A recent forum thread got me thinking on the issue of martial arts and character perfection. Before now I had never really given the matter much thought other than thinking it some philosophical BS that the oriental masters promoted in order to try to dissuade and deter the “wrong” sort of person from learning martial arts.
Much has been said on these forums about ensuring that the goals and objectives of our training being clear in order to allow us to remain focused and specific i.e. if you want to train for practical combative ability and not sport and tournaments or aesthetic ritualised cultural study then our training should reflect this. See Iain’s Martial Map podcast.
Martial artists often cite one of the reasons, benefits or by-products of training in the martial arts as being the perfection of character. This begs the questions, what are the qualities that make the perfect character that we supposedly strive to attain? Are these certain defined or prescribed qualities that we all are supposed to attain and perfect or are we to simply try and enhance our already existing positive qualities while working to overcome and rid ourselves of our more negative characteristics.