Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Traditions and Roots of Martial Arts

Michael Morgan
San Francisco, California
Dear Mr. Ralston,
I have an issue I want to bring up to you. [I talked with someone...] when I asked if he knew of your Dojo, he said that the two of you had one issue on which you had a major difference of opinion. As far as I can understand it, what he was saying was that his school believes in learning and/or recognizing and/or honoring "the roots" of martial arts and that you do not. So, here is my thing: I am asking for your viewpoint on the issue of tradition, roots, etc.
Sincerely yours,
Michael Morgan

I am surprised that you are still unacquainted with how I hold tradition. "Roots" are of no consequence, the "truth" is. What we call tradition may or may not be worth keeping, especially since it has undoubtedly been changed over time to serve various purposes. (Consider that some past Christians have slaughtered many people for their beliefs, and in the name of Christ! I doubt that man would have

It's not that I think those who come before have nothing to teach. I have always worked hard to thoroughly learn what others have to offer before presuming to "create" any divergence. However, once the teaching is mastered, it is necessary to seek out principles and insight beyond any beliefs or methods that have been used to teach in the past.

For example, Picasso mastered conventional painting techniques before he approached, say, cubism. Some who scorn tradition think they are being creative but they really don't understand that creativity doesn't mean "do whatever you feel like." I am not one of those, and I studied almost every form of martial art extensively before creating the Cheng Hsin arts. The demands of creating lie in creation, and this is not something that whim or one's ego can even perceive.
Hope I cleared this up.

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