Saturday, March 12, 2011

BOMP - Nature & Importance of Principles

This year, we're discussing The Book of Martial Power (BOMP) on this blog on Saturdays.
In aikido especially, but also in judo, we like to talk about how we are more concerned with the principles underlying the techniques than the techniques themselves.  That's also one thing I particularly liked about what I've read and seen of Ed Parker's American Kenpo - that man delved into the principles underlying striking in a very intelligent and sophisticated way - far moreso than most other martial artists.
But in reading the first part of Pearlman's BOMP, it is apparent that we're not really talking about principles in the same way or on the same level perhaps that Pearlman is.  We're more talking about artistic license or stylistic preferences that usually tend to make things go our way - guidelines or best practices.
We talk about principles like ma-ai and unbendable arm (which are usually very, very good ideas) but which are unheard of or even scoffed at in other arts.  Other arts cite contradictory "principles" which are also often very, very good ideas.  The type of principles that Pearlman is talking about are more universal principles that are incontravertible and indisputable between arts and styles - more akin to natural laws. 

For a while, reading BOMP I figured that there must only be 2-3 of these universal principles, but Pearlman talks about more than 50.  Hang on for the ride, because we're gonna discuss this thing in depth in the coming weeks.
Do you talk more in your classes about technique or about principle?  When the word, "principle" is thrown around in your school, are they more often talking about natural laws (like gravity) or about good rules-of-thumb (like "get out of the way")?

Patrick Parker
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