View Full Version : thoughts on barefoot zen

4th October 2002, 16:08
I just read the book Barefoot Zen. I was going to get some thoughts about a few of the views that were expressed.

First, I'm not purveying any negitve views of my own about the book. On the contrary I thought the book was well written and brought some interesting views to light. My first question would be on the view that katas were for meditation and not actual combat. I personally was taken back by that view because like most people I was taught that they were defensive techniques. When I started out my first instructors were not very kata oriented and only taught 6 or so and I believe they were of their own concoction. As I progressed and found another instructor, one I've been with for 6 years, I truly began to understand and like kata. However, I can understand how kata can be meditative. I study Kenjutsu as well and find it refreshing to escape the days stress with a few hours of steady kata time.

Another question that comes to mind is how it would seem that the author is stating that Chinese history has been distorted for hundreds of years. The author states that Kung Fu itself was not developed for violence, but rather for, once again, meditation. He also brings across the thought that the defensive applications that have been taught are misinterpretations of the true meaning.

The author does show some interesting comparisons with buddhist hand positions and hand positioning in sanchin and tekki. I can see the validity of the buddhist practice and the kata positions to a degree.

Once again I want to say that I am in no way attempting to express any negative opinions of this book. If I have done so or it is read that way I apologize. My aim is strictly to get objective feedback, good or bad. If you like the book or not I would like to hear your thoughts.


5th October 2002, 00:02
Mr. Wall,

I also found the book to be well written, thought provoking & well researched. I actually agree with a lot of the author's conclusions. However, my opinion is that Martial Arts can mean many different things to many different people. The important thing is what it represents to the individual. That is what makes it all so unique. The journey as opposed to the goal. Just my opinion.