1. Zen in the martial arts
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ZEN IN THE MARTIAL ARTS BY JOE HYAMS Photographs by Kenneth McGowan & Doug CoderA Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam Book publis. "A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action."-- Samurai Maximum. Under the guidance of such celebrated masters as. Book Details Author: Joe Hyams Pages: Binding: Mass Market Paperback Brand: ISBN: Download or read Zen in the Martial Arts by click link below Download or read Zen in the Martial Arts OR. Epub Download The China Study Revised and Expanded Edition The Most.

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Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams, , J. P. Tarcher, distributed by St. Martin's Press edition, in English. Zen and the Martial Arts, which I gave 12 years ago in Nevada. Of course, we have the counterpart of some of those entertaining martial arts movies that use. Editorial Reviews. Review. "If one of your goals is to live with maximum zest and minimum stress, read Zen In The Martial Arts. The great beauty of the book is.

Joe Hyams. And to my wife, Elke, who has never entirely understood my absorption with the arts but, nevertheless, has always been encouraging. A Jeremy P. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. But I would be remiss if I did not give special thanks to the following: George Waite, for his advice, special training, and friendship; Bob Phillips, who, although not a martial artist, has the spirit, fighting ability, and good sportsmanship typical of all professional athletes; Bernie Bernheim, who, starting to study karate at the age of fifty-seven and becoming a black belt at sixty-one, is an inspiration for all who believe martial arts are only for the physically young; Emile Farkas, for his advice and comments on the text; Stan Schmidt of Johannesburg, who in the heart of South Africa runs a traditional dojo which has produced many world champions; and Larry Tatum, who has graciously allowed me to train from time to time with his classes at Ed Parker's dojo in Santa Monica, California. This is an unfortunate oversight since the martial arts in their finest form are much more than a physical contest between two opponents — a means of imposing one's will or inflicting damage upon another. Rather, for the true master, karate, kung-fu, aikido, wing-chun, and all the other martial arts are essentially avenues through which they can achieve spiritual serenity, mental tranquility, and the deepest self-confidence.

Such concepts as consciousness raising, taking control of one's life, and heightened self awareness were as yet unheard of. Only recently have we come to understand the relationship between sports and personal or spiritual growth.

When Kaper arranged for my first lesson with karate master Ed Parker, I accepted with the thought that even if I learned nothing I would still gather enough material for several newspaper columns since a handful of stars, including Elvis Presley, were then studying with Parker. In those days Parker was teaching kenpo-karate, an American form of Chinese boxing, in the weight room of a Beverly Hills health club. At our first meeting he told me, "I am not going to show you my art.

I am going to share it with you. If I show it to you it becomes an exhibition, and in time it will be pushed so far into the back of your mind that it will be lost. But by sharing it with you, you will not only retain it forever, but I, too, will improve. For this reason perhaps the practice hall — do jo Japanese , dojang Korean , kwoon Chinese — where martial arts is studied is traditionally called "The Place of Enlightenment.

It is an arena of confined conflict where we confront an opponent who is not an opponent but rather a partner engaged in helping us understand ourselves more fully. It is a place where we can learn a great deal in a short time about who we are and how we react in the world.

Zen in the martial arts

The conflicts that take place inside the dojo help us handle conflicts that take place outside. The total concentration and discipline required to study martial arts carries over to daily life.

The activity in the dojo calls on us to constantly attempt new things, so it is also a source of learning — in Zen terminology, a source of self-enlightenment. There is a Buddhist saying that anyplace can be a dojo. I have studied shodokan karate in a beautiful modern building in Johannesburg, South Africa; judo in the back room of a Japanese restaurant in London, England; jujitsu in a sport hall in Munich, Germany.

But most of my study in hapkido, aikido, tae-kwon-do and wing-chun has been in Los Angeles where stores are frequently converted into martial arts studios.

Bruce Lee taught jeet-kune-do to screenwriter Stirling Silliphant and me in the driveway of my home. Each dojo is presided over by a sifu, or sensei Japanese , meaning "master. This refers less to chronological age some of my teachers have been young enough to be my children than to the teacher's wisdom: In spiritual terms he or she is my elder, and thus my teacher. The martial arts sensei is very much like the Zen master; he has not sought out the student, nor does he prevent him from leaving.

If the student wants guidance in climbing the steep path to expertise, the instructor is willing to act as guide — on the condition that the student be prepared to take care of himself along the way.

The instructor's function is to delegate to the student exactly those tasks which he is capable of mastering, and then to leave him as much as possible to himself and his inner abilities.

The student may follow in the footsteps of his guide or choose an alternate path — the choice is his. The instructor first teaches technique waza without discussing its significance; he simply waits for the student to discover this for himself.

If the student has the necessary dedication, and the teacher provides the proper spiritual inspiration, then the meaning and essence of the martial arts will finally reveal themselves to him. Although one can read about the Zen in the martial arts, true knowledge of it is experiential.

PDF Zen in the Martial Arts Ebook

How do we explain the taste of sugar? Verbal descriptions do not give us the sensation. To know the taste, one must experience it. The philosophy of the arts is not meant to be mused over and intellectualized; it is meant to be experienced.

Thus, inevitably, words will convey only part of the meaning. In more than twenty years of studying the martial arts I have not retired to a Zen monastery nor retreated from the pressures of working and living in a competitive society. But I have found that when I attain the spiritual goals of the martial arts, the quality of my life has been dramatically altered — enriching my relationships with people, as well as keeping me in closer touch with myself.

I have come to see that enlightenment simply means recognizing the inherent harmony of ordinary life. I put this book forward to you, then, in the spirit of sharing what I have learned, and in the hope that some may wish to travel a similar path.

Perhaps by sharing my experiences I will also learn more, because that, too, is the way of Zen. A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action. The air conditioning was malfunctioning and the crowd at the International Karate Tourna-it was getting restless after watching hours of matches. Then Ed Parker, sponsor of the annual event, took the microphone and introduced Bruce Lee, who was to put on a demonstration of jeetkune-do. Before his movie career began Bruce Lee was already a legend among martial artists.

Bruce walked onto the elevated boxing ring wearing a simple, tailor-made kung-fu uniform. He spoke quietly for a few moments about his art and then began the demonstration. It is always impressive to watch a large, muscular man perform karate, overwhelming the observer with a display of sheer, vibrant power. But to at is even more impressive to see a slightly built man executing techniques with blinding speed, his motions as quick and elegant as those of a bird in flight.

When Bruce finished there was a moment of silence and then shattering applause. Some weeks later a friend arranged for me to meet Bruce, from whom I hoped to take private lessons. Bruce was highly selective about the students he chose to teach, and this meeting was to be a kind of audition for me. Since he gave only private lessons and had no formal studio, the meeting was at my home.

He arrived promptly and I went out into the front yard to meet him. At first glance he appeared even smaller than he looked on stage. He was wearing snug-fitting, full-length athletic pants and a green tank top shirt that revealed rippling muscles. He was smiling when we shook hands, but he quickly got to the point.

We went out to my driveway and he watched intently as I went through the various katas, or exercises, from other disciplines. Then he asked me to execute some basic kicks, blocks, and punches on a bag hanging from a rafter of the garage. Bruce smiled and placed his hand lightly on my shoulder.

The master listened patiently and finally suggested they have tea. The master poured his visitor's cup full and then kept on pouring. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup? In fact, he welcomed discussion, even argument. But when challenged too long on a point his reply was always, "At least empty your cup and try. As a youth in Hong Kong he had studied wing-chun, a branch of kung-fu, under the celebrated master, Yip Man.

When he came to America as a teenager he observed Ed Parker's kenpo-karate, taking from it many hand techniques that appealed to him. From tae-kwon-do he borrowed the devastating kicks that make the Korean style so formidable. He also studied other styles of martial arts, taking from all of them whatever he thought useful. Although considered one of the best martial artists of his time, he was always learning, always in a constant process of change and improvement. He truly kept his cup empty.

Bruce had not only developed his physical abilities to a point of perfection, he had also honed his mind with the study of Zen. His den in Los Angeles was stacked ceiling-high with worn volumes of the Zen masters written in Chinese and in English. It has been more than a decade since my first lesson with Bruce, and I am now in my mid-fifties. With half a century of life experience behind me, I sometimes get impatient with a new idea or technique.

But when I feel impatient or act dogmatically self-assured, I remind myself of the lesson Bruce taught me, and I try to empty my cup to make room for new methods and ideas. That was my first real lesson in Zen in the martial arts and its application to life — although at the time I didn't recognize it as Zen.

It was merely good sense — which is what Zen really is. Nothing is impossible to the willing mind. There is quiet authority in everything he says and does.

No movement or word is superfluous. He is the traditional martial artist who learned hapkido from his master in Korea who, in turn, learned it from a master who had been taught by a long, continuous line of other masters. A session with Master Han is not just a workout, it is also a lesson in life.

I always feel enriched after leaving his dojang. I was fifty years old when I started the study of hapkido with Master Han. From the beginning the learning process was slow and often difficult for me because hapkido requires an extremely limber body. My body had stiffened with age and I had back problems that threw me off balance and made every kick above waist level painful.

My learning was further complicated by the presence of much younger men who were able to do easily that which required tremendous effort and concentration on my part. There were many times when I considered quitting, a fact Master Han recognized.

One afternoon following a workout, Master Han invited me to have tea with him. After he had served the tea, he began, "You will never learn to do any endeavor properly unless you are willing to give yourself time.

I think you are accustomed to having everything come easily to you, but this is not the way of life or of the martial arts. To give yourself time is to actively work toward a goal without setting a limit on how long you will work.

I had given myself a set amount of time to become reasonably proficient in his style, and I was frustrating myself because I didn't seem to be achieving the goal quickly enough. When I eliminated the deadline from my mind it was like removing a weight from my body. Within a few months I was able to perform with the rest of the class. Equally important, I used Master Han's advice to resolve an immediate problem. I was working on a book at that time, and the writing was going slowly.

That frustrated me because I had agreed to start another project in short order and it was weighing on my mind. Now I could see that my focus was wrong. I was doing the same thing I had done with hapkido. I should have been concerned with the process of working on the book rather than on its completion. Once I removed the time constraint from my mind and approached the book without an arbitrary limit, I was able to dedicate myself to the writing and work without anxiety.

For the uncontrolled there is no wisdom, nor for the uncontrolled is there the power of concentration; and for him without concentration there is no peace. And for the unpeaceful, how can there be happiness? I admitted that in truth my mind was elsewhere; I had barely managed to sandwich in my lesson between appointments. Master Han bowed to me, signifying the lesson was ended. After I had dressed and was on my way out of the dojang, I found him at the doorway waiting for me.

Zen teaches that life must be seized at the moment. By living in the present you are in full contact with yourself and your environment, your energy is not dissipated and is always available.

In the present there are no regrets as there are in the past. By thinking of the future, you dilute the present. The time to live is now. One of the major reasons I like martial arts is that it demands total concentration. For a few hours each week I can block out all the problems and pressures of my daily life. The speed with which a martial arts practice session or bout takes place allows no break between "points" or time for reflection. But on that day I had allowed myself to be distracted.

My thoughts were split between the meeting I had just concluded and the one that was about to take place. My mind had not been on the activity of the moment. I realized how often while working I allowed my mind to wander thus, dissipating both energy and concentration. I resolved that I would train myself not to let that happen. I would give each activity my fullest concentration.

When I returned to my office, I wrote on a small filing card, "Seize life at the moment," and thumbtacked it over my desk. The card is still tacked above my desk, and I reread it each time I' find myself distracted.

Since that day I have continually reminded-myself to focus on the moment, rather than allowing my mind to wander to past or future.

Zen in the martial arts

Patience, the essential quality of a man. Knowing he had been eagerly anticipating the letter, I paused in our conversation, expecting him to tear open the envelope and hastily scan the contents. Instead, he put the letter aside, turned to me, and continued our conversation.

The following day I remarked on his self-control, saying that I would have read the letter at once. Then when I set my hand to it, I opened it as though it were something precious. Finally I said I didn't understand what such patience led to.

I seized on this opportunity to tell him that I was discouraged. At forty-five, I felt I was too old and my body too stiff to achieve any real ability in jeet-kune-do. Everyone has physical limitations to overcome. I became a martial artist in spite of my limitations. In my view, Bruce was a perfect physical specimen and I said so. That fact dictated the best stance for me — my left foot leading. Then I found that because the right leg was shorter, I had an advantage with certain types of kicks, since the uneven stomp gave me greater impetus.

Since childhood I have been nearsighted, which meant that when I wasn't wearing glasses, I had difficulty seeing an opponent when he wasn't up close. I originally started to study wing-chun because it is an ideal technique for close-in fighting. And that's what you must learn to do. You say you are unable to kick over your head without a long warm-up, but the real question is, is it really necessary to kick that high?

The fact is that until recently, martial artists rarely kicked above knee height. Head-high kicks are mostly for show.

So perfect your kicks at waist level and they will be so formidable you'll never need to kick higher. Although most expert martial artists have spent years mastering hundreds of techniques and movements, in a bout, or kumite, a champion may actually use only four or five techniques over and over again.

These are the techniques which he has perfected and which he knows he can depend on. You must learn to live in the present and accept yourself for what you are now. What you lack in flexibility and agility you must make up with knowledge and constant practice. Then one day late in , he came by my house to say goodbye before leaving for Hong Kong where, he said, he intended to become the biggest star in films.

But I have spent the last three years studying movies, and I think the time is ripe for a good martial arts film — and I am the best qualified to star in it. My capabilities exceed my limitations.

His career was a perfect illustration of his teaching: As we discover and improve our strong points, they come to outweigh our weaknesses. Power of mind is infinite while brawn is limited. With the passage of time the belt becomes soiled from handling and use, so the second stage of learning is signified by a brown belt. As more time passes the belt becomes darker until it is black — the black belt stage.

With even more use the black belt becomes frayed, almost white, signifying that the wearer is returning again to innocence — a Zen characteristic of human perfection. Many martial arts systems have various colors of belts between white and brown as well as degrees of brown and black, a constant reminder to the student that there is more to learn beyond whatever proficiency he or she may already have.

This awareness extends even to the masters, each of whom had a master before him. This endless circle of student and master gives both the teacher and the taught the feeling of being part of a continuum of learning. My own learning experience in the martial arts has always been like a staircase with countless landings. With each step upward the goal — spiritual and physical unification of mind and body — seems nearer.

But there are always landings, or plateaus, at which learning seems to stop and the staircase winds infinitely upward. At such times I have often felt frustrated and discouraged. I have mentioned this experience to martial-arts friends, and each admits that he, too, reaches such a plateau from time to time. The experience is common to us all. George Waite, my good friend and mentor, recalled his brown belt days in karate and how discouraged he became when he saw someone far better than he, although he considered himself good.

I saw that, compared with them, I was good. But then I'd watch the black belts and become inspired all over again, seeing how much better it was possible to become. When I finally became a black belt I realized that I really knew nothing compared with my sifu, and I was discouraged until he told me how great was his master.

Only by constantly exposing myself to someone better than I have I been able to improve. It is inspiring to know that even the masters have; masters, and that we are all learners. King Huan of Chou heard of Po Kung-i, who was reputed to be the strongest man in his kingdom. The King was dismayed when they met, since Po looked so weak. When the King asked Po how strong he was, Po said mildly, "I can break the leg of a spring grasshopper and withstand the winds of an autumn cicada.

How can you be famous? A handsome, six-foot-tall Hawaiian with a thick thatch of black hair, Parker reminded me of a huge tree, with arms like powerful boughs and bare feet rooted firmly on the canvas mat. Despite his size, he is a whirlwind in motion. He was wearing an old, loosefitting gi, a two-piece cotton uniform worn by most martial artists. The gi, like his black belt, was white in places from fraying and repeated launder-ings.

His face was serene and peaceful, as though he had just completed meditating. I well remember one of my initial sessions at his dojo in Los Angeles where I was practicing kumite sparring with a more skillful opponent. To make up for my lack of knowledge and experience, I tried deceptive, tricky moves that were readily countered.

I was outclassed, and Parker watched me get roundly trounced. When the match was over I was dejected. Parker invited me into his office, a small, sparsely furnished room with only a scarred desk and battered chairs. I studied the line and gave him several answers, including cutting the line in many pieces. He shook his head and drew a second line, longer than the first. Parker nodded. The next time I went on the mat with the same opponent he, too, had improved. But I fared far better than I had previously because I had raised my level of knowledge as well as developing my skills.

Not long after, I realized I could apply the principle Parker had taught me to my tennis game. An avid weekend tennis player, I frequently found myself pitted against better players, and when things started to go badly for me on the court I often resorted to trickery—slicing the ball, trying to hit it with a spin, attempting difficult drop shots.

Invariably I lost and was frustrated. Instead of trying to better my game I was trying to "cut their line.

Keeping Parker's advice in mind, my game improved. It has been nearly three decades since then, and in the intervening years Parker has taught his art to thousands of students.

Even long after their training they think of him as a good friendand as a wise and gentle sifu who embodies the martial arts' spirit and philosophy. Often, after lessons, the three of us would retire to my backyard and, over a glass of fruit juice, sit and talk. These few moments were precious to me because, invariably, I gained an insight into one or both of my friends. On one such occasion, we talked about the difference between wasting time and spending time.

Bruce was the first to speak. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever. Anyone who steals my time is stealing my life because they are taking my existence from me. As I get older, I realize that time is the only thing I have left.

So when someone comes to me with a project, I estimate the time it will take me to do it and then I ask myself, 'Do I want to spend weeks or months of what little time I have on this project? Is it worth it or am I just wasting my time? I will not permit people to steal my time. I have limited my friends to those people with whom time passes happily. There are moments in my life— necessary moments—when I don't do anything but what is my choice. The choice of how I spend my time is mine, and it is not dictated by social convention.

When he finally spoke, it was to ask if he could make a telephone call. When he came back, Bruce was smiling. I realized for the first time how much time I had I been wasting with certain people. I never before considered that they were taking my existence from me, but they were. Because I am a writer and my office is in my house, they assumed I was available for talk or advice on any subject. But after that conversation with Stirling and Bruce, I realized that instead of spending time with them I had been wasting it.

I bought a large "Do Not Disturb" sign that I hung outside my office door and I installed a telephone-answering machine. To my surprise, my work output almost doubled. I had taken a step toward controlling my use of time. Life unfolds on a great sheet called Time, and once finished it is gone forever. Bronny is courtly, elegant, and a gentleman in the European style. Born in Poland and educated in Warsaw and Berlin, he was a junior sabre champion by the age of eighteen and is still considered one of the best sabre-men on the West Coast, even though he is now in his late sixties.

One day I telephoned him to see whether he was available for lunch. This concept of doing nothing, which has nothing to do with just not doing something, is also an activity and an exercise. A pause is not lack of music, it is an integral part of the composition. If a conductor does not hold a pause to its full value, it is like cutting into the flesh. As Claude Debussy has said, 'Music is the space between the notes. Bruce laughed and said, "He's right, you know. That pause if the middle of action is one of my secrets, too.

Many martial artist attack with the force of a storm without observing the effect of their attack on their opponent. When I attack, I always try to pause—stop' action—to study my opponent and his reactions before going into action again.

I include pause and silence along with activity, thus allowing myself time to sense my own internal processes as well as my opponent's. Most martial artists use a set pattern of techniques repeatedly. But Bruce was never locked into a routine. He was, in a sense constantly conducting an environmental impact report on his own activity—pausing to assess, adjust, and correct according to the demands of the situation.

Forrest E. Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

Bruce Lee. The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman. Takuan Soho. Mental Training in Traditional Martial Arts. Jimmy Lockett. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice. Shunryu Suzuki. The Book of Five Rings. Miyamoto Musashi. From the Paperback edition. See all Editorial Reviews. Product details File Size: Not Enabled. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Share your thoughts with other customers.

Zen in the Martial Arts

Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention martial arts bruce lee joe hyams martial artist years ago easy to read zen in the martial great book black belt must read empty your cup required reading highly recommend lessons learned thought provoking name dropping everyday life something new inner strength arts training. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Kindle Edition Verified download. Also, at least in the Kindle version, there are pictures that seem to have nothing to do with the narrative. However, the lessons of Zen are helpful. I will try to implement them in my life. This is not a how-to book. But with a series of anecdotes, the author captures precisely the reason why I started practicing martial arts - a spiritual and philosophical basis for everything; a way of life, if you will.

Mind you, this was written about 40 years ago. It was really nice to get an inside peek into training experiences with martial arts legend I read about when I was a kid - Bruce Lee, Ed Parker, etc. Mass Market Paperback Verified download. I picked up this book back in the 80's during my College days When I was searching for my "own way" in the Martial Arts. I got to a point where all the physical stuff I learnt was starting to look alike and many practitioners were boasting that they studied the superior or pure style.

Zen reminds one that there are no superior styles, only superior Fighters. I was also at an age where I became interested in taking my Martial Arts lessons and applying them to life. Again Zen reminds one that everything you learn in life can be applied to life. In the beginning, I don't think it really matters where you get your Zen lessons from, as long as you get them. As for people who criticize Joe Hyams style of writing the book Well, they just don't get it.

If all you can find wrong with the book is the so-called name dropping then you've missed the point completely. Most history books and older text are full of so-called name dropping. What has that got to do with getting your lesson from the book?

Right, nothing. You read and learn from the experiences and events. Besides, Joe was simply privileged to have trained with this line-up of Teachers.

What was he supposed to do, write a book on Zen and not include those who inspired him to write the book in the first place? That said, if you want a starter book on Zen via the Martial Arts, American style, pick up this one. This book was game changer on my view of life when I was in my 20's. I had a 15 or 16 year gap when I lost the book in a move.

There was no site in those days to replace it. So here we are at 40 and the lessons in this book has been the creed in which I make my choices in life by.

I bought multiple copies of this book for friends that are down on their luck and hope it transforms their view as it did mine. Everybody should read this book and read a chapter a day if you can. Read it from start to finish and then start over again and continue in this fashion until you don't need to anymore. Put it away and visit it when you need sound advice again at another crossroad in your life. Zen in the Martial Arts is one of the top quintessential books on martial arts ever written.

Simple yet profoundly deep, this book is less than pages and some of the chapters are only 1 page in length. Although this book was written by a Caucasian man, it does not mean that this book is lacking in quality or first-hand knowledge of the martial arts. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The author, Joe Hyams, is proficient in 8 different martial arts and was trained by the legend Bruce Lee.

If you're serious about becoming a "true martial artist" and claim to be able to defeat any opponent, you must humble yourself and read this book. Otherwise, you are not a martial artist. I have been studying and practicing Martial Arts for the past 11 years, the book contains not only lessons for the martial artists, but also lessons for, ultimately, our lives.

The book is an easy read, with each chapter even though short, but they are powerful and direct. Here are my notes from each chapter which everyone should try to apply in the lives: Empty Your Cup: Like a cup of coffee being overflowed, we are all overflowed with opinions and habits. In order to take on new knowledge and experiences, we first need to empty our cups, and consider what's hold to be true. Submit Search. Successfully reported this slideshow.

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