Are You a Complete martial artist?

Blitz2.0

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Complete may mean something different from person to person but my definition is: competent in all ranges of fighting,striking,trapping,grappling,weapons, and also the spiritual side of martial arts. I'm not a complete martial artist yet but I'm striving to be a complete martial artist. What's your definition of complete? Also by complete I don't mean you know everything already and have nothing left to learn Its more about goal.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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What's your definition of complete?
If you try to be good on everything, you will be good in nothing. Life is too short to be good on everything. If you can do one thing that's better than everybody else on this planet, you will have your value.

You can

- write a MA book for 200 techniques.
- publish a video for 100 techniques.
- teach a workshop for 50 techniques.
- demonstrate in public for 25 techniques.
- fight in the street for 10 techniques.

MA training is not how much that you know in your head. MA is how much that you can do on your body.
 
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Argus

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In my head!
If you try to be good on everything, you will be good in nothing. Life is too short to be good on everything. If you can do one thing that's better than everybody else on this planet, you will have your value.

You can

- write a MA book for 200 techniques.
- publish a video for 100 techniques.
- teach a workshop for 50 techniques.
- demonstrate in public for 25 techniques.
- fight in the street for 10 techniques.

MA training is not how much that you know in your head. MA is how much that you can do on your body.

It depends on your goals.

I do agree that being too spread out and having too much superficial knowledge is a worthless. But being competent, even if not the best (not competitive) in many areas is very beneficial for someone interested in, say, self defense.

If someone swings a bat at your head, or pulls out a knife, it might be good to have trained in some weapons based systems to build an awareness of those threats and how to handle them. The same can be said for grappling, striking, and many other things.

Specialization is necessary if competition is your goal. Though, even in that case, if the rules allow a more broad application of techniques, it's important to be well rounded as well. You can specialize in something, but you have to be competent in everything that you might be presented with.

This is why I train multiple arts: striking, grappling, and weapons based. I'm competent in some, but not yet all -- but that is just a matter of time, and it does not take all that long to become competent to a useful degree. Becoming competent (rather than competitive) in all areas is my goal.
 

JowGaWolf

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What's your definition of complete?
I never really thought about being a complete Martial Artist. There's more to life than martial arts so it's never been something I felt the need to be complete in anything other than who I wanted to be as a person.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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This is why I train multiple arts: striking, grappling, and weapons based.
Even just the wrestling art, there are over 230 different throws (over 1000 combos) that will take more than anybody's life time to master.

You test your

1. punching skill in golden glove boxing.
2. kicking skill in TKD tournament.
3. wrestling skill in Chinese wrestling, western wrestling, or Judo tournament.
4. ground skill in BJJ tournament.
5. punching/kicking skill in Karate tournament.
6. punching/kicking/throwing skill in Sanda tournament.
7. punching/kicking/throwing/ground skill in MMA.

The integration of striking art, wrestling arm, and ground game is a big task. It takes a lot of time to finish your true integration.

Do you think you have enough time to finish all 7 stages of MA testing in your limited life time?

We have not even considered

- short weapon such as dagger.
- middle length weapon such as single edge knife, double edge sword.
- long weapon such as staff, spear, Guan Dao, ...
- knife throwing.
- fire arm.
- ...
 
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skribs

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I've had my wisdom teeth removed. So...no.
 

drop bear

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I like to be able to hang with any style as then I just get more options.
 

Oni_Kadaki

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I'm neither the most skilled striker nor the most skilled grappler, but I had a clear opening to use the former in a real fight, and later successfully used the latter to end that same fight. I have little formal training in blades, but, as I understand it, the use of a knife in a life-death situation doesn't look at all like what the traditional blade arts teach.

And then there is my specialty, firearms. Please note that I'm not just one of the 90-95% of American gun owners who think that they know how to use a weapon in real life because they went to the range with it once. I may not be a high-level USPSA competitor or a special operator, but I have competed in matches with both, and have actually outshot one or two of the latter.

Add to the above that I'm in pretty good shape (though the combination of COVID and the winter weather is trying to intervene there) and that I've deployed to a combat zone and, as a result, had to act really fast when the "incoming" alarm went off and the adrenaline spiked, and I think I am pretty well-rounded in the area of self-defense. Do I have room for improvement in all of these areas? Absolutely... That's why I continue to train. But a good base, to be sure.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Some random thoughts ...

I think "well-rounded" might be a better adjective than "complete" for what you're getting at.

I don't think that "competent" is a concept really applies to the spiritual side of martial arts. I also don't think that that there is a singular "the" spiritual side of martial arts. That idea can mean a lot of different things depending on the individual and the art.

"Competence" itself is rather a subjective bar, depending on your expectations. Does it mean you can demonstrate a technique well enough to pass a rank test? Well enough to apply in a fight against an untrained person? Against a trained person? Against a professional fighter? Under ideal circumstances or when you're hurt and tired?

If you're just asking for personal answers, then I guess this would be my self-evaluation:

I'm a black belt in BJJ, so I think most people would consider me a competent ground fighter. I feel confident that I can apply those skills in a wide variety of contexts, even against trained or even professional fighters. Really top-notch grapplers like Marcelo Garcia or Ryan Hall could still make me look like a white belt, though.

My takedown skills are at a lower level, though. I'd consider my Judo throws to be on a par with a mediocre Judo brown belt and my wrestling takedowns to be on a par with a poor-to-mediocre high school wrestler. I have the technical understanding to teach those moves at a somewhat higher level, but my conditioning and reflexes mean that my execution against resistance is only mediocre.

My stand-up striking (primarily but not exclusively based on boxing and Muay Thai) is no better than mediocre amateur level. I can hang with some pros and higher-level amateurs in friendly sparring, but in a real boxing or kickboxing match they would destroy me. This is partly a matter of conditioning (and the fact that I'm in my mid-fifties) and partly a lack of experience. I only have two actual ring fights under my belt. Once again, my level of technical understanding (for coaching) is higher than my level of actual conditioning and reflexes.

I have a basic repertoire for stick-fighting that I feel comfortable applying under pressure in in hard contact sparring. That probably makes me competent compared to many of the people who are out there teaching weapons in the dojo. I couldn't hang with a full-fledged Dog Brother, though.

I do feel very comfortable blending my skills from different arts together together seamlessly. I can be sparring with a stick, use the stick as a setup to land kicks and knees (and vice-versa), clinch, take my opponent down, then finish with strikes or a submission. It all feels like one system to me, not different parts welded together awkwardly.

I'm not particularly knowledgeable or skilled with firearms. I used to be an okay shot with a rifle and I've fired some pistols at the range a few times. I'm an advanced beginner with a bow and arrow.

I also have a variety of techniques from different arts which have have been taught, and can demonstrate well enough to look good in class, but that I don't think I could reliably count on in a real fight or sparring match. These would include standing wrist locks, knife disarms, certain capoeira and TKD kicks, and many more. Maybe the flaw is with the techniques, maybe with me, but if I can't reliably use it in a fight then I don't consider myself competent in it.

As far as the "spiritual" side of things - I consider my martial arts training to be an essential part of my lifestyle, it helps me stay mentally healthy and happy, and I have taken a variety of life lessons from it. Is that "spiritual"? Your call.
 

_Simon_

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But seriously! Within the context of that definition, nup not at all. And not really interested in being competent in all those areas. I'm quite happy exploring the domains that I'm very much devoted to, and explore them completely in that sense :)
 

Buka

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Complete may mean something different from person to person but my definition is: competent in all ranges of fighting,striking,trapping,grappling,weapons, and also the spiritual side of martial arts. I'm not a complete martial artist yet but I'm striving to be a complete martial artist. What's your definition of complete? Also by complete I don't mean you know everything already and have nothing left to learn Its more about goal.

Im sure it means different things to different people, as well as to different schools of thought.
Let me give you a "for instance.

Say you teach. And youre teaching a particular stye/system/dojo specific whatever. But you know a lot of Martial Artists and frequently work out with them. Say you learn a really good way to do something. And its better, much better, than what your particular group currently does. Do you teach it as an alternative? Or just let it go?

To me, if you dont teach something you KNOW to be better, the only complete in you is youre a complete chump.

I know if I thought my instructor knew a tactically better way for me to do something and he didnt teach it to me for whatever reason, Id sure never trust him again. And that aint good.

I think everyone should train in what you mentioned in your OP. "Striking, trapping (or how to take advantage of someone else trying to utilize trapping), grappling, weapons (and I mean modern weapons used in todays age) and the Spiritual side of Martial Arts.

To me, if youre teaching things that involve defense, escape, survival and the ability to seriously hurt another human being, if you dont teach at least some form of the Spiritual side of Martial Arts, then you aint got squat.

I taught in a city dojo of predominantly young men easily influenced by the world around them. To NOT include the Spiritual side of the Arts, would be completely irresponsible.

As for me being a complete Martial Artist, I'm lucky if I can find my gi pants on laundry day.
 

Danny T

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'Complete'? Hmmm.
Is there anyway one can be complete? I thing not. There is always something that needs to be refined, bettered, or due to injuries, age, and other factors one's abilities change. Complete truly is not a possibility. I'm with Tony on this...'well rounded' is what I continually strive for.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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If you can't do this, does that mean your MA training is not complete?

3-kicks-break-boards.gif
 

Kung Fu Wang

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What if I can kick that guy while he's spinning? Or duck the spins and throw him? Would I be more complete than him?
Agree! You may not be able to punch as good as most boxers, but if you can take down all boxers that you have fought, your weakness in the striking art is not important.

On the other side, if you can knock down all wrestlers, your weakness in wrestling also won't matter.

If you have just 1 single technique that you can use to take care all boxers, and all wrestlers, Even if you are just good in 1 technique. The word "complete" has no meaning to you.

The issue is can you develop that "door guarding" technique before you die?
 

Anarax

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Complete may mean something different from person to person but my definition is: competent in all ranges of fighting,striking,trapping,grappling,weapons, and also the spiritual side of martial arts. I'm not a complete martial artist yet but I'm striving to be a complete martial artist. What's your definition of complete? Also by complete I don't mean you know everything already and have nothing left to learn Its more about goal.

Competent? I would say so. I've been extremely fortunate in life to have great instructors. Based on my experiences, the best instructors I've had cross-trained and had a very open mind to training different things. I think I'm competent at all ranges, but I fully acknowledge what I need to improve on the most and I train to do so. For example, I started training Judo for I thought my grappling needed improvement. I still train striking, but I wanted to branch out and improve overall.

There's an enormous gain both spiritually and mentally from cross training. Training in other disciplines helped me understand that you can't be the best in everything you train in, and that's fine. I can't be the Kayla Harrison of Judo nor the Lyoto Machida of Karate. It gives you tremendous perspective to know what's out there and what you can gain from it. You still train hard and give it your all, but having perspective helps you grow as a person and a martial artist.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Old MA masters liked to say, "In my area, this is the way that I'll suggest ...".

One day a MT guy challenged a Chinese wrestler. The Chinese wrestler went to his teacher and asked for suggestion. His Chinese wrestling teacher told him, "You don't know how to kick. But can you take his kick and catch his kicking leg?"

If a MT guy's roundhouse kick doesn't kill you, and if you can catch that kicking leg, you can turn a striking game into a wrestling game after that.
 

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