The Manticore of Sumer [The Second Soul of Queen Shub-ad] Chapters: 1-4; reedited

Advance: The clay tablet of Sumer was made under the third dynasty of Ur, during a time of Mesopotamian bureaucracy and record keeping. Ur was a city-state of Sumer, and a sumerologist had found among its ruins several hundred such clay tablets. The tablets in question reflected the careful and detailed administration of diverse functions in the kingdom, especially the sacrifices, and this particular one about a treasure hidden in a canal at Ur. Clearly the cuneiform script told of the exact location. It was a small neat script, but an outstanding specimen of cuneiform calligraphy thought the good professor who found it (from Troy University); it was often the scribes job to take several small ones and combine them into an individual account, but this one was a single one, larger than the others, yet small for a big hand; it didn’t have to cover a whole years harvest as many did only a tressure. And this is where the story begins:

Chapter One
Patience from the City

Life as we all know, is bitter-sweet, and once done, once said, so it is for eternity; wipe it off the scrolls or tell the jury to overlook it, once done, it is done. There was no June sun in Lima, Peru, cool shady clouds seeping from the ocean inward, sitting over the city like fingers hanging down, likened to a canopy, willow branches. The water from the ocean looked like a green transparent mountain. I stood up on the rocky formation by the coast. The great world beyond troubled me, disturbed my joyfulness, my father had passed on, died a blissful solitude death. I stood there looking out into the ocean as if I was summoning it up, half dreamy; loneliness had seeped into me, sadness, and undertones of it: once more the wisdom of my father struck me, and all the years he laid it upon me. ‘I doubt man will ever find but a few moments on earth of perfect rest,’ Endlessly my father’s will and these words came to mind. He had large academia of them. Next, came the sounds of the hissing sea that flooded my brain like an engine overworking.

I was well accustomed to my little house in Miraflores, Lima, Peru, but my father persuaded often me to be by his side in Huancayo, beyond the Andes a few hundred miles away. The noise of the sea, too imperative to be ignored, assured me of why dad wanted to have his office in the Navados, behind the city–the ceaseless sounding city of Lima; stress free I do believe for him, as Huancayo offered, and became his objective.

Chapter Two
The Lower World of Sumer

“Now, as the Golden Cuneiform Clay Tablet (so it came to be known as), it was the gemstone of Sumer! This he clearly regarded as the utmost of his riches. On it was engraved a code, which the old professor could only read.

“In the old Sumerian belief it was held that there were gods that were once kings of Sumer (superhuman beings; angelic renegades), and they hid a treasure–but more important, the method used in writing (or speaking) as indicated on the tablets were most important, it could command the old demigods of the underworld to appear, should one go through a ritual.

On the tablet, which, as you know now, is carved into the image of a square of sorts, both sides are cultivated with such words. As he had told folks about this: he’d often rise and pace the floor. A great fear for him was to lose this treasure; but I was in some strange way relieved when Simon gave me, just before he died–gave me the tablet. The day he died he was calm and placid. I said very little to him that day, but waited as he asked, then suddenly, out of nowhere he gave me the tablet.

If there had been any possibility of danger to him, or me he had shown none to be present at the time. Mr. Anticuario, my father, returned home late that evening, he resumed his seat as usual in the living room; he placed before me the tablet. I leaned forward as he showed it to me.

On a lining of purple satin, it lay as if it was a ruby, almost as big as the palm of my Gloxinia hand (Jack’s girlfriend). He did something to it; it was not its natural shape, carved it perhaps. Not sure what tool he used. Blood was stained on a corner of it, the colour of blood that is.

I’m sure this could not be a mistake to anyone consciously looking at the tablet: on it the figures were plain, cut with exquisite precision, as he had told me they were long ago, I used a magnifying glass to search it out, one that my father took from his jacket pocket.

When I had fully seen it, He turned it over so it rested on its back, where half the tablet was blank. The reverse was no less wonderful than the other side, just half blank, and you could see it was carved more as if it was cut into the clay. He resumed to speak to me about its legend, its powers, and its treasure:

“You see, the marks, or symbols on the upper part of the tablet, compose the amount of the treasure, with its determinatives. You know, or you all should know I suppose, that Sumerian culture used marks, dashes, lines and so forth of “thought”; they didn’t use papyrus as did the Egyptians. On the other side of the clay tablet, is the prayer, or summons to the demigods of the lower world, its chant:

“It may be beyond belief, but it is true nonetheless, the old wonder-workers knew the truth about the lower world. My father smiled at me often, lovingly, when he spoke about this, and then he’d resume”

“We need of course a spirit filled heart, or in plain English, ‘patience,’ will do. So in other words, this stone, or clay tablet has an element to control the Lower Ancient World of Sumer, or at least to summons them for assistance, a porthole for them to fly through you could say; and a horde of gold, or perhaps jewels hidden in some canal in Ur.

My father closed the box he had stored it in, and gave it to me with the tablet in it, and went to his room. When he was to return he was to resume his conversation with me, but I knew what it was going to be about, he had done this several times before, perhaps so I wouldn’t forget, or perhaps so he wouldn’t, he’d seat himself right here, at this table and he’d go on:

“That tablet, has a mystic chant written into it (in the centre of it is the finishing lines; which only can be gotten to by opening it up, and in its hollow centre you will also find–along with the end lines to the chant–something called a drifting soul; King Gilgamish, used this chant himself, used it to subdue the kingdoms around him with. That is to say, in one case, when he had fought against Kish (in present day Iraq, city dating back to before the Great Flood, he used his influence with the Lower World, they assisted him, and the city fell quickly into his hands. And then he rebuilt the city, with the demigods help. In my father’s words ‘I need to work out the chant and the act of this source of resurrection.’ That is to say, he wanted to be able to summons the Lower World, a control element here, and perhaps a power instinct I realize. I kept the Tablet within a safe place after he died, whence no one could find it; trichologists, or friends of his to be exact, not even the museum inspectors could find it.”

Three Souls

“His ‘cosmological body’? What do you mean, by cosmological? Jack. What does it indicated?” There was heaviness in Gloxinia’s voice. As she had asked that question which surprised me a little, my girlfriend; but my father would have smiled at it so I did, and accepted it as a sort of tolerant parental gesture, it kind of pushed its way out through her sunshine face; then I spoke:

“Ah yes, the cosmological body, subsequent to the time I speak of, which is an accepted fact of modern theology, anthropology, in Sumer, which had its rise with gifted individuals, each king had to perform an unthinkable task (unthinkable for normal human being that is), of having thirty to fifty organism with the temple priestess, these kings were of course demigods, had to be, as was Gilgamish, and his forefathers. Thus, at will they could climax forever you might say: to a woman, a wish come true, to a normal human being who is married to a female receiver, a nightmare, should the king ask for her any certain evening; she surely would never forget the evening. In essence, they were irresistible you might say. But as I was about to say, my father’s cosmological body, what did I mean by saying that was just this: he could transfer his body whithersoever he chose, by this disbanding and reincarnation of atom brake up. And as a result, he chose to visit the underworld, the Lower world, as you may call it my lovely Gloxinia. But he was never capable in finding neither the treasure nor the chant to summons Hell’s best–the end part that is. He feared to open the clay table, saying in essence: it would be his end, and perhaps that is what brought on the heart attack, he cracked the seams of the tablet as you all can see: who is to say for sure. I myself have the capability of referring my body, but not in particles, like my father. He did it by the way of ancient beliefs, believing in three souls, and magical chants.

“Each soul possessed an absolutely independent existence. Free to move at its own will, it can enter into the heaven of God, or the Hell of Lucifer, or converse with the gods, the demons of the Underworld, of before the Great Flood. This is the first soul. The second, has substance and form, and can become animalistic in nature, or not; it has power to leave its abode, when you die, it can even leave the tomb, and come back, visit or revisit the old places it left, like a ghost…even talk with the old souls, the other souls, or loved ones. Then there was the third soul, spiritual intelligence or spirit filled. It had light; untouchable light and shape, the shape of the body…(the pious element of the makeup I do believe) we must not forget we still have the man himself, and his power and strength; thus, now making him complete. And to add to this, was the shadow that went with the body attached to the heart, where all life comes and goes.

“Henceforward, with all this in mind, and my father accepting this as fact, and he did, there are many possibilities: and let me stress, he did also have an unimpressionable will to go along with this. He often told me when he looked into water he could see his image wherever he was thinking of being, at that point, should he will any soul of his, or part of his soul, to go there, it would; and should he will his whole being and all its forces to collaborate, it would be personified, and he would not be displeased where he’d end up–complete. That said, genetically speaking, he was a ting supernatural, you need only ask Shub-ad, she knows, he lasted sexually with her–so he said twenty-times.

Chapter three
To the Lower World’s Secrets

My father went to the Underworld to find out about the pre-Sumerians in particular the chant and the treasure, and he was told by Queen Shub-AD herself ((first soul ((Shub-ad: had many human sacrifices lavished on her, in the bottom of her grave pit it was crowed with bones, butchered where they stood; also in the tomb was silver cow’s heads, a pair of silver heads of lionesses, all striking in its craftsmanship, and imagination: and of course the first triangular harp; discovered at Ur, 2500 BC), whom came back and told me, me in so many words, ‘…there were migrates in this land called Sumer until it was sufficiently formed to offer reasonable agriculture and competence, nomads who moved from one place to another, looking for fertile soil, so it appeared. Mankind then was created for breeding (so it seemed), eating, having a few worn garments, they walked with limbs on the ground, they ate herbs with their mouths like sheep, they drank water wherever they could find it…’ so he said, she said. A part of her soul was left to linger the earth, he found it, another part in the Underworld, the third part encased in the centre of this tablet, with the chant. We of course are talking about the second soul of Shub-ad.

“He also told me, the animal soul of Shub-ad, was locked up in a vault of the hollow of the clay tablet, whom can lead you to the treasure.

“What really took place was this, or so I have come to this conclusion that: the Queen wanted to resurrect her first soul with her second and third, thus a full resurrection, and my father was to help in this, and in the process, she gave him a terrible extension of magic, its power killed him, her second soul did the work, it was locked up so long that when it got free through the cracks of the tablet and the partial chant, it turned into its animalistic form, I believe a Manticore of some sort, a female lion’s body of some type, with her hands as paws, iron looking sabre tooth monster, and attacked my father. When he died he had looked chew over: every colour under the sun, he was: choked up purple, read blood all over him, green and yellow skin, nothing on him was a normal colour. Whatever magical formula he used, it gave life to the creature, which was then transmitted. If she now connects with her third soul, the soul of light, it could have a positive effect; should it not it will run ramped; should they all connect, it is unpredictable. So I have to choose between learning the chant in the tablet, reading the scripture on the tablet, and hoping to find the treasure, and an unfastened mad animalistic soul, in the form of a ghost.

This soul that is free from the god’s, and wanders the earth until the end of time will not go willingly. There need be no limits to her objectives. It is my belief she laid dormient for all these centuries in the tablet tomb, waiting for my father to set her free–or anybody for that matter–and he did. So the chant is mixed with her guarding it. But no matter what she is, she is gone, the chant is free for us to seek and inspect–perhaps only a part of the chant is available, or none within its tablet vaults, and the world, the demonic world would help us once we acquired this full chant? If indeed she is gone, and if so, perhaps the end part of the chant is also. Her first soul remains in the underworld–I know that for sure. What her intentions are we know not, but her first soul, in the underworld would have some kind of instinct to her next moves–should we seek and ask, if indeed that is possible; we or they could even communicate by dreams.

“Should we find her grave, that in itself would be a central point of contact, now comes the crown of the issue, the purpose of our acquiring or attacking her: that immense tressure left in some hidden place in the canal of Ur, she would know; plus, once having influence over the demonic world–if indeed that is possible, we could help connect all three souls together, she’d once more be a living queen on earth, 4500-years old, with a body and soul intact; a great scientific achievement that I’d not want to boast unless I could harness her. (All six guests at the table sat emotionless, doubt and darkness in their eyes; a mummied look.) To this end, we seek the Queen, use her body to summons the souls that wonder the earth, linger in the Underworld. For years I suspected my father of this, having access to the Nether World, I thought was not real, though it is. I was patient, and waited to gather all the facts from my father, and his teachings. And now I have many of those facts and options to look at.

Chapter Four
The Sumerian Hymn

“It was the second soul of the Queen that took the Sumerian Hymn, the chant,” I had told the group, and Florencia had asked about the resurrection, ‘…is there not but one resurrection! I mean that is what the Bible says?’ And my answer was as is, for a human, it was final, one resurrection of the body and soul; but in the uncommon world, the spirit world, the supernatural realm, there are plenty of deep-rooted dawns or horizons, a magical spell can sweep across great landmasses, or rivers, and inspire silence of a dead soul to life: who knows what is possible.

“It thus, is given to me to comprehend what is to be and far-thinking and what to do with this high-souled woman of antiquity, that paces the earth as a Manticore, ready to devour whomever, however, whenever: who holds perhaps my secret, if not many secrets of treasures and the underworld.

“I don’t expect Queen Shub-ad’s spirit (animalistic soul) to come willingly, lest we convince her the connecting of her other two will make her whole, for every woman would like a second chance under the sun to find love, is this not in a woman’s heart to do so. No matter what has happened before or after, a woman’s heart is never sealed for love.

We must be very careful, for you surely we all know this was a woman who could raise an army with the wave of her hand, or have a temple built with the nudge of her beautiful head. Times of old may be gone, but they are not forgotten for those who have lived them, and I’m sure pleasure to restore is in the making.”

“I fear–I fear such a capture could be our deaths!!” Said Manual Zipida, sitting at the table across from Gloxinia, Mary and Florencia. As he spoke he seemed to be stirred, his eyes had a cryptic look in them, no mortal sight. And then the eyes filled up with shed tears of great emotion. The very soul of a woman we were going to try and capture, take it and try to harness it, consequently, he sat back shook his head and listened, entrenched into his chair, as if to say: what do we do with it if we get it? “I can see her with my second sight, she is very alone, in a silent temple in Ur, dreaming of something, she has the tale of the Manticore, the great saber teeth of the ancient lions, and great paws, a beautiful head. The land under is calling her, but she fears to go to it. She sees us, as she hides from the sweet winds and cool agitated desert air. Perhaps I can be her kindred spirit, someone kindred anyhow, like her own, we maybe can merge for a moment, long enough to find out what her intentions are and what she’s done thus far.”

We all sat silent as Manual sought his powerful interpretation of her purpose, the loftiness other thoughts. It seemed out of his mouth came a flowing of a musical cadence, even his tone was strange: I could read his mind, and he was reading the Queens soul’s thoughts, in its nature it sought its other souls, as a mother to its daughters, the rest of the feeling captured was of hope. Her soul was trying to tunnel its way through the gloomy temples and caverns of the death. And I asked Manual, ‘what was she doing now besides the communion seeking of her other souls: soul-to-soul, so their breaths could mingle in the same air, that is what she seeks, and some other hidden agenda I can’t make out, but I see you in it.’ She was now at the pantheon of the Sumerian gods. Her noble prayers, chants were a vibrant musical cadence of some kind of internal force, likened to a great instrument that summons a deeper power. But what had she down since her release two weeks ago? That was weighing on my mind?

How Proverbs Produce Wisdom

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight. Proverbs 1:1-2

The goal of Proverbs is to teach wisdom for life. The context to learn this wisdom is in a relationship with God (“fear of the Lord,” 1:7). Someone who doesn’t walk with God can still receive benefit from studying the book, but the full nutritive value will be missing. Walking with God and growing in wisdom involves trusting him with all our heart and submitting our will to his. “Lean not on your own understanding” (3:5) means that if our perspective on an issue conflicts with God’s, we forego our own.

Proverbs does not give instruction on every type of wise behavior for every conceivable situation. Rather, it emphasizes the importance of learning important principles that apply in a wide variety of situations. Although there are many specific examples of how to act and respond wisely, the greater aim is to teach the principles of wisdom so the student has a base from which to draw insight for new situations.

Individual proverbs refer to a wide range of situations, providing us with solid examples about how to behave. But, their real value is in their “performative force,” that is, their challenge for us to assess and understand the dynamics of a particular situation. This understanding becomes the mix of wisdom and insight that forms our world outlook, ethics and ability to discern the dynamics of new situations so we can respond appropriately there. (David Kelsey, Eccentric Existence: A Theological Anthropology, 1:223).

All of us teach our children to not go into the road. Standing outside our house, we will point at the street and say, “No!” with great firmness. If our youngsters challenge us by running into or near the street, we deliver a sharp smack to the behind. Hopefully our command, “Do not go in the road,” followed by punishment if they do, will function as proverbial wisdom to our children to steer clear of the street.

Then we take our children to grandma’s house. As we are unloading items to take inside there are a few unsupervised moments when our children can follow us into the house, or they can explore the environment away from the watchful eyes of mom and dad. There is a street in front of grandma’s house. What will the children do? Did the spanking they received at home for refusing to listen and obey in regard to the road give them any insight and knowledge beyond our front yard? Will they apply the lessons learned at home to the street in front of grandma’s? If so, our words are functioning with performative force. The lessons learned are carried beyond the initial experience and are being applied in wider situations.

We can’t expect our command to not go in the road will last forever. Eventually, our children will have to cross a street. So, we teach them to “Stop, look and listen.” If some fear of the pavement and speeding cars still resides within them, they will be careful. The initial lessons learned years ago of avoiding danger by not going in the road will still guide and guard their actions, keeping them safe.

The ultimate lesson we hope our children will learn is that they stop, look, and listen not only at a highway, but in the presence of any potentially dangerous situation in life. A boy at school that is too debonair, a powdery substance that promises escape, a financial investment that cannot lose – these are all potentially dangerous highways. The speeding cars on this road are people, substances and empty promises that can crush us.

The lesson learned early on about “Don’t go in the street!” and was later expanded to “Stop, look, and listen,” applies to more than just the street in front of our house. It applies to all the roads of life. That is the nature of a proverb. Each proverb contains a gem of wisdom that can be applied to a specific situation and context. But their real value and performative force lies in their power to ingrain themselves into our psyche and influence our thinking and ethical choices on all the highways we encounter.

The Application of Academic Research

INTRODUCTION

This article will seek to highlight the numerous academic aspects of the martial arts and sciences and how they might be of serious interest and value as objects of research by various specialists. It will demonstrate their worth to researchers from other disciplines, providing them with a wealth of potential material to examine, experiment with and catalogue. Indeed, they are an extremely rich resource that has, for the most part, been completely neglected, with only a few brave and/or curious even bothering to explore the possibility.

It will highlight the efforts of the IMAS in striving hard to encourage and promote education, training, research and qualifications in the martial arts and sciences and, by so doing, gradually causing them to become more accepted as an academic subject of very real merit and worth.

ACADEMIC FACETS READILY FOUND WITHIN THE MARTIAL ARTS AND SCIENCES

Researchers in the following disciplines would find much of worth in the martial arts and sciences:

1. Anthropology

Anthropology is the scientific study of the Human Being, at all times and in all types of societies, cultures, civilisations and situations. The origin of anthropology is to be found in both the Natural Sciences and the Humanities. It asks questions such as: What defines a human being? Why do we tend to behave the way we do? And why do we develop particular belief systems?

Therefore, it is quite easy to see from the above that the martial arts and sciences have a great deal to offer this subject specialism, particularly in what is called “cultural anthropology” which is a sub-division that tends to concentrate upon “ethnology” or the study of certain systematic comparisons between different cultures. For example: A well known author wrote and published a definitive work upon the European knight. This book was very well received and, a couple of years later, the same person decided to write another work, this time upon the Japanese Samurai, so drawing comparisons between the two while also highlighting certain differences in the attitudes and behaviour of each. (We can see from this example one of the many “crossovers” that frequently occur between academic disciplines. This author was writing these works as an historian, although they could just have well have been presented (with a slight modification in context) as an anthropological text)

The comparison between the different warrior castes and their indigenous martial arts would be a perfectly acceptable study for any cultural anthropologist to embark upon and would no doubt, yield a wealth of interesting data for the researcher(s).

1. Philosophy

Philosophy deals with the life’s really BIG questions such as who are we? And why are we here? The meaning of truth and even life itself, Etc. There are many different schools of philosophy, as well as diverse areas of study (Epistemology, Logic, etc.) But, the areas that would be of special relevance in the martial arts would be both Aesthetics (which concerns itself with art) and Ethics (which concerns itself with morals, duty, scruples and generally “doing the right thing for the right reasons)

The martial arts would be most relevant to the oriental schools of philosophy that have their origin in religions such as Buddhism and Daoism, but certain European schools would also find much of interest, in particular Stoicism which concerns itself with the control of the emotions, and the Existentialism of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre among others, that subscribes to the theory that the human being must take full responsibility for the human condition rather than simply blaming it upon “Fate” or “God”.

2. Psychology

Psychology is the study of the functions of the human mind. It concerns itself with perception, cognition, personality and behaviour, etc. Again, it has many schools (Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Humanism, etc) and specialist areas (such as educational, industrial, etc) However, the martial arts would be of most use to psychologists researching the following aspects:

o Anger Management
o Conflict Resolution
o Stress Control
o Sports enhancement
o Education
o Performance coaching
o Etc.

There is a lot of interest in the way that martial artists utilise certain mental disciplines or “mindset” if you will. The ability to control their mental and physical abilities to the extent where ordinary flesh and bone can be used to break hard objects for example.

The psychology of warfare and the mindset of traditional warrior castes might even be able to shed some light upon the causes and treatment of certain mental health issues suffered by modern soldiers, chiefly, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which causes such a lot of misery to so many. So, once again, martial arts have a lot to offer from a psychological standpoint.

3. Sociology

Sociology is the study of human society and behaviour. It encompasses such things as the way society and culture influence the individual and also how individuals manage to find their place in the greater scheme of things and concentrates upon building up a body of knowledge regarding the effect that such things as religious and political beliefs exert upon the attitudes and behaviour of communities and society at large.

Up until quite recently, members of local communities maintained quite strong, close relationships with each other. They went to the same school, relaxed in the same bars or cafes, and worshipped in the same church or temple. These days, most of that has changed. Parents will actually up-stakes and move to another area in order to try and get their child in to the school of their choosing, because of the improved transport system, people tend to travel further afield if they want to go for a night out and not that many people are as devout with their religious observances as they were in times gone by. And, even if they are, it is now possible to worship in many different temples and churches, with it being possible to change your denomination, or even your entire religion, almost every week!

Because of this changing social structure, people are now far more independent rather than co-dependent. In the UK in particular, our churches and public houses are shutting down at an alarming rate, so this process is continuing and might even be speeding up somewhat.

In this climate, local martial arts clubs tend to endure as bastions of strength in the community. The vast majority are run by local people for local people, and make a very real and concrete contribution to their communities: Martial arts instructors continue to play an important part in keeping their local communities healthier and safer, and can also exert a tremendous influence upon the children and young people that come to them for lessons. They take part in important events in their local area such as putting on displays at garden parties and fetes, and engaging in fund-raising activities for charity, etc. In this manner, martial arts clubs actually help act as the “cement” of their local communities, attracting literally all kinds of people to come together in a spirit of trust and respect. Therefore, as instructors, we must be mindful of this fact: Our field of influence extends way beyond the mat, into the family unit and throughout the community at large.

Sociologists with an interest in the historical aspects of their science would find much of interest in the martial arts, as wars have always played a pivotal role in shaping the society we live in. The selection, training and fighting arts of the warrior, together with their strict code of ethical conduct, have had a heavy influence not only in the way that wars were fought, but also in how nations eventually evolved and came into being.

Therefore, martial arts can prove to be a rich source of both historic and contemporary information to sociologists.

4. Theology/Religious Studies

The martial arts of every country have always been very heavily influenced by certain religious beliefs and philosophies. Even today, it is possible to see the residue of these influences very clearly in not only the various histories of our arts, but also the rituals and traditions that are still so much a part of them. If we look into the historical origins and of many combative systems, we will find monks, priests and philosophers nurturing them and helping them to develop, if not actually inventing them altogether.

Indeed, if it were not for the warrior monks of many cultures and societies, then the martial arts we all know, love and learn today might not have survived at all. This is especially true when we look at such arts as Gatka from India, Shaolin Kung Fu from china, certain styles of Bersilat from Malaysia and Kyudo from Japan. Each of these martial arts is inseparably and indelibly linked to a religious belief and philosophy, with each still retaining certain undeniable aspects of these within their training regime and philosophies. Still other martial arts, such as Thai-Boxing and Sumo wrestling, clearly still bear the marks of theology upon some of their practices, requiring special blessings, prayers, rites and rituals as an integral part of their competitions.

5. Historic

As already stated above: War and religion are two of the sharpest tool’s employed in the shaping of human culture and society. In this manner, it could be argued that the martial arts and sciences have helped to both build and destroy entire empires and nations. Fighting and the use of weapons are so ancient that they actually even predate our own species: The great apes have been shown to demonstrate crude strategy and tactics, as well as modifying sticks into forms of primitive spear. The most primitive of weapons would include the stick, stone and bone, and any combination thereof the martial arts we practice now as a healthy pass time were then, quite literally the tools of the trade. It was upon the battlefield that a great deal of martial arts and sciences have their roots and continued development, from ancient times up until the present, with people like Fairbairn and Styers researching, experimenting and modifying the traditional techniques found in the Japanese and Chinese systems so that they could be of more efficient use in 20th century conflicts, the Israeli armed forces developing Krav Maga, and the United States Marine Corps with their military martial arts programmes of today which aid young marines to prepare for and fight battles, physically and mentally. These constant modifications are a necessary part of evolution where only the strongest survive.

Historians already find much of interest in the martial arts. Hence, you have serious researchers who delve into the weapons and armour of bygone eras. In addition, you have very respected institutions such as the Imperial War Museum that actually employ martial artists and Masters at Arms to demonstrate their abilities, so allowing the general public a rare opportunity to witness historical combat “up close and personal”. Martial arts, then, are actually pieces of “Living History” that allow both historians and the general public a unique insight into the past.

In addition to the above, there are several other disciplines that would find much of interest and worth in the study of martial arts. The very practice of martial arts techniques themselves contains a wealth of scientific application. Anatomy, Physiology, Bio-Mechanics, Kinetics, etc, are all a very real part of any training session. Health and fitness, Sports Science, Teaching methods and coaching all also have their place. It is about time that the martial arts and sciences were acknowledged and accepted as being the rich repository of knowledge they truly are.

CONCLUSION

All of the above is already happening (albeit in an extremely sporadic way.) Research papers have been submitted by academics of several disciplines throughout the past few decades. Even so, there is not enough of this valuable research for martial arts per se to be taken seriously as a subject worthy of stringent academic examination in its own right, with only certain specialised aspects being investigated by researchers from several other specialisms. And, it has to be said, the majority of faculty within the Institute (myself included) have, of course, all undergone their academic training and gained qualifications in various academic disciplines other than that of the martial arts and sciences, simply because the opportunity did not exist for us to research the arts we all loved to practice and teach. In a way, this has helped to make our faculty both strong and varied. But, the time has now come for the martial arts to “come of age” as an academic subject in its own right. Indeed, this is one of the main reasons as to why this institute has come into being, and remains one of its primary goals.

Earlier this year, the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences held its first ever conference. It was a small affair but, never the less several very interesting research papers were submitted and presented. It is hoped that this research will soon be published so others might gain access to them and perhaps even be inspired to conduct research of their own. In addition, members of faculty constantly work hard at establishing strong links with several other learned institutes and universities the world over, and continually publishing books, articles and letters in both specialist journals and the martial arts press. So it has already started. The face of martial arts have changed irrevocably for the better, thanks to a scant handful of determined academics, researchers and educators who also happened to be very highly ranked martial arts practitioners. It is those few who have made it possible at last for the martial arts to be studied not only on the mat in a martial arts club, in the sporting arena or even on the battlefield, but also in classrooms and lecture halls. Martial artists can now also sit academic exams as well as undergo grading examination tests. And they can gain useful academic, professionally accredited qualifications as well as belts or sashes, and these qualifications mean just as much outside of the martial arts club as they do within it. Martial arts and those who practice them are now beginning to gain the status and recognition they so richly deserve.