Playfighting

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It is easy to get seduced by sport martial arts. They are entertaining to watch. And maybe you want to test your ability to see how it measures up against others.

People train really hard for these competitions. Their physical conditioning is unmatched. The dedication and skill of these athletes is beyond reproach.

But they are training for a game. Sport is play. The goal of the game is to win in the eyes of the audience, the judges, or both.

But real danger appears when martial artists begin to think this is real. That these methods would work in real combat. Or that anybody who doesn’t compete isn’t a skilled fighter. I wrote a blog post about this that created some controversy in the sports community: Can You Tap-Out A Bee?

A few months ago Hatsumi Sensei told us, “What’s important for Bujinkan is not to copy other fighting systems around the world, because they’re just toys.”

If you are training in the Bujinkan and you water down your training with these sports, then you are playfighting. Sports martial arts teach illusions because their goals are learning how to win the game that they play. The Bujinkan doesn’t play that game. It is teaching survival and how to live.

Michael GLENN

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