Welcome to The Palace Guard, the tai chi chuan and martial arts blog for intelligent martial practitioners. As the blog develops, I hope to feature other writers with a fresh take on the martial arts and related subjects. For now, I hope you enjoy my posts: feel free to leave comments, or email me at the address available on the profile.

Wednesday 31 August 2011

The Yeovil Ninja

I just don't know what to make of this...

Monday 15 August 2011

The Riots

There will be, over the coming months, myriad theories about why the riots occurred. None of them will capture the whole truth of the matter.
Often in such times of largely youthful unrest, "boredom" is invoked as a contributing factor. In this context,"boredom" to me means "not being able to cope with the plateau experience that constitutes much of existence." No-one has taught these youths how to be bored, or even that boredom can be positive. I am thinking of course of martial arts training, where there are long, long periods of "plateau" on the route to mastery. Attention spans get shorter, as aspirations become shallower and more "sensational". These bored kids want to feel something, but their consumption of passive, sensational and multimedia products has utterly dulled their ability to slow down and feel the sensations of life, let alone appreciate those sensations. This is the route to a deep and gnawing dissatisfaction, which of course dovetails insidiously with the aims of a  rabidly consumerist culture. As Blaise Pascal put it: “All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
The martial arts provide a non-materialistic, non-technology approach to enjoyment and fulfilment. They offer a wonderful outlet for the frustrations and energies of young people. If taught well, they can allow the practitioner to hone his or her senses so that all the small, everyday rhythms and textures of bodily life can be appreciated. Most of all, they can put people "back in to their bodies", people who perhaps have been subject to far to much visual-cortical stimulation and not enough real feeling.
I realise however that to enjoy one's life and the sensations therein, it also helps if you have some sort of economic hope for yourself, and that is difficult to see the value in your life when you are angry,  disillusioned, and feel unheard. As I said at the beginning, there's no one simple way to grasp all this.