The Aristotelian Philosophy of the Martial Arts


  • Charles H. Hackney Redeemer University College



neo-Aristotelian Philosophy, virtue, telos, eudaimonia, aretê


Aristotle’s approach to ethics is proposed as a useful way to understand the role that the martial arts play in the life of the martial artist. Neo-Aristotelian philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, in his classic work After Virtue, introduces the concept of a eudaimonic practice, a form of social activity in which pursuing excellence in the practice results in the practitioner also becoming a better person. It is argued that the martial arts can best be described as such a practice. This approach reconciles a broad range of divergent perspectives on the martial arts, and coherently describes how training as a martial artist can contribute to high levels of functioning in one’s relationships and social roles, connecting the martial arts to the overall process of becoming a morally-excellent human being through growth in the virtues.


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How to Cite

Hackney, C. H. (2012). The Aristotelian Philosophy of the Martial Arts. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 5(1), 7–18.