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Exposing A DARK Truth About Martial Arts

Exposing A Dark Truth About Martial Arts

What is this dark truth? While you have that question in mind, in Thomas Cleary’s translation of Sun Tzu’s classic, “the Art of War”, he talks about the Monkey King. A main character in the Ming Dynasty classic, “Journey to the West”.  

The Monkey King known as Sun Wukong establishes a nation of Monkeys. As the king, he overcomes a devil and steals this devil’s sword. Upon returning to his subjects, he immediately takes up swordsmanship, practising with the sword. He then encouraged his subjects to take up the practice as well and to have war simulations.

Being gifted with many talents the one thing the Monkey King lacks is wisdom. And his cunningness or backward logic decides that if his neighbouring nations got a wind of what he and his subjects were doing, they would prepare for war. And even launch and a pre-emptive attack. So, he then decides that his nation should prepare first, setting an arms race.

“Journey To West” is a 16th-century novel, yet this behaviour of the Monkey King aligns with 21st-century politics.

Sun Wukong in his lack of wisdom and caught up in his emotions or ego disrupts the natural order. Sun Wukong in his lack of wisdom and caught up in his emotions or ego disrupts the natural order. Buddha would later neutralise him upon the request of the Daoist Immortal Celestials and thus humble the Monkey King.

The dark truth about martial arts is that it reminds us of our darkness. The struggles it evokes puts a mirror in front of our faces exposing our weaknesses. Like doing a particular drill-standing in a horse stance and suddenly feeling aching pain, the dark truth exposed is that we have weak legs. Most people would avoid this pain and makeup excuses. Their emotions will rise and get the best of them, feeding the ego with each excuse. Allowing them to escape the simple truth that their legs are weak, and they need to train more to strengthen them.

Martial arts or martial science deals with our darkness, the animal that we pretend not to be, it opens the window of opportunity for us to understand this animal, the monkey mind, the monkey king. Thus, understanding that all the turmoil lies within ourselves.

And this path of truth is hard for many and not an easy task, but then again worth it. Because it strengthens us mentally and physically and the latter positions weaken us. Creating chaos in the natural order.

Another wonderful book that dwells on the darkness of the human psyche is Robert Greene’s book, “The Laws of Human Nature” quoting from the book,

“What if we could look within and see the source of our more troubling emotions and why they drive our behaviour often against our wishes? What if we could understand why, we’re so compelled to desire what other people have, or to identify so strongly with the group that we feel contempt for those who are on the outside?”

Besides fighting, martial art is a path of truth.

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