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Word Count: 921
Martial Arts Mysticism An Extended Definition of What the Martial Arts Are and Are Not The term martial art is used in Western society to describe a wide variety of Asian combative systems and sports The word martial in martial arts is derived from the name of the ancient Roman god of war Mars The Asian martial arts are grounded in a rich heritage of blood and honor and they have a great deal to offer serious students Unfortunately in most modern schools that heritage has been lost Sadly most Western martial artists know little about what is and is not martial arts The majority of Westerners envision Buddhist Monks hurling themselves through the air and executing any number of techniques before hitting the ground Some think that anyone who practices martial arts can break a stack of concrete slabs in one simple blow While there are many martial artists that can accomplish these feats it takes years of practice and training before any of these can be done Simply enrolling in a martial arts school or program isnt going to turn a person into the next Bruce Lee overnight It takes years of practice and study in a particular discipline before one is even able to truly begin to understand the style which the she is studying let alone master it Sport applications of combative systems such as competitive taekwondo karate-do and judo are not martial arts Putting a combative system in the competition arena requires a barrage of rules to be placed on it restricting its maneuvers and modifying its application Over time as players are trained in how to work within the rules to best win the game the system evolves to fit those rules What is effective in the competitive environment is often worthless in the no-holds-barred world of actual combat and what is effective in combat being illegal in sport gradually fades from the training and is lost to
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