Question on martial artists

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Gweilo, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Gweilo

    Gweilo Brown Belt

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    When in your opinion, can someone call themselves a martial artist?
    It was a question asked in last night's class, when we have a discussion at the end, I never really thought about it much, but the answers were diverse.
     
  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    When they do martial arts
     
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  3. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    That's one of those self-reflection questions. Are you training or just going through the motions. Some people "Take Martial Arts" and other's "Train Martial Arts"

    If all you do is go through the motions like an exercise then you miss out on a lot of what Martial Arts has to offer. If you "Train Martial Arts" then you are getting more out of it than just exercise. Questions like that also help the instructor head off any misconceptions and unproductive mindsets about the school and what they train.
     
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  4. This going to upset a few....

    IMO...it is when you have used it effectively, to save your own life. Until then, you are still just practicing the martial Arts.

    It is like asking, when can you call yourself a surgeon, is it when you are studying about operations or when you are applying what you learned, on a real patient.
     
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  5. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Okay...as you stated that is your opinion.
    It doesn’t upset me.
    In my opinion you are incorrect.
    The thing is there are specific definitions for what an artist is. You cannot just create your own definition. Well you can...as you have...but that doesn’t mean you are correct.
     
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  6. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    but a surgeon is an occupation and one with a very specifically defined qualification / experience, your a surgeon when you are qualified to undertake surgury

    a closer analogy, would be when can you call your self a motorcyclist, the answer to which h would seem to be when you can ride a motorcycle, some would insist you need to also own one, people with big bikes will require that you cant be a " biker" if you only own a small bike, people who do 20' 000 miles a year wont consider you a real biker till you do a high mileage in all weathers and people who have been riding for 10 plus years wont consider you a biker till you have a decade or two experiance,some wont think so to ayou have had a least 5 crashes nd some will require you have all of the above coz that's what they have

    so just like ma it's a nebula concept that has no meaning at all but what ever you decided is the thing you have that makes you a biker or a ma that you then inflict on others in order to be judgemental
     
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  7. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    It depends on how you define the term. I like @Headhunter 's response. You train martial arts, you're a martial artist.

    I may also tailor it depending on the message I want to convey.
    • If I want to encourage my students, I tell them they are a martial artist
    • If I want to give someone a kick in the rear that they need to suck it up, tell them "you're a martial artist, act like one". (I've used similar lines in class - "this is Taekwondo, don't say ow" and "you're a green belt, don't act like a white belt").
    • If I'm giving a pep talk on people as they advance, I would tell them that a "true martial artist" is someone who is always seeking better technique, whether it's to hone their skills or to achieve a greater understanding of the underlying concepts of what we do. This is as opposed to someone who just shows up for class and goes through the motions, learns the material at the superficial level and stagnates in their competence.
    What it means changes depending on the context it's used in, and in what message it needs to convey.
     
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  8. Rat

    Rat Black Belt

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    Anyone who does any form of combat training can use the term as far as i am concerned.

    but then this runs into the image of a "martial artist" being in a Asian based school, wearing a Gi etc doing kata, rather than say something else which fits my terms of soldiers doing training in camo and with rifles.

    so i will fully accept some distinction needing to be made just by merit of what people picture when you use martial arts and martial artist.

    and it can be really boring like having to sit through hours of theory in any case. Its not all punching and kicking.

    there are still people out there and i think the google definition (last i looked) literally defines martial art as a "asian fighting systems" or cites it as "particularly Asian". So it basically forces the term to be used to refer to asian sytems and not, like we all know the rest of the worlds styles. thats a kind of tangent rant.
     
  9. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Rat, have you started taking classes yet?
     
  10. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    Do you become a boxer when you start training in boxing or only when you successfully make a living as a professional boxer?

    Do you become a dancer when you train in dance, or only when you make a living dancing?

    Assuming you answered the first option for each question...are martial arts more like dance--a passion and hobby that enriches our lives--or are they more like being a licensed medical professional?
     
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  11. Well yeah, until that time you are just training for it.

    Are you an excersise trainer, just because you exercise?

    It depends, have you earned it or are you just calling yourself that.
     
  12. It wasn't a definition it is an opinion. He didn't ask for definition, he asked when can YOU call yourself a Martial artist in YOUR opinion.

    That is the topic. In my opinion, I can call myself a Martial artist, when I have successfully use it.
     
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  13. I think that is the difference

    I do not see the martial Arts as a hobby, never have.

    Can it enrich your life, sure....but to me it is not a hobby.
     
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  14. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    You know what, I took back my disagree. I still disagree, but to a lesser extent. I don't think you have to have used it, but I think you have to be competent enough to use it in a real situation.

    As a point of story - my Mom, a white belt in Hapkido, went to visit her family in another state. My cousin is a police officer, and she wanted to show him what she learned in Hapkido. But he's not the type of person who is like "show me what you learned, that's really cool." He's more the chest-thumping point-and-grunt type of a guy. So he wanted to show how he was better than her, even though he's twice her size. She wasn't able to make the techniques work.

    I share this story, because while I may consider her a Martial Artist because she's training an art, she wasn't ready to demonstrate the technique on a resisting opponent. She wasn't at that skill level yet. And it's not any indictment on her or the training. She simply wasn't there yet. At that point in time, she would not have been capable of using the martial arts in a realistic setting. With more training and experience, she will be.

    So like I said earlier: context. In my opinion, and in class, I would call her a martial artist. But if she wanted to prove her hapkido skills to someone outside of the school, I'd caution her against it, because she's not there yet.
     
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  15. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    If it's not a profession it's a hobby, you may be very passionate about it but it's still a hobby, the term hobby can be pejorative . However things you do for amusement or betterment are still hobbies, unless $ change hands
     
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  16. Martial Artist in training, is a more appropriate term and I do not disagree with that.
     
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  17. ethat.



    You can say you do the hobby, but you can't say that is what you are.

    I play guitar, (hobby) but "I am" not a guitarist.
     
  18. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    If you play guitar, you most certainly are a guitarist. Not a professional guitarist, not a famous guitarist, but yes a guitarist.

    The Cambridge English dictionary definition of "guitarist" is "a person who plays the guitar."
     
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  19. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    There are professional boxers, amateur boxers, and hobbyists who box for fitness and fun. Each could be good or bad at what they do, but if they actually get in the ring and mix it up, they are boxers.

    Martial arts are more diverse, and they don't all have the goal of self defense. To me, being a martial artist has little to do with whether you use it in self defense or street fights. But then I don't going around calling myself a "martial artist" either. Seems like puffery.
     
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  20. You got me there on the definition.
     

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