It is interesting how religion is discussed in Integral terms as a conveyor belt to accommodate and broaden the practitioners’ understandings at each and every Stage from Magenta on up through even third tier. In my opinion that is a key feature of religion’s purpose as we go forward into the future. Why else would you have it? Contemplating this further and applying it to another area, why couldn’t the Martial Arts be a conveyor belt as well? Granted, most arts focus on certain martial Lines of development, like sparring, kata, breaking, chi, etc. whereas religion expressly focuses on the Spiritual Line of development. However on the other hand as I think I pointed out in previous posts well enough, the Martial Arts don’t necessarily all leave out the Spiritual Line of development either. I dare say that any practice of any art can be applied to the Spiritual Line, and the Japanese of the 1600’s knew that.

Here’s a simple example that has happened to me. It has nothing at all to do directly with martial arts or spiritual development, but in the end it was both. At my job years ago, I was given a task. I had to sort several sheets of paper and put them into an envelope, which I then had to address and prepare for mailing. I had to do that 750 times for the entire mailing list. Probably everyone reading this has had to do something like that at least once in their lives, and it’s a good bet most everyone hated it. I didn’t. I saw it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Instead of pouting, I made the repetitive task into a kata, and I got to perform that kata 750 times. In the end I was quite good at it, but the important thing is I gained the benefits of a kata from doing a simple task: I focused on my breathing. I let my thoughts go and observed them. I put my mind in my body and perfected my movements which brought me completely into the Now. It was a meditation. Instead of having a bad day at work, I had a day that could be chalked up into a long line of non-wasted days of meditation training, and the benefits that flow from that. State practice contributed to the “slipperiness” of my Stage, which did God knows what, but certainly seems to have been positive. In turn, broadening Stages through the happy accidents caused by meditation can be seen as a conveyor belt, and it doesn’t take a religion to do that.

Depending on your vantage point, Martial Arts looks quite different. Similarly to people who practice religions, most never change their vantage point after reaching a certain Stage, but some do. For every fundamentalist person that swears religion is about accepting the one true way to salvation through [insert religious figure’s name], there is a martial artist who swears martial arts is only a way of learning self-defense as taught by [insert Master’s name]. That’s fine. Changing or eliminating people who don’t think a certain way is never the point of Integral adaptations. Instead, the point is to allow those people to reach their full potential right where they are at, and that often requires pointing out what’s broken about the way things like religion and Martial Arts are currently viewed, i.e. with no awareness that there are these different Stages and States.

Like the case with religion, Martial Arts needs to be reframed. It needs to accommodate practitioners at all Stages in an organized fashion and with understanding of the attitudes that 1st-Tier waves have against each other. It also needs to look more closely at States and how they can be used not only in combat, but in every day life.