Saturday, September 18, 2010

Music and Martial Arts

The author of this great article about a Vietnamese flute and martial arts master named Trinh Nhu Quan, claims that "music and martial arts are viewed as two wildly unrelated genres".

The martial art of master Trinh Nhu Quan combines movements with feet and hands where the flute is used as the weapon. This art is known as a "flute sword". According to the author, the art was created between 1883 and 1913 by peasant insurgent leader Hoang Hoa Tham (or De Tham) as a means of self-defense against French colonialism in the Yen The area in province of Bac Giang.

So obviously, for master Quan at least, the arts of music and martial arts are closely related. And I'm in the same boat, something I have touched upon in previous posts. I would argue strongly that these arts are connected in ways more than one.

Unless someone is into the "martial" part alone, skipping over the "arts" section all together - something I see quite a few of the MMA folks doing without giving it a second of thought - then you might begin to reflect upon certain similarities:

Does music (if you take in all styles and genres of music) contain beauty as well as "brutality"? Softness and hardness? slower and quicker paces - tempo changes? Flow and rhythm? How about counter movements? Ascending and descending movements?

And how about the need for proper breathing in performing music? How about the importance of posture? Do you need constant practice in music as well as martial arts? Is there a transfer of energy involved? Can you perform music alone or with others?

Can music as well as the fighting arts invoke strong emotions such as joy, peacefulness, animosity or disgust? Of course they can! I'm not sure about you, but I find it only natural that a lot of people who are in the performing arts also tend to find at home within the martial arts.

As always, feel free to leave your comments below. Oh, and don't forget to read the article :-)

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