Newton’s Third Law of Motion

October 12, 2012

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From a Western perspective, one analogy that is commonly drawn to help better illustrate Karma, involves Newton’s Third Law of Motion. If you think back to High School physics (your teacher told you this would come in handy…), you will recall that Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

This explains why your car is able to move you to the training hall, or a fish can swim through water. In the case of your car, the tire is turning backward — pushing the ground with a certain amount of force. The ground is pushing back, only the earth’s mass is far greater (especially if it’s a Bridgestone/Firestone on your Ford Explorer). Therefore, the vehicle moves. A catfish swimming in the Mississippi river pushes the water with his fin. The water pushes back with equal and opposite force. Since the river has greater mass, it is the fish that moves. Now according to Newton, these interactions can be contact interactions (frictional, tensional, applied force) or action-at-a-distance interactions (magnetic, gravitational, electrical, etc.). Now think of the concept of Karma. It’s not so far-fetched to believe that the same concepts proposed in Newton’s Third Law of Motion are applicable to less quantifiable forces.

But, as with any philosophical discussion, you can wind up anywhere –depending on the assumptions with which you begin.

Karma and the Martial Arts

Martial arts training is cyclical in nature. You begin blindly, progress to a false sense of mastery, have several startling revelations regarding your true lack of skill.

Accept humility, truly learn, master, and then you do it all over again through your students or in other disciplines.

All martial artists fall somewhere within that cycle. How we deal with others in this cycle will affect your future and progress. You get what you give.

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