More on Satsujinken: What’s Wrong with It?

On a certain level, nothing. Skill acquisition is something we as humans do automatically and value highly. Skill is useful and martial skill is no exception. In a world of conflict and bad actors, being able to fight back is a positive urge. This is what I call the “pacifism is fine, but what about the Nazis?” argument. Someone has to defend the weak and stand up for what’s right.

 

But note that this line of thought takes directly into the realm of Katsujinken, the Sword that Gives Life.

 

The human attraction to skill is important. It’s both a practical and esthetic thing-it not only helps with survival but it’s also the basis for our enjoyment of all performing arts from sports to music.

 

So the development of martial skill is important in practical ways, in ways that connect to our individual physical and mental development, as well as in ways that relate to the forging of community through performance and the shared appreciation that it creates.

 

So what’s wrong with this? Nothing.

 

Except that it’s not enough.

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