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Zen In The Martial Arts
By David Scott

Technical knowledge alone is not enough. A martial artist must simultaneously transcend technique and develop intuitive action so that the art becomes an artless art, a way to physical excellence, a way to spiritual enlightenment.

"A dojo [practice hall] is a miniature cosmos where we make contact with ourselves-our fears, anxieties, reaction and habits. It is an arena of confined conflict where we confront an opponent but rather a partner engaged in helping us understand ourselves more fully...."

The role of Zen in the martial arts defies easy definition because Zen has no theory; it is an inner knowing for which there is no clearly stated dogma. The Zen of martial arts deemphasizes the power of the intellect and extols that of intuitive action. Its ultimate aim is to free the individual from anger, illusion, and false passion.

The conflicts that take place inside the dojo help us handle conflicts that take place outside. The total concentration and discipline required to study martial arts carries over to daily life. The activity in the dojo calls on us to constantly attempt new things, so it is also a source of learning-in Zen terminology, a source of self-enlightenment.

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