Do martial arts hang onto their traditional roots just for the sake of it? Does it enhance or impinge your learning experience? What would it do to martial arts if there were no uniforms, no stances, no bowing etc? Have a think about how you would feel?
Where there is Martial Arts there is a tradition! As Bruce Lee said “Learn the old to understand the new!” Martial Arts is not about self defence. Though it is a nice by-product of learning a system of combat and it is important to learn the techniques properly, Martial Arts is primarily an art form that will enhance the quality of your life.
There needs to be a middle line taken with tradition. At one end you have the super traditional that are so enslaved by their dogma that any actual resemblance to what may be a martial art is completely lost….I see so many instructors continue to call all the techniques and numbering in Japanese or Korean, surely this is a waste of time unless you plan on training over seas. At the other end you have schools that call themselves martial arts yet they have removed any form that may relate them to martial arts and are more akin to fighting/blood sports and have about as much in common to martial arts as boxing does.
The the tradition is a great adjunct to the training and not a hinderance then it is good thing. When you have to sit in seiza for hours on end because it’s tradition….I wanna puk!! With out tradition the art of martial arts becomes little more than a sport or a modified version of structured street fighting.
And another thing…unless the martial arts master/sensei/sifu/or any of the other fancy names starts addressing his or her own ego and takes active steps to include some essence of stillness into their lives, be it meditation or what ever, their ego will only intensify and they will never be any more than an advanced student of fighting. Martial Arts and meditation/healing, go hand in hand, now that is a tradition that cannot be separated from martial arts. So for all you martial arts teachers out there, where are you at…are you still trying to find the best technique? Are you still living your glory fighting days and telling the same stories over and over again to your students? Or has there been a glimmer of something real that transcends all structure and form and opens the door to the most important lesson in martial arts?