Tag Archives: Martial Virtues

A Study in Combat Sport Psychology

If you are a student of the martial arts: karate, jujitsu, bartitsu, boxing, etc., Dr. Charles Hackney is doing a study and would like your help. If you have a few minutes, please fill out the survey. If you know of anyone who is studying martial arts, please pass this information on.

A Study in Combat Sport Psychology Survey.

Any inquiries about the study should be directed to:

Charles H. Hackney, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology Briercrest College and Seminary
510 College Drive Caronport, SK S0H 0S0
(306) 756-3263
chackney@briercrest.ca

Martial Virtues — A Year in Review

Chuck’s first book Martial Virtues was published in 2010. The book, looking at character development and martial arts, combined two of Chuck’s passions: psychology and martial arts. Shortly after it was published in English, we got word that a publisher in Italy had purchased the rights to have it translated and published in Italian. A few months later, a publisher in France did the same.

Today, we got the 2010 royalty statement. We really weren’t sure what to expect. But, we were shocked when we read that in 2010 (January-December), 1,414 (English) copies of Martial Virtues were sold! That’s an average of 4 copies a day.

Okay, for some 1,414 is not a big number. But to us, it is huge. For a small book on a fairly niche topic, and for a first-time author to boot, 1,414 is amazing. Add to it, Chuck has gotten some fan letters from people who have read his book from all around the world (including an inmate on death row in San Quentin!), which means his parents weren’t the ones who bought up 1,414 copies!

So tonight we went out to celebrate. We celebrated in style by driving all the way to Regina to get Arby’s (what exciting lives we lead). Chuck’s got several projects on the go, but he is hoping to finish up a second book on Martial Arts, this one looking at Christians and Martial Arts.

To all of you who are part of that magic number 1,414, thank you.

Manly Manliness

An article appeared in yesterday’s Globe and Mail about the nostalgia for manly men. Chuck, being very much into chivalry and warriorhood, eagerly read the article, and came a way just a little bit disappointed. Read the article: Guy Guides: Nostalgia For When Men Were Masters of the Universe.

Below is Chuck’s response. He was going to send it to the Editor of the Globe, but they have a 150 word limit for letters to the editor. So I’m posting his entire response here.

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In his recent article, Russell Smith passes judgment on “how-to-be-a-gentleman guides” (Nostalgia for When Men Ruled, April 14th), arguing that these guides are “maniacally conservative” escapist fantasies grounded in a “nervousness” about gender, and a nostalgic desire to return to the days when “men were masters of the universe” and women knew their place.

Anything can be “psychologized” away (a variant of the ad hominem circumstantial fallacy sometimes known as “Bulversism”or “Appeal to Motive”) if one tries hard enough. A psychologist who studies terror management theory could try to explain away the desire to be a good parent, for example, as nothing more than reacting to existential anxiety by focusing on the survivial of one’s offspring, and Freud might have described writing an article for the Globe and Mail as a sublimation of neurotic sexual conflict. Smith’s attempt to reduce the desire to be a good man to nostaglic crypto-sexist neuroses is just such a maneuver.

Regarding the charge of sexism, Smith offers no evidence in support of his accusation. He makes no attempt to deal with the fact that current contributors to this discussion, whether we are talking about Kate and Brett McKay’s book The Art of Manliness or Scott Farrell’s “Chivalry Today” podcast, explicitly sever considerations of gentlemanly behaviour from any implications of male superiority. Smith states that “in discussion of gentlemanliness there is no mention of how best to divide child care,” which is flatly incorrect, as can be seen in the discussion of stay-at-home dads at the Art of Manliness website, for one example. And Smith’s charge that behaving like a gentleman is about trying to assert dominance shows a lack of understanding of gentlemanliness. In my book on warriorhood (a topic associated with manly stereotypes if ever there was one), my research into warrior codes both past and present showed the core of martial greatness to be servanthood rather than masterhood, and Scott Farrell’s application of chivalric ideals to today’s gentleman is grounded in the relinquishing of dominance.

Smith also claims that the proliferation of gentlemen’s guides are the product of nostalgia, as evidenced by the anachronistic language used by most popular books on the subject. Given the attention paid by the media to the “metrosexual” and the 30-something who still plays Xbox in his parents’ basement as images of today’s man, and the often-heard claim that chivalry is dead (or at least badly wounded), it is not surprising that current thought on gentlemanliness often involves a desire to reconnect with something that is perceived to have been lost. However, the publication and popularity of the guides themselves cannot be attributed to mere nostalgia. From Geoffroi de Charny’s 14th-Century manual of chivalry to the writings of US President Theodore Roosevelt, men have always sought the advice of other men on the topic of how a man might live well, in the same way that women have always sought advice from other women. The current crop of “gentlemen’s guides” are no different.

Charles H. Hackney, PhD
Author of Martial Virtues: Lessons in Wisdom, Courage, and Compassion from the World’s Greatest Warriors (2010, Charles E. Tuttle Publications)

The Day After

Rob Bell’s Love Wins launched yesterday. The hoopla will surely now die off (maybe). The question on everyone’s mind: what to read next?

If you’re a Reformed type, you’re probably saying, “why would I read Rob Bell’s book, when I have Kevin De Young’s 20 page review?”

If you’re an emergent type, you’re probably saying, “I devoured the book in one sitting.”

If you’re somewhere in the middle, you’re probably saying, “Is there anything I can read that won’t get me labeled a heretic?”

The best way to combat the Rob Bell hangover is to read something non-controversial. The best thing to read is something about developing character and virtue. And I know exactly what you should read!

How about reading Martial Virtues?

Reasons why you should buy and read Martial Virtues:

1. Chuck is just like Rob Bell.

Rob Bell has cool glasses. Chuck has cool glasses.
Rob Bell is an excellent storyteller. Chuck is an excellent storyteller (just ask his students).
Rob Bell has stylin’ clothes. Okay, Chuck’s clothes aren’t stylin’ but he does wear some pretty funky ties.

2. Reading Martial Virtues won’t get you labeled a heretic.

3. Love Wins needs some competition on the Amazon Bestseller’s list. What better way to do this than to help a book ranked in the six digits climb to the single digits.

4. Since I handle all the finances in the house, I get to choose where the royalty cheque gets spent and it’s going to be spent on tuition for my grad degree. And you want to help out a struggling grad student, right?

Win A Signed Copy of “Martial Virtues”

Just in time for Christmas! How about a free book? That’s right, you can win a signed copy of Charles Hackney’s “Martial Virtues”.

Here’s how to enter (choose one):
1) Write on your blog that you would like to win a copy of this book and link back to this post. Post a link to your blog post in the comments.
2) Facebook that you would like to win a copy of this book and link back to this post. Post a link to your facebook note in the comments.
3) Wax eloquently in the comments about Martial Virtues.

Random drawing from the entries will take place Thursday October 28th.

You can check out an article about the book here, or listen to Chuck’s podcast over at Police Mag (scroll down to Aug 31).

(must be a resident of the US or Canada to enter).

Edification — New Issue

The latest issue of Edification (4:1), the journal of the Society for Christian Psychology is now available online.

The lead discussion article is:
“Forming the Performers: How Christians Can Use Canon Sense to Bring Us to Our (Theodramatic) Senses” by Kevin Vanhoozer.

It is followed by 8 responses:

The Parts We Play: Anthropology and Application to Expand Vanhoozer’s Proposal
Chuck DeGroat

Forming the Performers: Canon Sense and “Common Sense”
Stephen P. Greggo

Positive Psychology and Vanhoozer’s Theodramatic Model of Flourishing
Charles H. Hackney

Theodrama: A Means to Truthful Thinking
Nicolene Joubert

“The Play’s Not the Thing”
Michael Pakaluk

Formation through Grace and Truth
Theresa Clement Tisdale

Canon Sense Needs Five Senses, Which Need Canon Sense: Science, Drama, and Comprehensive Psychological Understandings
Alan C. Tjeltveit

Behind the Mask
Léon Turner

Interview – Charles Hackney

Charles Hackney is Associate Professor of Psychology at Briercrest College and Seminary. He is the author of “Martial Virtues: Lessons in Wisdom, Courage and Compassion from the World’s Greatest Warriors” (Tuttle 2010). The book has recently been translated and published in Italy, under the title “Le Virtu Guerriere”.

1. In your book you look at virtues that define a warrior and you find that the same virtues appear in martial art traditions across cultures and generations. What are these virtues?

The idea of a warrior needing to have a certain moral character can be found in cultures around the world and across the centuries. In the Republic, Plato discussed the virtues of his utopia’s warrior class. The bushido ethic of the samurai included virtues such as loyalty and courtesy. In Korea, the hwarang organizations aimed at developing warrior virtues in their young men. During the Reformation, both Luther and Zwingli argued in favor of training in the martial arts as a form of moral education. In my book, I examined a wide range of these kinds of martial traditions, and found that five traits keep appearing: courage, temperance, wisdom, justice, and compassion. These are the characteristics that separate a warrior of excellence from someone who is simply skilled at hurting people.

2. Is courtesy or respect a virtue?

Yes. No. Maybe. Sort of. What was the question?

Courtesy appears on a lot of the lists of warrior traits across cultures. Part of what makes courtesy vital is that it is a way of showing respect to those around you, even to your opponents, and respect is a crucial concern for warriors. Take, for example, the fight between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir during UFC 100 (July 11, 2009). Lesnar won the fight, but immediately started “acting out,” making obscene gestures at the crowd and badmouthing his opponent. His win got eclipsed by his immature display, and his lack of respect resulted in a large number of fans and other fighters losing respect for him. Had he behaved with a mature and respectful attitude, he would have won admiration, instead.

In my book, however, I argue that courtesy is not technically a virtue. Instead, it is a way to practice and demonstrate all five of the martial virtues in everyday situations. You show courage by finding tactful ways to speak up for yourself and your friends. You show temperance by exerting the self-control necessary to behave properly, even when you don’t especially feel like it. You show wisdom by learning how to work with people. You show justice by treating people with the respect that they deserve (even if you don’t think that they deserve it). And you show compassion by focusing on not hurting other people’s feelings.

3. This cultivation of virtue would fit very well with Christian virtues and sanctification. At the same time many Christian traditions are pacifist in nature. Can a Christian, even a Christian from the historic peace church tradition, participate in martial arts, or put their kids in a Karate or Taekwondo program?

I believe that they can, even those from one of the historical peace churches. There is significant diversity among Christian pacifists. Although they are nearly unanimous in opposition to war, when it comes to related topics such as private self-defense or the use of force by police, not all pacifists agree. Prominent pacifist theologian John Howard Yoder, for example, considered the use of nonlethal force in defense of oneself or another person to be acceptable.

I think that, regardless of whether or not a Christian martial artist self-identifies as a pacifist, we should all agree that we follow the Prince of Peace, and so we should be dedicated to finding nonviolent solutions to our problems and showing Christlike love to those who insult or attack us, even if a physical confrontation becomes unavoidable.

3. You are currently leading the Caronport Bartitsu Club. What is Bartitsu?

Bartitsu is an eclectic martial art developed in England in the late Victorian era, combining French kickboxing, English bareknuckle boxing, Swiss stickfighting, and Japanese grappling. Not only is it a very practical way to learn self-defence, but it has some very interesting historical and literary connections. For example, during the struggle for women in England to gain the right to vote (which was not fully achieved until 1928), women’s suffrage groups sometimes faced intimidation and violence, sometimes at the hands of the police. Many of these women (the most prominent being Edith Margaret Garrud) started studying Bartitsu as a way of defending themselves, and they were known as the “Jujutsu Suffragettes.”

Bartitsu’s most famous connection, however, is to literature’s most famous detective. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (in The Adventure of the Empty House in 1903) identified Bartitsu (he unfortunately misspelled it as “baritsu”) as the martial art practiced by Sherlock Holmes:

“I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, which has more than once been very useful to me.”

The connection between Bartitsu and Holmes continues, as fight choreographer Richard Ryan used Bartitsu as one of the bases of the fight scenes in Guy Ritchie’s 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie.

5. So what do you think, did Jesus “tap?” [Tap is a Mixed Martial Arts term, meaning to submit in the fight to the stronger opponent]

Jesus most certainly did NOT tap. Jesus was a manly man, and the most extensive descriptions of his impressive masculine toughness are found the Gospel of Macho. We see, for example, that Jesus earned the admiration of Philip by burping the entire Greek alphabet (Macho 2:34). When Jesus visited his hometown (Macho 5:17-25), the people responded by asking: “Who is this man? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the five-time boxing champion of Nazareth?” There is also, of course, the account of Jesus defeating the centurion Bicepsus Maximus in an arm-wrestling match (Macho 3:13), as well as his encouragement of his followers to greet each other with a holy headbutt (Macho 7:6). When Jesus’ disciples started circulating lists of jokes about how tough Jesus was (“Jesus does not do push-ups, he stays still and pushes the Earth down,” “There is no chin behind Jesus’ beard, only another fist,” “The only thing faster than light is Jesus’ roundhouse kicks,” and so on), Jesus rebuked them, and told them to stop wasting parchment (Macho 12:29). Scholars associated with the liberal-critical tradition have claimed that these jokes were originally about Judas Maccabeus, but that’s liberals for you.

So the answer is no. Girlie-men tap. Jesus did not tap.