Rise Of The Militant Class: Secular Martial Arts

1880 words - 8 pages

Ever since humans have inhabited this Earth, human blood has been spilt and battles have been waged throughout history. Mankind has warred with itself, developing and honing lethal and efficient tactics, strategies and martial skills of and within war, all across the globe. But, yet few cultural societies have been so influenced by the practice of a martial arts system that said system lays foundation to cultural reformation. An evident example of a martial arts based cultural reformation can be seen in the rise and establishment of the militant class within feudal Japan. Bujutsu and Budo, feudal Japanese martial arts, provided an efficient and lethal martial arts system. These two martial arts, coupled with various religious influences, established intrinsic values that engendered a new way of life, establishing the feudal Japanese warriors.
The foundations of the martial arts systems of Bujutsu and Budo can be traced back into the Classical era of Japan, developing and adapting the most within and after the Heian period. During the time of Classical Japan, there was evident cultural borrowing from stronger and more established nations within Asia, predominantly China. It was during the Heian period that the influence of not only China, but also the influences of various other nations were at its height within Japan. Amidst the influx of various cultural influences that began assimilating within the Heian Period, there were two main areas of classic Japanese society that helped establish the arts of Bujutsu and Budo. Some of the heaviest outside cultural influences in the Heian period were seen within religion; the others were seen in the rise of the militant class.
It was at that time, Japan was being flooded with various esoteric disciplines and knowledge in philosophies and politics from, then war-torn, China. Within this warring time in China, many philosophies and disciplines focused on and promoted the idea of opposing imperial tyranny, which was occasionally used interchangeably with 'evil' within some Taoist classics. This ideal permeated through the culture, resulting in moralistic militias and secular martial art teachings and or practices within China.
Eventually, Taoism expanded into Classical Japan, bringing with it various texts, including those based on secular martial teachings such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Taoism itself was never adopted as a religion within Classical Japan, but rather developed as a philosophy and educational tool; its philosophies were eventually aggregated into the Shinto religion of Japan. All the while, other esoteric studies, including various sects of Buddhism and Tantra, reached classical Japan, establishing a religious, as well as an academic, following. The teachings and practices of Taosim, Buddhism and Tantra were integrated into the education of the classical Japanese noble class.
During early Classical Japan, the majority of political power was held within the Imperial Court, which consisted...

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