On page 50 of Hwa Rang Do by Taejoon Lee, he describes his views on the topic of Martial Arts and divides them into 4 categories with definitions. I have transcribed the text below.
NEW CATEGORISATION OF MARTIAL ARTS
"Based on these principles of the warriors path, I propose a new categorisation and definition for the term "martial art" and it's related terms:
Martial Sport - Learning fighting skills primarily for competitive purposes and/or fitness.
Self-Defence - Learning fighting skills primarily for practical self-defence purposes and/or fitness.
Martial Art - Learning fighting skills for competition and self-defence with the emphasis on discipline, hierarchy and tradition.
Martial Way - Learning fighting skills, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of one's self in order to build and strengthen one's character, living in accordance with the warrior's path as a way of life. It is in this martial way that hwa rang do is found." - Taejoon Lee
I find the transcription above to be immensely thought provoking. I agree with Taejoon Lee's definition of martial sport as I think he accurately describes what it is. His description of self-defence is also fairly accurate. His definition of martial art and the martial way are the most intriguing. I am going to annotate Taejoon Lee's description of Martial Art as I understand it.
Martial Art - Learning fighting skills for competition(No, competition is martial sport) and self-defence with the emphasis on discipline, hierarchy(Hierarchy must imply rank) and tradition(Tradition often separates people, and stunts/limits their development if it is not allowed to evolve. It can sometimes be like one size fits all).
I summarise that Taejoon Lee used the term Martial Art to represent institutional, commercialised and systematic expressions of Martial Art such as Taekwondo, Karate, Judo and so on. It is how Taejoon Lee sees the label of Martial Art being used in society today, and not the pure vision of an individual's honest and artistic expression of Martial Art that many of us extol and put into practice. That vision of true Martial Art is more accurately defined in Taejoon Lee's description of the martial way. I shall annotate it below.
Martial Way - Learning fighting skills, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of one's self in order to build and strengthen one's character, living in accordance with the warrior's path as a way of life. It is in this martial way that hwa rang do is found (No need for systematic segregation, just state this is the martial way that the Martial Arts in its totality is found) .
From this information I conclude that Taejoon Lee defines the term Martial Art as the stereotypical, commercialised and somewhat corrupted Martial Arts systems. The McDojang's/McDojo's on every street corner for example. The Martial Way refers to the true and pure Martial Arts that Sifu Freddie Lee has been educating us about in recent years. From this conclusion I now have an idea. Freddie has often stated that he no longer wishes to claim the Martial Arts as he sees that the label is too misrepresented and misinterpreted. Well what if we claim to be practitioners of the Martial Way?. I like it because as a English term, it is closer to what we claim to practice. We practice Martial techniques, but also strive to actively represent the meaning of the Yin-Yang, the Tao. So theoretically it could be said that we are practitioners of the Martial Way as we execute combative/Martial techniques in accordance to the principles/Way of the Tao. I like it!!!.
Thank You for reading my blog. What do you guys think of what I have had to say?.