I was once asked by a student to come up with the "best" reason to learn a traditional fighting art. I thought about that... Not only was that a thoughtful and insightful question, it is THE question. I mean, if one looks at life as a limited amount of time, we can spend that time doing a wide variety of activities... so why martial arts? The merits of various schools of thought aside, I believe that the answer to that question is this: The reason to study a traditional fighting art is to understand the profound nature of the word "NO".
When one says the word "NO" they are exercising a force of will. "NO" == "I WILL NOT". It is probably the only form of "free will" that we actually have. It is a sincere and articulated way of saying "You will not force your will upon me; I will chose my own path".
There is not enough room on the internet to articulate all of the nuances of that idea, much less this blog. But at its core, traditional fighting arts have been the basis for freedom and confidence for thousands of years. For the time that a man first picked up a stick and started swinging it around and learned to strike predators and enemies, various forms of combat arts have flourished and died, over thousands of years. Every civilization has developed a fighting system. All for the purpose of freedom and security.
Each generation must re-invent what that looks like, but that ultimate truth is constant: The purpose of traditional fighting arts is to provide a way for a weaker or outnumbered individual to exercise their free will; To use the word "NO" and enforce it.
I believe that reason is the ONLY reason to study a traditional fighting art.
~ Shihan Jakle