So now let’s look a little bit at Martial Arts from the Social “quadrant” or perspective.

From this view, Martial Arts is about you and I, together. “You and I” could mean literally you and me. It could also mean you and your school, you and your opponent, you and your web forum and other blog readers. Ultimately, it means you and the rest of the world. You and I make a “We”. All I have done here is simply rename the “We” quadrant in Integral theory as the “Social Perspective” to describe the aspects of Martial Arts that are social.

Martial Arts from the Social Perspective

Unless you are practicing alone in your room, there is always someone else involved with you while doing your thing! The first question to ask is who is that someone else, or maybe multiple somebodies? The second question is what is your relationship to them?

In the conventional Stages of Martial Arts, your “partner” may be a sparring opponent, an uke, or even a mugger. The object is to beat them somehow, or otherwise dominate them. Though this has its applications and its uses, it is also limited. There are other realms of possibility for the Social aspects.

Just like in the Personal side of things, with Social everything is internal, except this time it is internal between two or more people. You cannot cut open a relationship and look at it, but you can see the outward effects of a relationship: wars, marriages, baptisms, etc. So ask yourself at any given point in your practice with another person, what is going on with the relationship at that moment? Are you antagonistic? Are you collaborative? Is that attitude you hold the right one for the right time?

Each person that practices with you sets up a new relationship. The two of you make a different “We” than you and the last partner you sparred with. How is this “We” different from the last one? Maybe you have noticed that sparring some people just feels different from others, even when you account for skill and training. Why is that? What is it within the two of you that sets up a different “We”? How does that “We” affect your techniques together?