"Common Sense", where is it's origin within the arts?

Patriotic Ribbon
Patriotic Ribbon

July 2002

Volume 4 Issue 7

Aibudo Kanji

"Common Sense"


The American Heritage Dictionary

* Native good judgment

* Sound ordinary sense

"Common Sense"

tells you that this is not what you want as a result, right?

     Bruce Lee, is one of the very few well known individuals who knew there were tremendous flaws in the arts and without question, went forward  to improve his chosen direction.  He was ridiculed and even challenged, so as to hopefully prevent him from drifting from the "way it is".  The common sense of the martial artist of the "way it is" group, is a common sense of failure.

     There is a saying that many people quote that is not always true, and that is:  "Those who can, can, and those who can't teach".  Well, to develop an effective common sense, you have to have the ability to do and have the ability to pass on what your common sense has proven to be effective.  There are many instructors who are able to perform very effectively in the combat arena of the arts but are not able to decipher and pass on this information to others.  The common sense necessary to instruct others in their effectiveness seems to be missing somewhere.  The only proof in the common sense effectiveness of a system is the "proof in the pudding".  If a system is "butted" up against another system and continually comes out on top, common sense will be proven to be part of the curriculum. Now if a new instructor, comes in from another system, and without the masters knowledge, begins instructing in the ways outside the proven "common sense", the system will begin to fail and will eventually loose it's identity.  If proven "common sense" physical and/or mental entity's are set aside to develop other personal, "maybe this will work" strategies or philosophies, it won't be long before the proven is lost and the "trials" will pull you down.  There is nothing wrong with the "trials" along the way, but never abandon the proven.  "Common Sense" should teach us this!!!  And the only way to test the "trials" is within the secret mind of the individual and not entered in to the training of the populous.  If the populous is brought in to your trials, they might possibly become a "cancer" in their mind that might take years to eradicate.  In the mean time, their life may have become dependent upon a failure that someone has ingrained in their mind, for a personal desire that went bad.

     As a new practitioner in the arts there are many techniques, strategies and philosophies, that don't appear to work very well, but when witnessing a master, they look flawless.  Does common sense tell you that what you are learning is junk and should be ignored, once the training regimen has passed.  Well, I hope not.  Just put those entity's in your martial arts "tool box" for use later.  You will find as time goes by, those movements or strategies that seemed to be elusive in the beginning, will now work with ease and effectiveness.  If that's the case, then what was wrong with your common sense back then.  The problem was, that you had not developed a history for the common sense to be truthful and therefore effective.  Common sense with the untrained and unproven is worthless and should be ignored, at least for the present.  Develop a "track record" before you condemn something that you know nothing about.  Common sense is priceless when it is built upon failure and resulting success.  There are many martial arts systems, that have failed consistently but the pride of the founders or instructors is such that they will not allow "common sense" to interdict and develop corrections.  This is even to be said of some of the newer eclectic systems.  You would think that being eclectic, it should have come from failures and resulting successes, but in many cases, many of the eclectic systems come about because of the breakup of existing systems and an individual or individuals just want to split and go their own way.  The problem is, that this journey is most generally bound for failure and will evaporate in the background history of the arts, never to be of again.  That is a journey where common sense was left out of the equation and the wrong answer just kept coming up with no hope of finding it.  Most generally uncontrollable pride or the unwillingness to follow someone else's successes are the cause and that's sad, because if that individual had just been able to use an effective and developed "common sense", they would have become a winner of high accord, and as a result been highly respected the rest of their life on this earth.

"Common Sense"

in the Martial Arts

     Not "beating around the bush", let's get right to it.  Effective common sense with in the arts comes from experience.  If you have little to no experience within an entity, you will not have any history to draw from, to be able to say that "common sense tells me that this is not the thing to do".  If you have gone through the "failures", you will have developed some "common sense" that tells you what possibly might work in more of a positive fashion.  Once a defense that works effectively from the void is proven, it would be foolhardy to attempt a change, but that is exactly what many individuals try to do.  Once you find out as a child, that walking on water with your bare feet is impossible, common sense tells you not to attempt it again.  But there will be some that have a hard time at learning and have to experience an extreme negative to "drive it home".  The same is to be said of practitioners within the martial arts.  Would you place your life on instruction coming from the common sense developed within a 4 year martial artist or of a master of twenty years?  Well here is where the "rub" comes in.  What if the 4 year martial artist has not depended on techniques which do not now or ever have been effective in the past, but has developed tried and proven techniques of their own which have never failed.  And, the master martial artist is still using the one, two, three, four, five regimented "this is the way it has always been and that's the way it is going to be" training techniques.  Whose hands would you rather place you life in.  There again if the 4 year martial artist' common sense is such that they are unwilling to change even though they find a weakness in what they have been doing, there "common sense" is not!  They may have had the common sense not to follow techniques that hadn't worked through their 4 years, but not the common sense to change a technique they have worked out, when it is proven to be flawed.  You have to be able to admit there might be a flaw in your "plan" and let common sense fix it, if that be the case.