Of Skill and Art

Steven showed me a clip of this guy taking out a bigger guy with a MMA-styled body slam. The bigger chap didn’t stand a chance when the side of his head hit the concrete floor and he was knocked out cold.

Well, that was pretty much the gist of it, but from the video, we can clearly see that there was aggression in both parties and it was the smaller, presumably MMA trained chap who out out both his hands, and gestured to the bigger fella; ‘Come on!’

Although the bigger guy took the challenge and swing his first swing, and missed, giving the smaller guy an opening to slip behind him grab him and slam him to the ground.

It was a textbook body slam, right out of a a MMA or wrestling instruction manual.

That is a skill, not an art.

Anyone can learn a skill, just as how Steven puts it bluntly, any one guy can screw a girl, but can any guy be prepared for the consequences?

So martial arts, is called a martial art simply because it is so deadly. With basic training, anyone can kill, injure and maim a person easily, it is not that difficult to jab someone in the eye or attack the esophagus, but if the person gets blinded PERMANENTLY, or choked to death, can you live with that for the rest of your life? and you did that because there was an argument over beer? Or over a parking lot?

An art is when you can look at aggression in the eye, stand firm and use the most expeditious response, one that is not excessive. One that is life giving not life taking. Sure, the other person might be the most aggressive prick you encountered that evening, but hey, he is still not the late Saddam Hussein. Give the person a chance to cool down and live, choose a response that allow everyone to walk away alive. That is the distinct between a skill and art.

You can be skillful but the beauty is the artistic application of a skill. With the skill we’ve learned we are like a loaded rifle, with one round in the chamber, anyone can squeeze a trigger, but our art, our discipline, is our safety catch. Our art is our safety, it is off only when it has to, and when it no longer has to, it is on again.

So check yourself, is your safety on? Or you don’t even know your safety at all, then you might be picking up a skill, not an art.


About Who is Randy Lim

This blog is about the journey and experiences in my life as an Aikidoka. With close to 20 years in the arts, I'll make comments and judgements based on 2 principles, E&E. Experimentation and Experiential reflection. please enjoy, and comment freely.
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