Category Archives: Blog

Integral Martial Arts: A deeper look at the Red Stage

Coming out of the previous Purple Stage, aka the Tribal Stage, of martial arts practice, the student begins to wonder about individual power and skill when pit against other foes. Whereas the Purple Stage focuses on a group of students and its master teacher, the Red Stage focuses on what the student can and cannot do, and how the student’s abilities relate to the wider adversarial world.

Red Stage martial arts practice is ubiquitous throughout the world in every culture and time period and naturally arises out of Purple. Those of us who lived through the 1980’s may remember a great example of a Red martial arts school from the movie The Karate Kid, the Cobra Kai.… Read more...

Expanding your “We”

Fortunately or unfortunately as it may be, I am in the process of getting a job that will take me away from regular teaching of the martial arts, and has been keeping me away from blogging here over the last month.  I have high hopes for the job which is similar in function to being a Sensei to martial arts students, but it instead involves another arena.

Having said that, I will be getting back to the dojo here and there and teaching intermittently.  This past week I had that luxury.  The class spent the last few months working on first quadrant (i.e.… Read more...

Exploration of technique

A lot of martial arts classes pick one thing or the other:  either you learn traditional punching/kicking/etc. or you learn the “modern” punching/kicking/grappling of today’s current schools.  Each of those types of schools, depending on their choices, will often decry the other choice.  I really do not see it that way.  The “pre-modern” or traditional martial arts methods are useful for some things and the modern ones are useful for learning other things.  If you just want to fight and do not care about anything else, you can stick to the modern.  If you want to be traditional and follow the letter of the style, then you can do the pre-modern stuff.  … Read more...

Integral Martial Arts: A deeper look at the Purple Stage

More research behind me…. more insights brewing…
I have been reading about the Okinawan karate masters of the mid-1800’s to the 1930’s. They include the great ones like Tode Sakugawa, Sokon Matsumora and the masters of generations after them like Yatsusune Itosu and later. These people lived in a different world than exists today, even in modern Okinawa, let alone in the rest of the world. In their time, Okinawa was an independent nation state which paid lip service to both China and Japan in order to keep afloat. Meanwhile it leveraged its geography as a central stopping point between Japanese and Chinese trade routes to enrich itself and its people.… Read more...

Integral Martial Arts: Skill level and how it relates to Stages

Lately I have had a lot of time to hunker down and do some research on Martial Arts. I am not even done yet, and I have found a lot of things that have both clarified and muddied the waters of fitting an Integral Framework onto the Martial Arts.

I will give you a good one to think about. How are skill levels and Stages related?

On the one hand, skill level represents progress and development along a Line. In the Martial Arts someone’s proficiency in their art closely resembles the kinesthetic Line, if you think of skill level as being how good a person’s form, conditioning, poise, and accuracy is.… Read more...

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