Is Stav a martial art?
Lets just clarify one thing straight off. Stav is not a Martial art but it can be explored and expressed through martial art training. The same applies to Taosim which can be worked with through Kung fu, Tai Chi etc. but this philosophy of life is much more than that as well. It just so happened that Ivar has always been interested in Martial arts and took the opportunity to get to a very high level by training for 14 years in Japan. This means that for those who have trained and practised seriously enough Stav provides a very effective martial training system.
There are also major advantages in teaching Stav through martial arts. It provides a framework and reason for regular training and practice. Through the weekly classes and regular courses students learn the stances and principles and may well find various ways to incorporate them into their lives. It also keeps teacher and students honest and grounded. As we have seen in previous messages Stav has various arcane aspects which some people get very exited about. But the martial arts aspect is long term, hard work and frankly often rather tedious to learn and practice properly. It is also easy to test in the sense that someone can claim having read a booklet and attended a seminar that now they understand the web of orlog and can control it using the power of the runes. I suppose it is possible that they may be a very quick learner but at least I can then say, 'okay pick up that stick and stop me when I attack you with an axe'. At that point they usually realise they have a bit more to learn, and if they don't then obviously I have no more to teach them.
So what is martial arts training? Definitions abound but lets go for 'a training for managing conflict, both external and internal'. It is a very fundamental concept, rather like literacy, once you can read and write you can communicate in every form from writing shopping lists to technical writing, fiction, propaganda etc etc. What matters is having that basic literacy. I believe martial arts to be the same in that sport fighting, control and restraint skills, military training, theatrical fighting and personal protection skills are all applications of martial arts ability but are not the thing in itself. In Stav we like to think that we teach it as a 'pure form' of martial arts and in many ways it is. But one also needs to be aware of practical needs and some training in actual self-defence is included in the syllabus. Sometimes I train with other teachers to keep myself fresh and build up my knowledge and experience. It is always great to learn new stuff and I also find that nearly 20 years of Stav training has provided a very good basis for working with almost any martial system.
The basis of Stav martial training is three things. The Stances which gives us a range of postures and transitions to work with. The Web of Orlog through which we learn how to see the lines and manipulate them. The five principles of Stav through which we learn how to act appropriately in a conflict situation. It may not sound much but anyone reading this who has done Stav training will know it provides plenty to work on and if you need convincing sign up for the Warrior Camp in June http://www.facebook.com/l/
Tomorrow I will look at how to start training in Stav as a martial system.
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