The way of martial spirit is also a lesson in life
For fellow brothers and sisters of the martial way. There are many ways to look at what is martial spirit. We often view it as politeness, honour and respect. However, it is also important to look at personal reflection as a path to practice and cultivate. Some things are for show only, but the way you conduct yourself and how you practice is obvious.
Take for example, the cleaning and
maintenance of your personal possessions and your weapons. How many times in films, you do you hear about your sword is your honour. It sounds like a well worn cliché, but it is actually true. It is important to clean and oil your jian, dao or qiang. If you respect your art and yourself, then you'll understand that weapon cleaning is an important part of the art. Just like a chef always cleans and looks after their knives. It's also about professionalism too. After all, what kind of warrior carries filthy, poorly maintained weapons? Where's your pride? No matter how skilled you are, people's perception of your art and yourself matters. First impression counts and looking like a scruffy hobo doesn't help.
The act of cleaning and maintenance is has two key purposes, the practical and the spiritual side. On the practical side, it gives you the chance to inspect any damage, rust or to tighten anything that have come loose. It is good to clean the dirt that have accumulated over time, also to remove an rust. The presence of either will affect the life of the weapon. Whether you spar, test cut or compete in competitions. A weapon with loose parts is a no-no. It shows the practitioner up as sloppy, lacking respect for the art and those whom you train with or compete against. Furthermore, loose parts can come off cause harm. This is would be your fault and it won't look good.
On the spiritual side, cleaning and maintenance is a very therapeutic activity. It is nice to get closer to the weapons train with and understand them better. Cleaning is not about brute strength, but the process of realisation and appreciation what is in your hands. The cleaning part is much like the tantric concept of expelling dirt. Realisation is a spiritual process that can lead you to understand perception. Buddha's student Suddhipanthaka was tasked with sweeping and found enlightenment through sweeping. This is no different from what doing Taiji and Qigong can do for you. Hence, martial spirit can really make a difference is life.
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Jian (劍): Chinese double edged straight sword
Dao (刀): Chinese single edged sabre, also known as a broadsword
Qiang (槍) Chinese spear
Wǔdàojīshén (武道精神): Martial spirit
Martial arts can be a lot of fun, and training with weapons makes it more exciting. However, weapons (wooden or metal) are not toys and you should train and handle with them with care. It is still recommended that you carry adequate insurance as accidents do happen. Furthermore, train responsibly as the police have the right to question what you are doing, if you are training in public. In the UK, it is illegal to practice with metal weapons in public. Please be mindful that what you do may frighten members of the public. In light of how sensitive people can be, please don't ruin it for other martial artists.
Thank you for reading my blog.
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