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An Overview of The Art and Spiritual influences of Traditional Weapons
Weapons are for most countries as familiar as any item of modern life: the computer, the car, the tin opener, and the home protection security system. People carry an assortment of self protection hardware, from sprays, shock devices units to the hand gun or just the plain old rifle each has an accepted importance. It is well documented that as a symbol of defence and power a weapon's potential is usually sought after.
City wise teenagers are familiar enough with hand weapons to establish their self esteem by their use. In modern warfare particular language styles have developed so as "to do business and take him out of the equation". This casually reinforces the modern day acceptance that some form of peace maker is a necessary evil.
Weaponry for Health, its purpose in contemporary Internal Martial Arts
Strictly speaking teachers of Traditional Weapons (in the many martial arts systems) regret this easy modern acceptance. Firstly, the character development required is at odds with human sensitivities. Only marginal skills, whether physical or mental, are required to pull a trigger. Hence the quick demise of the "natural" (and difficult to learn) Bow and Arrow in the battle field. The shot and musket was so effective without the need for exceptional specialist skills.
Why Practice Traditional Weaponry
Weaponry gives both the benefits of mental training and increase in the strength and co-ordination of the practitioner. Traditionally Martial Arts uses Swords of different weights and shapes and sticks of various forms, short, Six Foot Pole or Long Pole(12ft) being popular and accessible to most cultures. Traditionally the Sword represented a symbol of truth and righteousness while the Pole or Staff repesents schooling in some guiding doctrine or religion.
Do Martial considerations of Power and Effectiveness
Motivate one to learn Traditional Weapons?
There is nothing profound about the fear that someone is going to attack you. The traditional notion of an attacker is only marginally relevant to weaponry. In Zennist thinking just to keep ones own state of mind is enough to ensure some mark of success. Win or Lose. One need not be concerned with whether the attacker is extremely confident and has superior capabilities. Or that the attacker senses that he is overmatched but for some reason persists in an attack. For although traditional weapons have many significant works including combat strategy mentally one should be free from them. Any act of choosing requires a conscious decision but traditional martial theory asks that one be "consciously unconscious" or "unconsciously conscious". This instils a state of "no-mindness", "egoless-ness" or natural intuition. This is a state which can be gradually attained by simple activities such as sword or stick practice. Further, because no-mindness is a mode of activity which comes directly out of one's innermost self without being intercepted by a prevaricating and dichotomous intellect. For example, in time the act of cutting with a sword or binding with a pole is so direct and natural that conscious thought finds no room here to insert itself and so interfere. The ego-less state is more than symbolic because it represents the natural mind adhering without effort to no thing.
The idea of emptiness is significant.
The symbol of the circle is common to many martial movements, and is present in the philosophical foundations underlining the martial arts. One is admonished not to have a mind which is narrow or myopic. Rather one should have a mind which is emblematic of the circle - to allow for a variation of possibilities and alternatives. This is known as the 'humanheartedness approach' in traditional texts and one which is specifically against combative (fighting) martial-ness per se.
The No-Mindness Approach in Weapons Practice
The thing is not to try to localise the minds intent but to allow it connect to the whole body by non interference. Simply let it flow throughout the totality of your being! This can happen without effort! When it happens you use your hands, legs, eyes etc.. when they are needed and no time or extra energy will be wasted. Further have no deliberation, or no discrimination. Instead of localising (imprisoning) or burdening ones intent, let it go all by itself, freely. Then each transition will be clear, unhindered and uninhibited. It is only when this done that the mind is ready to move, that the spirit of unity and will, action or inaction occurs with no "stoppage" anywhere.
Technically until spontaneous action can be achieved, it is common practice is to place the mind upon ones breathing. The lower abdominal area (tan-t'ien) is generally emphasised at the fundamental levels of training because the deep breathing develops energy as well as strengthening calmness of spirit.
The term "mind" has a broader meaning than simply the mental process of thought but also includes the heart, intellect and disposition.
A state of "no-mindness" can be analogised, as the reflection of the Moon in a Pond. Neither the Moon nor the Pond possesses any preconceived notion of producing a reflection.
The moon has no intent to cast its shadow anywhere nor does the pond design to capture the moon: However serene the moon and water are producing a reflection which is free from artificial schematics, everything is left to complete itself through nature.
~There is no Sword no reflection no action~