Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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The beautification of the functional

Functionality, whilst important, is not everything. if we ‘settle’ for just those functional aspects of a thing - we will find ourselves ‘settling’ pretty early on, in our exploration of that thing. Whilst functionality is central to the concept of survival and evolution - it still, in many ways, leaves us wanting.

Consider cooking - whilst we could easily design and prepare a functional ‘dish’, one that fulfilled our nutritional requirements perfectly, we continue to come up with new dishes, new recipes, new ways of combining ingredients in ways that stimulate our senses. Most of us would find ourselves quickly bored if we just stopped trying to develop new approaches to cooking once we had ticked all the nutritional boxes. Human beings want something more than mere functionality.

The same applies to the martial arts. If we train for the purposes of functionality alone, we would find ourselves getting bored, in pretty short order. We know when we are looking at something that transcends functionality; it is at once impressive, beautiful and inspirational. We are driven to go further; to build on top of; to refine, to create to transcend. 


This is an aspect of art that spills over into the daily aspects of our lives. With functionality ’squared away’ - we can stand on the shoulders of Maslow (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and each contribute in our own way to the betterment and beautification of something we love.
- JBW

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