A Simple Question

Stunts that hurt?I have a simple question for which I don't have a good answer.

Is brutality part of the art? Most, if not all, of the old masters used or experienced brutality in their training. Is it necessary or were they just crazy.

Buster Keaton, one of the greatest physical performers of the 20th Century, got his start with his parents in Vaudeville, which had a fair amount of slapstick. As a child aged 3 to 5 his father would drop kick him all the way across the stage. He would land on his butt facing down stage and make a face. The audience loved it.Keaton with a straight punch

A Korean martial arts master I knew described his early training this way.
I was a precocious child, so my parents sent me for a year to study martial arts with a group of monks. My training began in the mountains in the early Spring. After my parent had dropped me off one of the monks took me back out to the front gate, gave me a rag and told me to get down on my hands and knees and rub the ice off of the road. The ice was three inches thick. Periodically a monk would come outside to see how I was doing, offer criticism, and then kick me around on the ice a few times.

The thing is, none of us would choose this kind of brutality for ourselves, but this master was so fast he could catch a bullet with his hand--from behind!