Lately Iâ€™ve been curious about martial arts and the AT.Â I donâ€™t have much experience with the former subject, but Iâ€™m hardly the first blogger to write about stuff he doesnâ€™t know much about.
My interest is not in convincing you that the AT will make you a better fighter.Â (Though it undoubtedly will.) *
Itâ€™s the idea of reflexes in the AT & martial arts that fascinates me.Â I was talking to a friend who has practiced, Aikido, Tai Chi, Karate, Judo & other martial arts for several years. He told me that the attacks and defenses he learned had became automatic responses, much like the way you have the automatic reflex of kicking when when the physician taps your knee.
In the AT, conscious control over the automatic reflexes of the body is not seen as desirable, e.g. how can you improve upon the automatic reflex of blinking before a twig snaps into your eye?
FM believed â€œthat there is no function of the body that cannot be brought under the control of the conscious willâ€ and cites the case of a Yogi who can stop his heart at will, but dismisses this as â€œdangerous trickery practiced on the body, a trickery no way admirable or to be sought after.â€ (You see how out of step he is with the times–he doesnâ€™t care if a feat will impress others, especially if it seems that is the only point of the feat.)
Now I realize that thereâ€™s a big difference between unnecessary control of automatic functions and adding new automatic martial functions to protect yourself. But I wonder if someone who has practiced martial arts for several decades can make defensive (and offensive) moves with complete conscious control. This reminds me of those Kung Fu movies where time seems to slow down for the fighters, especially the hero.
If anyone has more information about this, Iâ€™d be happy to hear it.
*Â An understanding of the indirect means of AT will certainly help you appreciate the philosophical and spiritual sides of martial arts; and the improvement of general use through the AT will c. h. you perform specific techniques and forms.