As a new student, one quickly realizes that there are various different cultures within the martial arts community. Some schools have a very sport-oriented culture. Some are almost preservers of history. Most are in between. Martial arts taught in America are generally accepted to be trans-pacific; in other words, we understand that we are westerners that have a certain way of teaching, learning and living that may be different from 16th century Japan for example; however, there are also aspects the older culture that we still keep as tradition.
by Dave Lowry
The Ways lead us to the very center of humanity and Nature itself, through the process of transcending both. That is because the Ways are transcendental and at the same time immanent by nature, neither platonic nor merely material, but they are the ways of creative action for building up a world of culture of their own. The actual creation of a world of culture is what constitutes the real value of the existence of humanity and nature. It is their raison d'Ítre. Thus, humanity and Nature have been discovered and rediscovered, created and recreated, again and again by masters who have an infinite love for these two and a death-defying desire to put their love into practical form. The culture we enjoy here on this plane is nothing but the image of the transcendental world which the masters reveal through their creative action. Each step of the Way leads us nearer to the summit and opens up new perspectives of the lower planes. The steps of the Way are the result of undaunted efforts of masters who are able to catch eternity in a moment and the universe in a small spot through their creation. The higher we rise on those steps of the Way of cultural creation, the higher the world also rises with us.
About the AuthorDave Lowry is a writer and historian specializing in Japan and traditional Japanese culture. He has been a student of the modern and classical martial disciplines of Japan since 1968 - including karate, aikido, the bo and kenjitsu. His columns have appeared for years in a variety of martial arts magazines and he is also an accomplished calligrapher. His books include "Sword and Brush - The Spirit of the Martial Arts" and "Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai".