More on arts martial

A month or two back I had a couple posts about martial arts. It’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought since the beginning of the year.

I’m still not entirely sure why. There is something social about my attraction to it, not only in the sense of having a community to feel close to and to make friends within (though that is an attractive thing), but in the sense that, as I’ve said here in the past, my own utopian vision of a political community, when I examine it, has a martial aspect. I like the idea of a good community as one that plays games which are somehow closely relevant to fighting.

One thing I’ve heard as I’ve researched over the past several months, and I can believe this, is that there’s a kind of pleasure or giddiness in combat sports that is not present in the same way in other sports. I’ve heard the suggestion that we’re evolutionarily wired in some way to enjoy play fighting. So maybe that’s part of it.

And I think part of it does come from a desire to be able to defend myself and my family. I can’t say for sure if it’s not a coincidence that my interest in all this has appeared as my family is growing, but I would certainly be comforted in the knowledge that I would have a better chance of protecting myself and my family if I ever needed to. We are fortunate to live in a time when our states guarantee a generally safe and nonviolent existence for their citizens, but of course the state isn’t omniscient or omnipotent, so there are gaps where violence can be suddenly very real and truly devastating.

Initially I was attracted to the idea of some more esoteric martial art. I’m not sure why. I had a friend who was really enthusiastic about aikido several years ago, so that was one of my first thoughts. As I did some research, Krav Maga also sounded pretty cool. I continued reading and thinking, though, and have come to the conclusion that the best idea is to go with the options that have been most successful in the pressure testing of mixed martial art competitions: a striking art like boxing, Muay Thai, kick boxing, or something of the sort; and a grappling art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or wrestling. One of each.

I’m hoping to begin learning in person as soon as possible, but my family’s financial situation and schedule have meant that I haven’t been able to start right away. But that’s worked out pretty well for me, I think. I’ve been seeking in my spare time to master the concepts of how to be good at striking and grappling arts, on the one hand, and also how to train in them most effectively.

One approach to training that has really appealed to me as I’ve read around is “constraint-led,” games-based training. It seems like it’s on the rise, but perhaps not yet very widespread. I won’t expect to find a place locally that is doing this, and wherever I do begin training I’ll respect their approach and learn as well as I can from it. But I think I’ll try to shape my side of the pedagogical relationship as much as I can with the ecological training perspective, and over time as I (presumably) will have a bit more autonomy over how I’m spending my training time, I hope to try out some of these different ideas that I’ve been spending so much time with lately.

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