2/19/15

“The True Art” in Living.



The solution to doubt is the invincibility of truth
Don Jerónimo Sánchez de Carranza
Anyone who has studied the combat arts will realize how the very lessons learned in the training hall start seeping into their everyday life. This is especially true to those artists that extended their educating into the philosophies behind their chosen art. I remember a close friend who walked around with a small copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War in his pocket. I found nothing strange about that as I carried a copy of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of the Five Rings in my own bag.

It didn’t surprise anyone who knew him when the man who carried the Art of War is now a successful politician.

If you read my previous post “What I learned from a 400 year old book on how to kill a man,” you might have realized I have a soft spot for the classical Spanish Fencing School of “The True Art” (La Verdadera Destreza). Interestingly enough, Miyamoto Musashi and Jerónimo Sánchez, founder of The True Art, were not only contemporaries but both schools of fencing have very similar concepts in their core. Add on the fact that Spain had several cultural ambassadors and merchants in Japan during that time is enough to fuel any historical conspiracist’s wet dreams. But I digress.

As I mentioned, Destreza, and most old combat arts, were not just a combat system, but a way of life, a path. But how do you apply a killing art to civilized living? Let’s look at just a few of the principals promoted within this particular art. 


Self-Control and Self-Discipline are paramount.

Destreza emphasizes on a man’s ability to use reason to suppress any base impulse. That included anger. In reality it actually emphasized suppressing those impulses created by anger. It wasn’t that you shouldn’t be angry, but rather that anger should never let anger control you. A man, like a sword, loses all his worth when they lose their temper. 

Make yourself Present, but not a Target.

Be proud and let the world know where you stand, just be careful that you don’t become arrogant enough that someone will try to take you down. The Diestro’s stance was basically standing straight with his sword straight out. This let any opponent know that to reach the Diestro; they would have to risk his sword first. 
It’s all about creating what opportunities are available.

One of the biggest misconceptions of the Spanish Circle is how the Fencer would stand stationary and only moved within his own circle. This is absolutely false. The Diestro would move around, looking to place himself at an advantage or place his opponent at a disadvantage simply by where he stands. Positioning is crucial in life, more so than the actual attack or defense. Create your own opportunities and control the opportunities that others have simply by where you stand, both physically or socially.