Martial Artist, what does that mean?

Xue Sheng

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I have been thinking about this and I keep hearing the speech in my head from Han (Kan Shih) from "Enter the Dragon"

Gentlemen, welcome. You honor our island. I look forward to a tournament of truly epic proportions. We are unique, gentlemen, in that we create ourselves... through long years of rigorous training, sacrifice, denial, pain. We forge our bodies in the fire of our will. But tonight, let us celebrate. Gentlemen, you have our gratitude.

And I think of the training regimes of the guys like Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Billy Blanks, Bruce Lee, Bob Wall, Benny the jet Urquidez, or people like Masutatsu Oyama, Jigoro Kano, Ueshiba Morihei, Li Luoneng, Sun Lutang, Ip Mann, and coutless others

Is this what it takes to truly call yourself a martial artist, to legitimately be a marital artists

create ourselves... through long years of rigorous training, sacrifice, denial, pain. We forge our bodies in the fire of our will.

and if so are any of us truly martial artists, or are we simply hobbyists

What are your thoughts on this?
 

pgsmith

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If you are going to worry about definitions, then the Oxford English Dictionary defines "martial artist" as
A person who practises a martial art.
It goes on to define martial art as
Chiefly in pl. Any of various disciplines or sports, mainly of East Asian origin, which arose as forms of self-defence or attack, such as judo, karate, kendo, kung fu, and tae kwon do. In quot. 1920 more generally: the fighting arts of the warrior. Freq. attrib.

Has nothing to do with how hard or how often a person trains.

I try never to define anything too closely, I just go out and do what I do without worrying about it. :)
 

jks9199

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Define sacrifice, denial, etc. Have you trained rather than done something else? Trained when you didn't want to? Trained even though you were sore, hurting, sick?

To me, the line between hobbyist and martial artist or martial practitioner or whatever wording you want to use to signify a "serious" martial artist comes in how the martial arts expand into their life. The hobbyist goes to class on Monday & Wednesday. Maybe practices a few minutes here and there but doesn't really dedicate time outside class. But it's just "a thing" and you could pretty much substitute bowling, basketball, camera club, whatever, and not see any difference. That more serious martial artist? Cut the martial arts out, and you see holes. Not just a schedule gap and closet space, but holes outside of that schedule.

Of course, there's a range in that serious level, too. Some it's a very big factor, and they build their life around their training. Others, it's just a "big part of who they are." Please take note, though... this isn't necessarily about money. You can be a serious martial artist and not make a dime at it... or maybe you make your living teaching the arts.
 

Danny T

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Are you defining a martial artist by the movie script, by how some who have trained in the martial arts trained, or by dictionary. Some are hobbyists, some are lifestylists. But if one trains and is skilled in a martial art then he/she is a martial artist. Not all are the same
 
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Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

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Are you defining a martial artist by the movie script, by how some who have trained in the martial arts trained, or by dictionary. Some are hobbyists, some are lifestylists. But if one trains and is skilled in a martial art then he/she is a martial artist. Not all are the same

No, I am not defining it by a movie definition, I am not actually defining it at all, I am asking what does it mean to be a martial artist.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Then if they train once a week, once a month once every 6 months... are they still a martial artist? If they train exclusively by watching YouTube Videos...are they still a martial artists? If they make up their own style based on movies and DVDs or train with only DVDs...are they still a martial artist?
 

Blindside

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As far as I am concerned if you think you study martial arts you can call yourself a martial artist. You might suck, but you get the title anyway.

At what point does someone become a tennis player? I would say about the time they had a free match with someone else. Many so called martial arts never get to the point of actually fighting and they get to take the title for themselves so I say we expand it to the newbiest of newbies.
 

donald1

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I dont know... I call my self s martial artist, I practice kata, bunkai, kumite, kobudo and other forms. I may never compare myself to people like matsumura sokon or higaonna kanryo ,but I dont need to. I practice, I take it seriously, I put in the effort and dont give up. I believe I am. Im sure you all think you are martial artists too.

Like what steve said, a simple answer sounds good. I guess anyone who practices the arts could say they too are martial arts.

In my opinion it seems like the same. Hobbyist/martial artist. Having interest in it simply motivates the person to want to further martial arts.

EDIT: like the philosopher ren矇 decartes once said "I think therefor I am" (cogito ergo sum)
 
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Steve

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Then if they train once a week, once a month once every 6 months... are they still a martial artist? If they train exclusively by watching YouTube Videos...are they still a martial artists? If they make up their own style based on movies and DVDs or train with only DVDs...are they still a martial artist?
Sure. Why not? Might not be very skilled martial artists.

Is someone who plays a guitar a musician? I'd say so, even if they don't play all that well.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Sure. Why not? Might not be very skilled martial artists.

Is someone who plays a guitar a musician? I'd say so, even if they don't play all that well.

I disagree, I played guitar (I was so-so), but I never called myself a musician, nor did I, or do I call someone a musician who is just learning, they are a student of music, but not a musician. I play didgeridoo and I am pretty good at it, still don't think I'm a musician. I am learning the Ukulele and I still do not call myself a musician. To me that would require a level of skill, experience and exposure that I do not have and I tend to look at "Martial Artist" much the same way
 
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Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

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As far as I am concerned if you think you study martial arts you can call yourself a martial artist. You might suck, but you get the title anyway.

At what point does someone become a tennis player? I would say about the time they had a free match with someone else. Many so called martial arts never get to the point of actually fighting and they get to take the title for themselves so I say we expand it to the newbiest of newbies.

People can call themselves whatever they want, but it does not make it so. I've played tennis, or my version of it, but that does not, to me, make me a tennis player. But then I have been told by more than one person, in reference to such things, that I am too old school. And as far as martial arts goes I have been told by Chinese people I am more Chinese than they are in my thinking on such things...just another way of saying to old fashioned
 

Danny T

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No, I am not defining it by a movie definition, I am not actually defining it at all, I am asking what does it mean to be a martial artist.
If one trains and is skilled in a martial art then he/she is a martial artist. There are those who are training in a martial art but are not considered skilled as yet. They are training or studying a martial art. An artist is one who is 'skilled' or is very good at what they are doing. For most it doesn't take long to gain some level of skill. At that moment they become an artist.
 

Steve

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I disagree, I played guitar (I was so-so), but I never called myself a musician, nor did I, or do I call someone a musician who is just learning, they are a student of music, but not a musician. I play didgeridoo and I am pretty good at it, still don't think I'm a musician. I am learning the Ukulele and I still do not call myself a musician. To me that would require a level of skill, experience and exposure that I do not have and I tend to look at "Martial Artist" much the same way
okay. I guess we have different thoughts on the matter. I would consider you a musician. Maybe not a very good one, but a musician nonetheless. But to be clear, this is just my thought, since you asked.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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We should put martial artist, scholar, scientist, engineer, ... on the same level. The batcher of art (BA) require 4 years of college study with about 120 hours credit total. The master of art (MA) will require 2 more years after that. IMO, if anybody can be called as "artist", it will be just like Mr. or Mrs., it will have no value.

I'll never call myself a martial artist. I just like to train how to land my fist on my opponent's face. No matter which angle that I may look at the following picture, I just don't see much art there.


fist_meets_face.jpg
 
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yak sao

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I've never been a big fan of the term, "martial artist".

I don't know, maybe it just sounds kind of pretentious to me, or worse, we are taking something that was developed for maiming and destroying and trying to hang pretty lace curtains on it.
By using the term "art, we could also, potentially be setting people up for failure. One person's art may be another person's scribbling...we've all heard the adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" .
If we take away the absolutes of what is effective and what is not and bring fighting into the land of relativism then you have all kinds of nonsense springing up in the name of "martial arts expression".
 

yak sao

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But then I'm getting kind of old and crotchety of late.
 

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