I grew up with very little appreciation for authority. It is funny how a person can be forced to recognize that are required pay homage to authority, without every instilling in them that this is an important thing, much less a good thing. When you live in a culture that is constantly countering everything your parents tell you to do, by giving you a vision of the good life that contradicts, you can end up with very troubling results…

In the martial arts world today, many people have been inspired by Bruce Lee’s famed idiom “absorb what is useful, discard what is not” to stand in judgement of martial systems, critiquing them and making declarations about their usefulness. MMA is at the forefront of such things. The idea of mixing martial arts is not new. The UFC didn’t revolutionize the world of close combat with its idea of mixing arts. What MMA did, was to tell people that you could mix arts without understanding them. That you could take a kick from Muay Thai, based off exclusive and shallow observations of that kick alone, rather than understanding it within the entire system from which it came. Not only has this resulted in abusive treatment of traditional systems, but it has created a false vision of efficiency in MMA that is not a harmonization of techniques, but a silly Frankenstein of inharmonious parts.

John Horvat II has written a short clarification on the meaning of “authority”, which is very helpful. First he quotes Wilhelm Schwer, in Catholic Social Theory: “Authority is not a power which is imposed upon a community from the outside; it rests upon the will of the group, represents it, thinks and acts in its place. Through authority society moves toward its goal and strives for development and perfection… Saint Thomas regards authority as the animating and ordering intelligence, the vis regitiva which overcomes the resistance of the individual tendencies in the human being and directs his will toward the common good and coordinates it organically into the structure of the universe.” After this, Horvat gives a case-in-point example of a musical conductor. The conductor has power to direct the orchestra, but he must do so with respect to the orchestra’s nature, purpose, and ability in order to lead them to greatness. Exercised correctly, his is authority is not a mere external imposition of will, but the natural process through which greatness and destiny are infact achieved. Without him, this does not happen.

Ug…

A good example of this battle can be found HERE and responded to HERE