What is Martial Arts?

The definition of Martial Arts is one thing. The usefulness of Martial Arts can be the solution for the many problems of modern society in 21 century. Especially mental illness and behavior issues that so many people suffer in their daily life. Such as; Depression, Anger, Anxiety, PTSD, High stress, ADD/ADHD, Lack of confidence, Defiance, Misbehavior, Pouting, Lower self-esteem, etc.

Really? How can it be?

Let’s start with the definition of each word of “Martial” and “Arts.” The word “martial” comes from Mars, the Roman god of war. Warriors defend themselves, their country, their family, and - most importantly - defend their principles. So, “martial” means war, warrior-like, fighting techniques and skills, and so on. The word “art” is human craftsmanship or human workmanship. The opening statement of Eric Fromm's classic book "The Art of Loving" begins like this: "Is love an Art? Then it requires knowledge and effort." 

Arts are like food for our mind.

Even learning the ability to love is an art, so knowledge and effort are required. How much more do we need to know about art to live life as a human? In other words, art is an essential nutrient for human mental life, just like food is necessary for the human body. Thus, the essential elements of nutrients for human mental life match with elements of art. The characteristics of arts are: expression, originality, creativity, beauty, precision, higher quality, affection, the healing process, etc. Aren't modern people only concentrating on survival and lust to have more but, indifferent to the desire for human life? Many styles of martial arts have been created and developed throughout the Eastern hemisphere for thousands of years. Martial art was introduced in the Western hemisphere barely 100 years ago. 

Why did martial arts originate from the East?

Here, an interesting question arises. Fighting or defense systems are absolute necessities for the survival of humans, tribes, communities, and countries. Therefore, the fighting systems existed in all places throughout old or new, and east or west. Then, why did martial arts originate from the East? Why not the West? The main reason is the cultural difference between East and West. A few differences are Eastern focused holistic versus Western focused analytic, compete within versus competing with others, higher valued in intangible items or being versus tangible items or winning, Eastern perspective in the personification of the world versus objectification of the world in the Western, fighting system turns into arts versus turns into sports.

Culture determines lifestyle

The definition of culture is lifestyle or human behavior that is formed by the aggregation of collective human thoughts, environment, response, and adaptation. The results of cultural value differences are as follows; Punching and kicking turn into Taekwondo or Karate style versus Boxing, throwing and choking turns into Judo versus grappling turns into Wrestling, joint locking system turns into Hapkido versus throwing spear turns into Javelin, and so on. 

The best vehicle for solving the many problems of modern society.

The most important aspect of martial arts training is the integration of all the human constitutions; body, mind, and spirit. This is why martial arts is the best vehicle for solving the many problems of modern society in 21 century. It offers not just physical fitness, furthermore, mental and spiritual fitness. Because a complete integration of training is an excellent supporting system for upgrading the new education system. Martial Arts have an optimal training method for character-building, attitude, and personality which are missing in the current education curriculum. 

The perspective of learning difference between East and West

The perspective of learning from the East is “Searching for your own mind.” Mencius(372 B.C. - 289 B.C.), a Chinese philosopher who followed Confucius, said: “Humility is the heart, and righteousness is the path. To stop following the path and abandon it. To let the heart wander and not know enough to search for it, what a sad, sad thing… The art of learning is nothing other than this: Searching for the mind that’s wandered away. Alas, man searches for a lost chicken or dog but does not know to search for their lost mind.” 

The perspective of learning from the West is gaining more control outside of self - environments or events. “Knowledge is power” by Francis Bacon(1561 - 1626) Power(energy) possesses two elements; volumes and direction. Direction is more important than volumes. Volumes can be very harmful with unknown directions. “Force without mind falls by its own weight” by Horace, Roman poet.

The first challenge we are facing is how to create a “Human Engineering System.” The second challenge is “how to produce many more ‘Human EngineerⓇ’?”

Emerson said; “The important thing is not what you learn but with whom you learn.” The first challenge is to create a “Human Engineering System.” The second challenge is to produce a competent teacher that holds the new title “Human Engineer” This is the reason I, Jeeho Lee, registered the trademark of “Human Engineer” as a new title beyond a teacher, professor, and/or a counselor. I am interested to license this title to whoever wants as the founder of  “Human Engineer”.

I have a conviction that Martial Arts will change the education curriculum in the world. Because Martial Artists train the human body, mind, and spirit. There are many Martial Sports centers nowadays not Martial Arts academies. Because training the human mind and spirit is a very difficult task. It requires knowledge and effort. We need to do engineering work rather than guesswork.

Thank you for reading.