Friday, July 27, 2007

Warrior as martial genius

Howard Gardner, in his Multiple Intelligences research, proposed that intelligence is a multifaceted wonder. In Gardner's model, it is possible to be intelligent in some domains but not some others. The domains of intelligence identified by Gardner and some of his successors include:
  • Linguistic
  • Logical-mathematical
  • Spatial
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic
  • Musical
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalist
So, how did Gardner come up with these areas as potential domains of intelligence? He had three criteria:
  • There has to be a particular representation, or structure in the brain for that ability. This could be demonstrated by observing the effects of stroke on ability. For instance, a stroke may destroy kinesthetic sensitivity, so kinesthetic ability must have a physical structure in the brain.
  • There have to be populations that are naturally good or bad at that domain. For instance, each of the above domains has to potential to be expressed anywhere from genius to total incomprehension in a given person.
  • The domain has to have had a plausible evolutionary or selection value. It is not too much of a stretch to figure out how each of the above domains might have created survivability in a genius of that domain.
What I'd like is some discussion on is the potential for martial skill to be considered a domain of intelligence. It obviously fits the third criteria above, but on the other two I'd have to say I'm not sure.
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So, is martial ability a form of intelligence or is it more of a combination of the above domains of intelligence or is it an altogether different thing?
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If martial intelligence exists, then might you say that a martial genius is a warrior?

3 comments:

  1. Karate-do is not a form of intelligence in the sense that you can measure it like you would with an intelligence test.

    Karate-do is like the tao. It is not something you can readily describe in its purest form yet it has substance.

    It is measured by the individual as that individual sees within themselves.

    It is something that one feels and works at with no particular level or measure other than what the practitioner sees in that particular moment of practice.

    Intelligence would mean how much and how well one practices while real karate-do measures the self regardless of quantity.

    Just because one knows a hundred kata, has won a lot of trophies, has a large commercial school with thousands of students does not equate to either intelligence or mastery.

    To come full circle in karate-do means to have mastered yourself. That quality of mastery that allows one to be a "peaceful warrior" which has everything and nothing to do with the physical aspect of karate-do.

    The physical and technical aspects help us to find the path and to travel it while growing from within.

    Satori, mushin, zanshin are all those things that help us transcend the self, the ego, the superego and let us find the way to let go and let the Tao be.

    It is not intelligence; it is intelligent; it is not the Tao; it is a vehicle to travel with the Tao; It is not to become; it is becoming.

    Balance in all things.

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  2. Gardner's work has been used a lot to argue for more arts in the schools.
    I teach Northern Shaolin in the public schools as an enrichment activity and one of the great things about it is that the regular school teahers change their opinions about students as a reslut of my class.
    Teachers are amazed to see students they think are dull or frustratied suddenly become class leaders when they are in my class.
    Every type of intelegence should be cultivated in the schools.
    I personally think there is inate intelegance but we can also really cultivate these types of intellegence and become "skilled" in an area that didn't originally come easy to us.

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  3. I teach courses at a local community college and we use Gardner in our developmental courses and it helps students understand themselves and makes them more aware of what they are skilled at. I say this because I do believe there should be sub categories of Gardner's Model. Body intelligence could have learners who more adept at martial skill.

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