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This is just a thought I had the other day... quite often discussions around martial arts lead to group think, virtual sects and a lot of hostility bewtween different groups of people who practise different arts. Just like everywhere where people get together... Maybe because a lot of martial arts club are pretty hierarchical. So if you are top of a hierarchy you might get out of your bubble only to find out people outside don't put you on a pedestral anymore. Of course it might also have to do with the general underlying mindset of the martial arts to dominate one another in a quite archaic way - through violence. So some people might use the same mindset in normal communication or as their default mode for conflict. Which is kind of sad I think.

To me, building martial skills works through formats: Technical formats, focus exercises, partner work, testing formats, "dueling" formats, learning formats and so on. In a way each format requires a different mindset to work well (... as it just doesn't help to learn a new technique with the stress level equal to that of a life threatening situation.) The training then actually helps to understand your own psychology somewhat better. And it enables the practioner to work on certain traits which are missing but which would help to find a new inner balance to cope with certain situations which might occur in life. I believe every mindset has functional and dysfunctional sides. Martial arts offer a great way to explore the mind's processes... also (not solely) by means of different martial formats as they trigger something very deep and archaic inside all of us (fight, flight, freeze etc.). 

Sometimes I imagine what might happen at a physicists' conference: two physicists get into a heated debate on string theory and quantum mechanics. But I think, could they still go to the pub in the evening and share a beer together and have a nice chat? Could they still be friends? Or is it impossible because of professional differences? I would hope it is still possible and I would hope this could happen in the (Chinese) Martial Arts community as well, to be able to articulate technical differences and to be able to accept them and not transfer a technical tension into the realm of personal relations.       

What do you think? You don't agree? Well, no problem, but can we still be friends? ;-)     

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