Archive for ritual

Martial Arts Time-LARP

Posted in Cults, Fighting, martial arts, Paganism, Religion, self-help, Shintoism, taijiquan with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by wizardsmoke
Something to note about Japanese martial arts is the CEREMONIALISM. For instance, what really is the difference between the presentation of Japanese koryu (samurai-era schools) and sport arts like judo? Mostly the ceremony. And between those two groups of arts lies modern gendai budo like the Bujinkan, Genbukan, Jinenkan, Iaido, Aikido, involve pseudo-free-form small patterns that are derived from ritual. Unlike Systema or Taijiquan where you have basic fundamentals demonstrated on their own, in koryu-derivative arts, you have symbolic patterns, which are neither specific techniques, nor are they extended kata or forms.

To me this feels like a culturally distinct Japanese process, where much of the transmission takes place in the subtler cues and the practitioner’s ability to read between the lines or perceive the information along cultural lines. But I guess that’s the gist of EXISTENCE eh? That’s how you figure out anything, no matter how seemingly clear-cut the language. My problem is that I don’t understand cultural cues from Japan! So everytime I find myself in these totally sweet Shinto-esque training environments, I don’t really know how to bypass the ritual itself. Ah, but that’s the game I guess. It just sucks when I don’t get it and I get straight rude injured by the practice. SO IT GOES AHAHA

But the truth is, I find martial arts to be kind of lame and nerdy. Not nerdy in a geeky sense, but nerdy in that there are a lot of people who obsess over the stuff without any bigger use for the material, save for their ego. I find myself TOLERATING a lot of the people I meet in the martial arts, rather than really enjoying their company. HEY HEY not that I’m some great company myself but… the issue is that with annoying nutjobs, crazy or angry people, etc. their presence comes with a higher price. You have to actually physically fight with these people, even if only an exercise. Not as much of an issue in music, business, academia, etc. where you generally just deal with the stupid non-violent status war shit that all groups have.

And that’s the other thing: sparring, fighting, etc. When are you going to get in a dirty streetfight, save for someone surprise assaulting and destroying you? When will you need to use your god-given right to firearms, except to commit a crime? I don’t know, I guess if it happens, the training is worth it. And good survival/martial training will certainly show you WHEN you’re coming close to those situations, since you lookat them more directly (if you’re not retarded), but when do you walk into those things? Very rarely. Time is an expensive commodity, and I would imagine most people don’t have that to spare for this survivalist shit.

To me martial arts ends up being a kind of “violence ritual”. This is something along the lines of what Scott Philips talks about. I just think it’s a way of warding off the negative emotions and fears that come with thinking about violence without first-hand knowledge of it. So, by exposing yourself to it on a regular basis in a safer environment, it’s easier to tame within one’s psyche; it is not as much of a severe control factor in dictating one’s life.
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Victim of Changes

Posted in Daoism, Mysticism, Religion, society, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , on June 16, 2008 by wizardsmoke

What are people looking for in a religion? It’s probably true that, if you’re seeking a religion or tradition that you don’t naturally practice (not the same as being one that you were born into) you’re looking for something somewhere else — somewhere outside of yourself.

‘Course, Buddha or Jesus or Lao Tzu or David Blaine or whichever human MVP is your choice, does not speak of mystical stuff in an otherworldly sense. It seems all mysterious to hear a sage say where someone will go upon their demise or how their actions will bear fruit, but that’s just because (at the moment) we’re freaking samsaric stooges! With a clear perception, some of these things become straight-forward insights or observations.

The same realization can be said of great talents. So often you’ll talk to people and hear “buzz buzz, ballet is really hard! buzz buzz” or “blah blah, being an athlete takes so much hard work! blah blah”. Big surprise there! As if getting good at anything doesn’t take serious work. The point is, skills are very ordinary talents that come from hard work (and maybe possession by the daughters of Zeus, hahaha!). Coming into peak awareness of the universe arises from the same kind of dedication. We love those stories about people born to inherit the vessel of supreme realization, but they’re still people who come from prior causes.

In these cases of prior causes we often see the reason some people have natural gifts–people for whom hard work in certain realms of creativity or labor is natural or even necessary to their contentment. Such are the cases of great artists. Hard work is certainly difficult for anybody, but an inspired person finds their work flows naturally. I think this is what Hatsumi refers to as “riding the shinobi winds”. This is what we want to develop from religion/ritual and so on: an ability to flow.

Flow is a primordial skill that comes from practicing serious ritual. At Weakness With a Twist the other day, the point was made that:

Ritual is action taken with out consistent meaning. Ritual practice itself is not a defense against dogma; however, the practice of ritual has the capacity to reveal the way or mind seeks to lock on to a particular way of perceiving our world.

Ritual, particularly early on, can be very difficult to do consistently. But as this quote points out, to practice as such is making one aware of the distortion or discord in the environment or rhythm of one’s life, those things which pull one away from ritual. A ritual composed of weak desires or paths of no resistance does nothing to “enhance” or strengthen the spirit. It will merely contrast one’s weakest desires with everything else.

One more interesting thing from the same post is:

For heaven’s sake, ritual is not a discarding of reason. It is a good thing we use reason to manipulate our environments for pleasure and power. But reason is a form of aggression which itself can cloud our vision. Ritual has the capacity to re-pose the question: How important is reason?

This reminds me of how so many modern atheists or materialists or “naturalists” in modern society decry religious values as being some kind of primitive belief set or pure fantasy. However, religion is not identified as a “religion” or fantasy by those who originally practice it. Religious concerns very often come from past methods of reasoning used to determine meaning or ways of doing things productively and constructively to one’s community and self.

The way so many materialists talk about discoveries of science or the benefits people will receive from modern advancements away from religion, it’s like they miss the objective of doing hard work. Modern scientific advancements which make our lives more luxurious are nice, but they actually can work against us by catering to our basest pleasures and urges. Not a good devotion. It’s similar to the base idea that anyone who converts to Christianity, Islam or Buddhism will go to heaven or be reborn in a better place purely because they associate themselves with the religion (as opposed to doing the hard work of ritual and self-improvement). High-fallutin’ poppycock rubbish tomfoolery!