03 Sep Tancredi Marrone
What do martial arts, combat, and psychedelics share in common? Generally speaking, in the world of competitive fighting the use of enhancing substances is frowned upon. This however has not been the case for centuries of warfare and mystical training in martial arts from various parts of the world. Already there are famous legends or hypotheses that link the warrior spirit with mind-altering substances. The case of the Berserker is perhaps the most famous but it is not the only one which can be seen as a mystical warrior charging battle with heightened fighting consciousness. The Zulu warriors is also exemplary as they too are credited with the use of magic mushrooms, cannabis, and snuff tobacco. The popularization of psychedelics and their renaissance has by now also spread to the contemporary world of combat sports, leading martial arts practitioners to openly experiment with various psychedelics. The purposes are multiple such as introspection, and healing but also gaining embodied knowledge of one’s art relying on the teacher that is found in psychedelic substances. Contemporary combat sports celebrities are by now discussing and enjoying the value of psychedelic substances. Sparring while high leading to increased perception or even using psychedelics for therapeutic and anxiety problems have by now found their place amongst the fighting Psychonauts. The underlying philosophy for those who link the two relates to ideas of overcoming difficulties and conceptualizing the world of psychedelics not only as peaceful but also as conflictual as the human world. It is not surprising considering that shamans are also perceived as warriors in their own right. The battlefield of psychedelics does not just stop in the physical world as many trip reports do testify. This presentation will analyse part of the historical tradition, the legend, and the contemporary world of martial arts and its relation to psychedelics.
Tancredi Marrone is pursuing a Ph.D. research in Religious Studies at Masaryk University Brno. He has a Bachelor’s in foreign languages and translation, a Master’s in audiovisual translation and adaptation, and a Master’s in Religious Studies specializing in Western Esotericism. His main fields of research are the use of psychedelics, meditation and breathwork techniques in the context of contemporary occultism. His studies on altered states of consciousness are supplemented with studies in the philosophy of the mind, psychology and cognitive sciences.