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what_is_a_scholar-warrior [2014/02/26 10:05]
sifuphil created
what_is_a_scholar-warrior [2018/01/29 10:09] (current)
sifuphil
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-=What Is A Scholar-Warrior?= 
  
-Scholar-Warrior philosophy, like Taoist philosophy, is unique among the pantheon of belief systems and religions in that it is adaptable to the changing needs of its practitioners. It offers a large assortment of techniques ranging from the physical to the spiritual, each designed for a specific goal, that are used for the ultimate goal of unification of the mind and body. 
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-Scholar-Warriors do not make a distinction between those minds and bodies, believing that they are all one in the Tao, or Universe. Hence, their desire to create one complete, organic entity that is balanced in every way. This balance allows them to lead a life of peace and spiritual harmony, a worthy goal back in the days of the cloud-shrouded temples and just as valid today, with our hectic Western pace of life and multiple distractions looming at every turn. 
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-The way we ''take care of our bodies'' - fad diets, fast food and questionable exercise regimes; the ''way we think'' - multitasking at both work and home, confusion and consternation over the state of ourselves, our family and our world, and the confusing whirl of new technology and ever-increasing speeds of living; and the ''way we tend to our spiritual needs'', perhaps attending religious services for an hour or two a week, then promptly forgetting the lessons learned as we leave the service -  all these elements of our lives are seen as separate compartments, each to be attended to in it’s proper order and given the usual amount of attention. We never make the connection between the body, the mind and the spirit. 
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-The goal of a Scholar-Warrior, simply put, is to unite all three. 
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-==A Brief History of the Scholar-Warrior== 
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-Several cultures have developed Scholar-Warrior training methods, but since I personally follow Taoist teachings I’ll be using theirs as my example. As far back as the Shang dynasty in China (1600-1100 BC)((Bagley, Robert (1999), "Shang archaeology", in Loewe, Michael; Shaughnessy, Edward L., ''The Cambridge History of Ancient China'', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.124–231, ISBN 978-0-521-47030-8.)) there have been archaeological findings of warrior classes in Chinese society, and we can only presume that there was an equal class of artists and scholars existing at that time. We know with certainty that by the Zhou dynasty (1100-222 BC), men like Lao Tzu and Confucius were already blending the two endeavors to create yet a third class - the '''Scholar-Warrior'''. 
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-Since even a warrior has need on occasion of the learned arts, and scholars need an understanding of warfare to apply their theories more realistically, it makes sense that a well-rounded individual having mastery of both war and peace should receive special honor. The general path followed was that while still quite young, a young man (although there are a few examples of female Scholar-Warriors from this time period, they were the exception rather than the rule) would join the armed services of his country, which was usually in a constant state of war with neighboring tribes and armies. After years of dedicated service and learning the ways of war, the still-young warrior would “retire” to public life where he would perhaps seek out a job with the government. This was probably the equivalent of our patronage jobs nowadays and allowed the warrior-turned-scholar plenty of leisure time to devote to fields such as painting, poetry, calligraphy and music, as well as study of the “classics”, the huge collection of written knowledge considered essential for the well-read gentleman. 
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-==The Path of the Scholar-Warrior== 
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-Upon achieving prominence in both warfare and scholarly arts, a man was given the title ''shi'', meaning “warrior” but with connotations of being a scholar as well. It was this esteemed title that truly began the focused study of the Scholar-Warrior path. 
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-Traditionally, there were six fields of knowledge that made up a ''shi'' designation: 
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-*Rites 
-*Music 
-*Archery 
-*Horsemanship 
-*Literature 
-*Mathematics 
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-These six arts were possibly one of the earliest attempts at formalizing the educational requirements of a Scholar-Warrior, but with the passage of the centuries there were many modifications, both additions and subtractions, as society changed and emphasis was placed more upon peace-time arts. 
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-By the Tang dynasty((Adshead, S. A. M. (2004), ''T'ang China: The Rise of the East in World History'', New York: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 1-4039-3456-8 (hardback).)) (AD 600-900), Chinese society adopted the romantic vision of the European knight-errant, a wandering Scholar-Warrior who helped the oppressed and righted wrongs. This period produced much of the poetic and romantic writings that have survived to this day, all based upon the chivalric virtues of honor, bravery, faith and loyalty. 
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-As the Tang dynasty came to an end there developed a multitude of martial arts, so many in fact that it is almost impossible to trace them all correctly today. The ability to defend oneself in public became an overwhelming concern and great store was placed in empty-hand fighting ability. This martial explosion was helped along greatly by the advent of the Taoist and Buddhist temples, where exercises such as Qigong, Taijiquan and Gung-Fu were practiced as both warrior arts and personal development exercises. Also at this time was seen a blossoming of women in the martial arts - indeed, entire systems were created and maintained solely by women. The fact that they had to rely upon brains rather than brawn merely increased the respect these early female warriors received from their peers. 
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-The Qing dynasty((Dunnell, Ruth W.; Elliott, Mark C.; Foret, Philippe; Millward, James A. (2004), ''New Qing Imperial History: The Making of Inner Asian Empire at Qing Chengde'', Routledge, ISBN 978-0-203-63093-8.)) (1600-1911 AD) saw the realization of the ultimate levels of Scholar-Warrior training in the Shaolin and Wudangshan monasteries. Martial arts and spiritual advancement melded together in the monks of these Buddhist and Taoist retreats, producing men and women feared and respected as much for their fighting ability as for their superior mind control and spiritual enlightenment. As in most societies, political leadership recognized that these talented individuals posed a threat to their structured rule and created a series of tests and exams, both theoretical and practical, to produce and certify a new breed of thinking fighter. Upon passing these tests at the Forbidden City in Beijing (Peking), the individual was awarded the title '''“Scholarly and Militarily Complete Talent“''', and was promptly sent out to subdue the rebel monks. This started one of the darker periods of Chinese history wherein most of the temples were destroyed along with their resident monks, in the process losing irreplaceable works of art and literature and also losing the accumulated experience of master martial artists. 
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-==The Many Rises and Falls of the Scholar-Warriors== 
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-The advent of gunpowder began to spell the beginning of the end for the golden age of the Scholar-Warrior. Bare hands and swords were no match for muskets and cannons. The Boxer Rebellion of 1900((Xiang, Lanxin (2003). ''The Origins of the Boxer War: A Multinational Study''. Psychology Press. ISBN 0-7007-1563-0.)) was the final death knell, when fighters armed only with swords, spears and magical protective amulets worn around their necks were mercilessly gunned down. 
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-A brief resurgence of Scholar-Warrior training was attempted a decade after the Boxer Rebellion in the form of “athletic associations”, a sort of YMCA for physical and mental development, but these associations too were destroyed, first by the Japanese in the 1930’s and then by Communist Red Guard((Van der Sprenkel, S; The Red Guards in perspective. ''New Society'', 22 September 1966, pp455–6.)) forces in the late 1960’s, whose orders were to eliminate anything that smacked of the “old days”. 
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-The Scholar-Warriors were gone. And yet… 
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-==The Modern Scholar-Warriors== 
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-Fast forward to 2014. Western society, North America, United States. 
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-Our police battle daily with criminals armed with automatic weapons. Our military forces, already depleted by budgetary cuts, are asked to fight questionable actions half a world away. We are afraid to venture out after dark in our own towns. We worry about our stressful job, our dysfunctional family, our broken relationships. We attempt to find solace in high-tech entertainment, losing ourselves in movies and video games. We place the greatest importance upon accumulating material things yet have lost our spiritual way. We medicate ourselves for the slightest symptoms while at the same time expressing outrage at the rise of illegal drugs. What has happened? 
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-We’ve lost that delicate balance of body, mind and spirit. How do we get them back? 
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-How about a 21<sup>st</sup> century version of Scholar-Warrior training for those wishing to be in complete harmony with themselves and others? 
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-I wish to humbly propose a training program for the modern-day Scholar-Warrior and give my reasons for the inclusion of each subject. 
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-Let’s remember the three main areas that we want to harmonize. Remember, the ultimate goal is to produce a new version of ourselves, a vastly improved, conscious being capable of anything. The three areas are: 
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-*Body 
-*Mind 
-*Spirit 
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-This article is the beginning of what is hoped to be a comprehensive treatment of the modern Scholar-Warrior philosophy and as such will include the philosophies as well as practical applications of its principles. As more articles on this topic are created and posted on [[http://www.devtome.com/doku.php | Devtome]] I will include their links here.  
  
  

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