Thursday, May 27, 2010
Is Western Boxing An "Art"?
The last post on the influence of Western boxing on Asian martial arts brought these responses:
big fan of the blog, but i humbly disagree that western boxing lacks philosophy. "fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee" may be one of the most zen lines about combat i know. i would be interested if there are other boxing quotes which exemplify universal aspects of martial arts
Pu En Fu, Hu Xi Lin's Shuai Chiao coach, studied with professional boxers that were part of an Italian delegation that came over in the 40's or 50's to Beijing. Pu Laoshi stated many a time how good their boxing was, how tough they were, and he became a student and studied boxing with them. Combined with his already legendary throwing skills this made him a often sought out trainer!
As for boxing not being an "art." You have not been exposed to good solid boxing then mi amigo. I look at what influence Cus D'Amato(?) had on Tyson, and what could have been if he had lived longer. He took a punk idiot and made him somebody with hardwork ethic and discipline. That in itself is an art form!
Samuel and Jake;
I guess I've gone over and over this before, but I consider boxing and wrestling (and the misnamed "mixed martial arts") combat sports. Don't get me wrong, I have a great appreciation for both and have practiced both. I wrestled in High school for four years.
There is technique, self-improvement, conditioning and self-defense in boxing and wrestling.
But there is NO underlying philosophy such as Zen aspects in Japanese arts, Taoist or Buddhist aspects in Chinese arts, calligraphy as practiced by martial masters, etc.
There is also no aspect of health improvement (other than raw conditioning) such as Chi development or meditation. In fact, boxing can even damage our bodies (My friend Brian boxed with some pros and loved it. He had to quit because he developed skull fractures in his cheekbone) and wrestlers have even died trying to make weight classes.
Now, I suppose all those arts can be practiced without any thought to those underlying philosophies. Then I would consider them combat skills like boxing and wrestling.
Combined with philosophy, they become an art.
-Just my opinion.
Let the shitstorm begin...