: Perversions of Honor . 177
The Forty-Seven Faithful Ronin ....................... 180
Revenge and the Scales of Honor ...................... 182
Suicide: Courage or Cowardice? ....................... 186
Standards for Planning Revenge and Suicide ........... 188

          PART THREE: THE WAY OF LIVING

Chapter 9: Warrior Fitness ........................... 195
The Great Sham of Modern Martial Arts ................ 197
The Qualities of Warrior Fitness ..................... 199
Body Types and Muscle Physiology ..................... 205
The Three Pillars of Fitness ......................... 209
Train for Muscular Strength and Endurance ............ 210
Condition for Aerobic Capacity ....................... 212
Develop Flexibility .................................. 217
Nutrition and Weight Control ......................... 220

Chapter 10: Religion and Mysticism ................... 227
Eastern versus Western Religious Thought ............. 229
The Principle Asian Religious Doctrines .............. 231
Confucianism: The Way of the Sages ................... 232
Taoism: In Pursuit of the One True Way ............... 235
Buddhism: Following the Eightfold Path ............... 240
Shinto: The Nay of the Kumi .......................... 248
Mysticism and the Danger of Cults .................... 252
Martial Arts Training and Religious Convictions ...... 256

Chapter 11: The Warrior Stands Alone ................. 261
The Three Keys to Warrior Dignity .................... 264
Develop a Commanding Posture ......................... 265
Discover the Power of Physical Grace ................. 268
Cultivate the Austere Quality of Shibumi ............. 270
The Secret of Personal Power ......................... 274

Chapter 12: Mastery and The Martial Way .............. 281
Mastery in The Martial Arts and Ways ................. 286
Mastery in The Martial Way ........................... 291

Appendix A: Glossary ................................. 301
Appendix B: Selected Bibliography .................... 309

 

FOREWORD

THE ASIAN MARTIAL ARTS are grounded in a rich heritage of blood and honor, and they have a great deal to offer serious students in today's dangerous world. Unfortunately, in most modern schools that heritage has been lost. It seems that the modern world and the marketing that drives it revolves around sport competition. As a result, students in today's schools are only getting the surface features of a deeply rooted tradition, and even older styles of the traditional arts are gradually losing their historical perspective. Sadly, with each new generation more is lost. This is a bitter pill to swallow for traditionalists such as my teachers and me, who have devoted our lives to preserving those legacies.

Unlike most modern martial artists, Forrest Morgan understands and appreciates the rich heritage of martial arts tradition. When I first met Mr. Morgan in early 1988, he already had more than 15 years of training and experience in a particularly formal style of Asian combat. But he was discouraged that his original system, rigorous as it had once been, had given way to the pressures of modern sport application, and he expressed a desire to study the more traditional styles. I was impressed but a little skeptical of his willingness to begin again in an entirely new form of martial art after having already attained considerable stature in his primary art. But without hesitation, he strapped on a white belt and began scrubbing mats along side beginners half his age.

In the years since our meeting I've watched Mr. Morgan's warriorship mature. He now has more than twenty years of experience in the martial arts, and he applies the principles he teaches in his book both in and out of the training hall. Forrest Morgan is no mere martial artist. He's a warrior, and he truly lives The Martial Way!

Mr. Morgan gives aspirants a course to follow for their lives' well-being as well as their martial arts success. This book is long overdue, one that every martial artist should add to his or her library. If, like most students, you have a teacher who does not teach these values, this book will fill the gap. If you're fortunate enough to have one who does, it will surely reinforce how lucky you really are.

DENNIS G. PALUMBO
Kaiden Shihan (8th Dan) of the Hakko Ryu Director, Hakko Ryu Martial Arts Federation

 

INTRODUCTION

IN 1981 I ATTENDED a seminar for black belt karate students and instructors directed by a noted master. After a morning of grueling technical drills, he seated us around him on the floor. Given the topic, "When and When Not to Fight in Today's World," he had our rapt attention.

After explaining the standard doctrines of self defense, the master summarized by saying it is appropriate to fight to defend our selves, our loved ones, our country, and our honor. Then he began to address the next topic.

"Sir," I said, shooting up my hand, "can you please define honor? And can you give us some situations in which it's appropriate to fight in its defense?"

Momentarily perplexed, he began to pace as he carefully composed his answer. "When an attacker threatens your safety or that of your family," he said, "you have the right to defend the honor of your physical body or theirs."

"But Sir, how does that differ from simply defending ourselves from physical attacks I've always had the impression the word 'honor' involves some moral code or implied justification for an individual fighting to save face following a public insult. Gentlemen once fought duels to defend their honor. Are we justified in doing the same?"

The master's cheeks flushed, and I could see the muscles in his jaw tighten as he began again, "As I said, you have the right to defend the physical honor of..."

"But Sir..."

"You're nitpicking," hissed a young woman sitting beside me.

Frustrated, I turned, prepared to deliver a terse reply, but, feeling the glares from others in the training hall, I realized I had already overstepped the bounds of courtesy. I settled back and fumed in silence as the master moved on to the next topic.

My experience was not an isolated incident and I was not the only one in the audience whose questions remained unanswered. Today's martial arts students are much more sophisticated than those of the past, and they're asking questions. Unfortunately, they aren't getting answers from their teachers. Most instructors explain how to perform a physical technique very well but respond with only vague platitudes when asked how to apply their martial concepts to daily life.

My experience at the karate seminar launched me on an exhaustive quest to learn what philosophical foundations underpin the martial arts. The search hasn't been easy; hundreds of volumes have been written by modern masters, but most are little more than picture books showing us how to do the various strikes, throws, and holds we learn during the first few months of class. But the foundation is indeed there, and slowly it surfaced.

What emerged was a common way of thinking, feeling, and living among the warriors who developed the various martial arts and among those who still truly practice them today. Of course, there are cultural differences between warrior groups in different parts of the world, but there is also a core attitude, common to these groups, that separates them from non-warrior people within their own cultural strains. Asian warriors and all classical martial artists know of this common bond. They call it The Martial Way.

During my years of study, the more I learned about The Martial Way, the more convinced I became that a book elaborating its tenets would be helpful - no, invaluable - to other martial artists wanting to follow warrior paths. Not a book telling karate people how to do better karate or aikido people how to do better aikido, but one to teach all martial artists how to integrate their arts into their daily lives. In essence, this is a book not about how to do a martial art but how to live The Martial Nay.

Sadly, what also became apparent during my study was how little most Western martial artists really know about what is and is not martial art.

 

BACKGROUND ON THE MARTIAL ARTS

The term "martial art" is used in Western idiom to describe a wide variety of Asian combative systems and sports. Under close examination, however, we find that not all of these activities are truly martial in nature, nor are they all arts. While some have indeed developed as systems of combat used by warriors, many others evolved in religious and civil settings as methods for physical and spiritual development, personal self defense, and sport.

Examples of combative systems actually developed by warriors include those devised by the hwarang (literally "flower of manhood"), a warrior society in the 6th century Korean kingdom of Silla, and, of course, the martial systems developed by the samurai of feudal Japan. The significant characteristics of these martial arts are that they focused on the use of weapons and encompassed a wide range of other military skills such as horsemanship, swimming, fortifications, and strategy, as well as unarmed combat.

Many other systems evolved in religious environments. Most martial artists are familiar with the story of how the monk Bodhidharma brought Buddism from India to China in the 6th century A.D. and subsequently founded the long combative arts tradition at the Shaolin Temple in Hunan Province. As the legend goes, Bodhidharma was father of the Ch'un sect (Zen in Japanese) of Buddism, who's practitioners aspire to achieve spiritual enlightenment through meditation. [Several versions of this story can be found. Actually, Buddism began to filter into China as early as the first century. While the Shaolin Temple did exist and was indeed a center of combative arts development, the Bodhidharma story is largely apocryphal.]

Shortly after his arrival at Shaolin, he realized his Chinese devotees lacked the physical stamina required to withstand the long sessions of meditation he prescribed for their spiritual training. So he developed a series of exercises to improve their fitness. In time, this training system evolved into a method of combat, and the Shaolin monks became renown for their fighting prowess. Over the ensuing centuries before the Manchu destroyed the Shaolin Temple in the late 1800s, a number of combative systems originated there and spread across the Orient. Today, arts practiced in several Asian countries attribute their roots to this source.

Then again, a number of combative systems were developed by common people for personal self defense. Karate is perhaps the best example. This unarmed method evolved on the island of Okinawa over a period of centuries as a blend of locally developed techniques and those adopted from the Asian mainland. [Most accounts name China as the source of te (hand) systems developed in Okinawa, often citing the Shaolin Temple specifically. However, some historians believe combative systems were imported from the kingdoms of Silla or Baek Je on the Korean peninsula. Actually, Okinawans probably assimilated techniques from a variety of mainland sources over a period of centuries.] Its development accelerated in the 15th century when Okinawa was united under one ruler and possession of weapons by common people was prohibited. By 1609 when the territory fell under control of the rigid Satsuma clan of Japan, all weapons had been confiscated and the populace was left with their empty hands and feet to defend themselves from each other and their sometimes brutal samurai overlords.

Each of these environments has produced effective systems of personal combat, but are they all martial arts? Noted martial arts historian, the late Donn F. Draeger, thought not. Draeger's position was that unless a system was developed by professional warriors for use in actual warfare, it is not a martial art. Systems developed in temples or by common people may be effective forms of combat, but their very reliance on and in many cases preference for unarmed techniques made them impractical for battlefields, past or present. He chose to classify these as "civil" arts. Draeger's bottom line was, if an art was not developed for military application, it's not "martial" (1980).

While Draeger was completely correct in the literal sense, I find his definition a bit too constraining. In the first place, while the "civil" arts aren't practical in military combat, neither are the unarmed portions of those arts Draeger considered truly martial; no one would willingly attack an armed soldier with empty hands. Yet several of these "civil" arts are today being taught to military forces. Just as warriors of the past developed unarmed techniques as an auxiliary to arms, some modern soldiers are being taught karate, taekwondo, and other methods as a part of their martial art.

Secondly and perhaps more importantly, many of the "civil" arts, though developed by priests in temples, were practiced purely for military or paramilitary reasons. Many Buddhist temples were centers of political activity, and they frequently fielded their own combat forces. Therefore, the combative systems they developed, as well as those that evolved from them later, should be considered martial. Where I do emphatically agree with Draeger, however, is in his differentiation between martial art and combative sport.

Sport applications of combative systems, such as competitive taekwondo, karate-do, and judo, are not martial arts. Putting a combative system in the competitive arena requires an array of rules to be placed on it, constraining its maneuvers and detrimentally modifying its technical application. In time, as "players" are trained in how to work within the rules to best win the game, the system evolves to fit the framework of those rules. What is effective in the constrained, competitive environment is often worthless in the no-holds-barred world of actual combat, and what is effective in combat, being illegal in sport, gradually fades from the training program and is lost. As Draeger and Smith pointed out in their book, Asian Fighting Arts, "the more remote a budo Japanese for martial way) form remains from sportive endeavor, the more positively it identifies itself with combat effectiveness and the classical tradition" (1969, p. 92).

Don't misunderstand me, I bear no ill feelings toward combat sports or those who choose to play them. There are positive features in these activities as there are in all forms of competitive athletics; they promote physical fitness, perseverance, courage, and fair play. And many of these qualities are also valuable in the martial or military context. After all, the famous words of General Douglas MacArther are still carved on the stone portals of the field house at the United States Military Academy at West Point:

Upon these fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds
that, upon other fields on other days will bear the fruits of victory.

But players should not deceive themselves into thinking they are practicing martial arts or The Martial Way while preparing for or competing on the tournament floor. What they're doing may very well enhance their own personal growth and have a positive role in society, but it isn't martial, it isn't art, and it most certainly isn't The Martial Way.

Then, what is?

 

MARTIAL ARTS, MARTIAL WAYS, AND THE MARTIAL ARTS

Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding among Western "martial artists" is whether the systems they study are martial arts or martial ways. To best understand this dichotomy, let's turn to Japan.

The Japanese group their combative systems into two distinct categories. Those developed by warrior groups purely for use in combat are called bugei or bujutsu (both words literally mean "martial art"). Typically, names of those systems end in the suffix jutsu. On the other hand, budo (martial way) systems all end in the suffix do (way). These systems were developed from the jutsu forms but are directed toward goals beyond (sometimes instead of) combat effectiveness. Where the bujutsu practitioner is concerned first and foremost with learning how to prevail in combat, the true budo aspirant devotes himself to a system of physical, mental, and spiritual discipline through which he attempts to elevate himself in search of perfection (Draeger and Smith, 1969, p. 92).

Notice I was careful to say "true" budo practitioner. The various budo were developed by bujutsu masters who aspired to modify and formalize their combative systems into vehicles for leading others in the Way. Having lived and mastered the warrior life style, these men and women sought to devise concise systems for training the general public in the virtues of warriorship for the good of society at large. To make their methods both acceptable and attractive, the combative elements were often toned down and sporting applications were introduced. Unfortunately, while the founders and early followers of the various martial ways such as judo and karate-do understood their systems were mere devices for practicing The Martial Way, most of their modern day adherents have lost sight of the Way itself and instead wander aimlessly amidst the external trappings of ritual and sport.

Although I used Japan as an example, the martial art/martial way distinction can also be applied to arts from other Asian locales. The concept of "Way" is a common one in Eastern philosophical thought. In Japanese and Korean it's called "do." [Actually, "do" is the form when "way" is used as a suffix modifying other words. When the word stands alone, "michi" is the proper term.]

In China, it's "tao." In Japan, jutsu and do systems survive and coexist, but in some other locales, such as Korea, the original martial arts have all but died out while their do counterparts, e.g. tae-kwondo and tang soo do, continue to flourish. But can an individual who studies one or more of the martial arts or ways or even plays at combat sports also study and live The Martial Way? Of course.

First, however, the student must realize that any system he or she may practice is artificial. That is to say, mastery of it is not the desired end in itself but only a vehicle towards that end. Second, the individual must be able to subdue the external gratifications of rank, prestige, competitive victory, and ego in general for the truer rewards of personal development. Finally, the prospective adherent must realize that The Martial Way does not start and end at the door of the training hall. It is a way of life in which every action, in and out of the training hall, is done in the context of warriorship.

 

WHY PRACTICE THE MARTIAL WAY TODAY

In America, many students turn to the martial arts to learn how to defend themselves from the bully at school or work, or to feel more confident while out at night. Others belong to karate or judo clubs and follow the tournament circuit collecting as many trophies as their talents can win. Why would these individuals want to learn seemingly complex philosophical concepts or constrain themselves with ethical notions from past warrior societies?

The simple answer is there is much more to be gained from following The Martial Way than technical proficiency and the external rewards of athletic success. A true understanding of The Martial Way opens the door to a rich heritage of ethical principles, training approaches, and esoteric capabilities that can enrich an individual's martial arts experience as well as sharpen his ability to defend himself or succeed in competition.

But most importantly, The Martial Way is a way of living. It is a holistic discipline aimed at the pursuit of excellence, not just in the training hall, but at life. Its disciples strive to apply the Way in every vocation, and its adepts tend to be achievers in any field of endeavor. This is what separates The Martial Way from other pursuits and makes it so valuable. Where one may play a sport or have a hobby, one lives The Martial Way.

 

THE DESIGN OF THIS BOOK

Living The Martial Way is a concise manual for training in warrior-ship. Although it frequently addresses philosophy, it isn't a collection of quaint but vague expressions or anecdotes. Rather, it provides a systematic, step-by-step approach to applying the warrior mind-set to your martial training and daily life.

The material is organized to produce a cumulative training effect. It is divided into three parts, beginning with a topic that the typical student can understand most readily, The Way of Training. The five chapters in this section explain how the warrior approaches martial training and what he hopes to gain from it. It focuses on the warrior mind-set and explains how to orient your physical training program around martial concepts rather than sport or hobbyist pursuits.

Part Two, The Way of Honor, addresses the warrior's approach to ethics and provides you with a clear-cut guide for developing a powerful sense of character and will. It explains how warrior ethics, rooted in Eastern philosophical thought, parallel Western concepts of morality. You'll learn about the driving force behind the warrior's concept of honor and understand how to apply the concept of honor in your life.

Part Three is entitled, The Way of Living, and it teaches you just that. This section offers practical guidelines for living a warrior lifestyle. It address such important issues as fitness and nutrition, religion and mysticism, and warrior bearing. Combined with the foregoing sections, The Way of Living gives you all the knowledge necessary to grasp the concept of mastery as it applies to martial arts and The Martial Way.

Living The Martial Way is indeed a modern warrior's master text. Its ultimate objective is not merely to give you an intellectual appreciation of martial concepts but to let you taste the rich flavor that comes with living a warrior lifestyle. When you've finished Living the Martial Way, you'll have the following:

* The two steps to getting the warrior mind-set. You'll acknowledge your warriorship and pursue internal objectives (Chapter 1).

* A road map for determining your own martial destiny. You'll learn how to choose which martial arts to study and how to plan your training (Chapter 2).

* The incentive to train as warriors train. Although modern warriors focus on life, you'll know that defeat in combat means death. You'll have three instructions for training more effectively and living more vibrantly (Chapter 3).

* The fundamentals of strategy and tactics. Strategy plays a crucial role in warriorship. You'll use four steps and five elements to develop your own unbeatable strategy and tactics (Chapter 4).

* Systematic methods for developing the esoteric skills of warriorship. Martial arts are legendary for the seemingly mystical powers they teach. You'll learn what forces warriors really command. More importantly, you'll learn how to develop them yourself (Chapter 5).

* The foundations of warrior honor. Honor is a word many people use but few understand. You'll learn to apply three tests to any situation you face to determine the most honorable course of action (Chapter 6).

* Examples of honor in action. With a firm understanding of the basis of honor, you'll see the role honor plays in five moral issues central to warriorship (Chapter 7).

* The insight to recognize perversions of honor. Revenge can be honorable, but more often it's self serving. Suicide may be noble, but more times than not, it's the act of a coward. You'll learn to recognize circumstances in which revenge and suicide are honorable and those in which they are not (Chapter 8).

* A practical guide to warrior fitness and nutrition. Don't believe the story of the 90-pound weakling who, after a few months of training, returns to the beach and beats up the 200 pound bully. You'll understand the importance of fitness and nutrition, and you'll learn how warriors achieve superior conditioning (Chapter 9).

* An understanding of how religion and mysticism relate to The Martial Way. Asian religions and mystical practices have often been associated with the martial arts, but they are not part of The Martial Way. You'll learn about the principle beliefs of Asia and see how they have and haven't influenced warrior practices (Chapter 10).

* The dignity and bearing of a warrior. True warriors exude a dignity that non-warriors feel but can't describe. You'll obtain three keys for developing warrior bearing, and you'll learn the secret of personal power (Chapter 11).

* The wisdom to understand and recognize true mastery. You'll learn the kind of mastery warriors pursue, and you'll discover how to focus your life toward that goal (chapter 12).

In this book I use terms from several languages to explain specific concepts, but most often I rely on Japanese. Students of arts from Korea, China, and other cultures need not be offended or discouraged. This focus is entirely due to my limited knowledge of foreign languages. The concepts themselves are universal.

One final note: to avoid awkward "he and she" sentence structures, I tend to refer to warriors in the masculine gender. I don't mean this to imply women can't be warriors. Some of the greatest warriors in history were women, and there are great ones with us today. Indeed, warriorship knows no boundaries of sex, race, or culture.

 

 

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