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Thursday, April 01, 2010

What do you see - what are you able to see

This is my favorite illusion as the 2 images are so opposite. You love one image, and hate the other. BUT they are the same thing.

This is the same effect looking and seeing forms & jurus have on me. When you look at the strange shapes in a form they look
  • silly
  • exotic
  • mystical ...
Take your pick. (I showed my mother once, the stance from Wing Chun's first form and she started laughing. Picture that stance and the fuk sau and you get the idea).
Then you make a breakthrough and you 'see' what you have been looking at. This is one way the illusion metaphore works. But this isn't the point of this blog entry.

The other aspect is interpretation of the martial arts by practitioners. One aspect of the 'arts' and I am thinking about high art - picasso and such like. See how that needs interpretation for some works. This is the 'art' side I am thinking of for the martial. I am thinking that half the work involved is not in following physical patterns and mimicking them but interpreting them.

In this next picture by Duchamp a work of art is created out of a urinal. He calls it 'the fountaine'. He is being cheeky but the point is interpretation gives this meaning.
"The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act."

My point is watching experts do their moves is not enough. You have to be active in its interpretation to give and extract meanings out of the martial art shapes. I watched and re-watched forms DVDs and struggled with their interpretation ... and like the pictures above, sometimes you get a snap and you seeeeeeeeeeeeee the idea hidden away in there. Sometimes you don't and you aren't taken in by 'la fountaine' like avant-guarde luvvies.

Sometimes the forms need a leap of faith to interpret and you need much effort like this picture .... 'Nude descending a staircase'. This picture and its type (as above), only makes meaning in relation to a theory. Once you have base ideas in place the picture has value and meaning. Otherwise it's
  • silly
  • exotic
  • mystical
This is why the same thing looks different to 2 different martial art practitioners. Culture also serves to affect what we see. it may not be possible for some practitioners from other traditions to see what you see. They don't share the theory that lets you see.

Here is Duchamps self-portrat. He gave up art for chess. The art side of that is in the interpretation of shapes on squares. He was on the same track if you ask me.


Richard Sackville said...


Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think Duchamps is so good as ppl say. Many anonymous ppl did that inversed toilet before And after (didnt know him). You should take a look about the works of Mondrian, if you search for a guy who did simple and well. So Mondrian don't have his self-portrait playing chess? -That's because he wasn't a chess player. cybernoid