Brian Kagen pick: “Philosophy of Martial Arts,” by Tim Cartmell

“Without formal training, the larger and stronger naturally defeat the smaller and weaker. Therefore, a basic premise of training to fight as an “art” must be that the methods employed should make it possible for the smaller and weaker to defeat (or at least successfully defend against) the larger and stronger. As we have observed, it is not necessary to create techniques for the stronger to defeat the weaker, as this occurs without formal training. So it is logical that the basic premise of creating fighting techniques which qualify, as “art” must, at least theoretically, be designed so that a smaller and weaker combatant can apply them successfully against a larger and stronger opponent. Now that we have a definition of martial art, the next logical question to ask is what type of techniques will allow the weaker fighter to defend him or herself against the stronger.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. …fine. but why not simply, ‘the purpose of a martial art is to improve the practitioner’s chance of prevailing in an encounter’? yes, larger people do have an advantage over smaller, stronger over weaker, and so on, but technique can still improve the odds from say 70% to 90%. for that matter, how much effort must be expended? while size is advantageous, having to actually use the extra size and strength is often disadvantageous…

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