What does it mean to be a martial artist?

kuniggety

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No, that person could be a "martial student" or a "martial trainee" or maybe a "martialist" but, using your logic, anyone who taking a painting class would also be an "artist"

An "artist" has enough passion and commitment to devote enough time and effort (often making huge sacrifices) that take his/her chosen craft to a level not attainable by the casual dabbler.

For me, another HUGE part of being a martial artist is understanding the gift of those who preserved the knowledge. and demonstrating that appreciation through respecting their traditions and protocols.

So a child who picks up some chalk and draws their little vision of reality on the sidewalk is not an artist? At what point are they "deserving" enough to be called an artist?

That's some sanctimonious crap right there.

To echo Steve, at what point in a person's training can they be referred to as a martial artist? I don't care if someone has been training for a year, 10 yrs, or 50 yrs. If they've started walking the line of a martial artist, I'll refer to them as such.
 

Steve

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So a child who picks up some chalk and draws their little vision of reality on the sidewalk is not an artist? At what point are they "deserving" enough to be called an artist?

That's some sanctimonious crap right there.

To echo Steve, at what point in a person's training can they be referred to as a martial artist? I don't care if someone has been training for a year, 10 yrs, or 50 yrs. If they've started walking the line of a martial artist, I'll refer to them as such.
This is similar to the aikidoka vs aikidoist thing.
 
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Mou Meng Gung Fu

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So, at what belt level should one begin referring to oneself as a martial artist? Blue belt? Black belt? does a person who trains a couple times a week for fun ever attain this lofty title?

This really tickles my funny bone.

In my opinion, nobody can tell you when you have become a martial artist. Could be when you are a white belt. Could be when you're a black belt. I think it's personal anyway. Nobody has to tell you. It's just one of those things. You can deceive others, but you can't deceive yourself. This being said, I think you'll know when you've made that commitment. Remember that the goal we're trying to reach is supposedly unattainable. The goal of a martial artist should be perfection. Is anybody here perfect yet? I know I'm not. Therefore, how do I know when I became a martial artist for 100% sure? I know it was the moment I decided never to give up the goal, no matter how impossible it is.
 
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Mou Meng Gung Fu

Mou Meng Gung Fu

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If I remember right, gung fu just means "hard work", or "skill achieved through hard work". If that's right, that could apply to almost literally anything.

I'm not sure how others feel about your statement there, but as for myself, I couldn't agree more. ;)
 

Tez3

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You can deceive others, but you can't deceive yourself

I'd say that quite often it's the other way around. Many people deceive themselves.

The goal of a martial artist should be perfection

I'm not sure about that either, it sounds a lofty goal but is it something we should be aiming at? Sometimes high and mighty words aren't what cuts it in life. One's actions speak louder than words, sometimes it's fine to be 'good enough'.
 
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Mou Meng Gung Fu

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I'd say that quite often it's the other way around. Many people deceive themselves.



I'm not sure about that either, it sounds a lofty goal but is it something we should be aiming at? Sometimes high and mighty words aren't what cuts it in life. One's actions speak louder than words, sometimes it's fine to be 'good enough'.

Good tea... Thank you. :)
 

Saheim

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So a child who picks up some chalk and draws their little vision of reality on the sidewalk is not an artist? At what point are they "deserving" enough to be called an artist?

That's some sanctimonious crap right there.

To echo Steve, at what point in a person's training can they be referred to as a martial artist? I don't care if someone has been training for a year, 10 yrs, or 50 yrs. If they've started walking the line of a martial artist, I'll refer to them as such.

Uh.... NO, of course not. Nor is a kid who takes a wild swing at another kid a "fighter".

You can call whoever whatever you want, it don't make it so. I don't believe in participation trophies but as long as you do, you may consider me a "race car driver" because I sped yesterday.

I just looked up the word "artist" to make sure I wasn't being "sanctimonious". It says - a person SKILLED at a particular task or occupation. It doesn't say - a person who half heartedly tried something a little bit.
 

drop bear

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If you do martial arts. You are a martial artist.

If you race cars. You are a race car driver.

Is this some sort of trick question?
 

Buka

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After meditating for about an hour, I decided to make this thread. This is an open discussion. All perspectives and opinions are welcome (so long as they stay on topic and reflect the title of the thread). I'm going to share my point of view, but I welcome everyone to share their own views as well. Here are the questions I'd like you to ask yourself and try to answer intelligently to the best of your abilities:

#1 - What does it mean to be a martial artist?
#2 - What are the physical characteristics of a martial artist?
#3 - What are the emotional characteristics of a martial artist?
#4 - What is martial art?
#5 - What are the behavioral characteristics of a martial artist?
#6 - What are the training characteristics of a martial artist?

I'd like you to reflect on these questions and try to answer these things the best way you can. If you want to present an opinion in listed form (#1-#6), that's fine. If you think you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone, go right ahead. There's no set way to answer all of these questions, so I invite everyone's approach to this topic. Just please no trolling, one-liners, meme-ing, insulting or heated arguments. I'd like for this thread to stay on topic. It would be nice to have a friendly and intelligible conversation on this forum for once. Please and thank you ahead of time.

You get to wear some really cool gis and t-shirts, and you get to be choked and punched in the face a lot.
But it's all good, because it's a whole lot of fun.
 

marques

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If I remember right, gung fu just means "hard work", or "skill achieved through hard work". If that's right, that could apply to almost literally anything.
Could be, but most of us will associate that to Chinese martial arts or Jackie Chan, before "hard work".

Similarly, Krav Maga just means close combat, right? All close combat can be called KM? Trouble with names again and again... :)

To keep on topic, martial artist is someone that studies fighting, mainly unarmed fighting or with/against white weapons. For self defence purpose I would replace fighting by conflict.
 
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Saheim

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So, at what belt level should one begin referring to oneself as a martial artist? Blue belt? Black belt? does a person who trains a couple times a week for fun ever attain this lofty title?

This really tickles my funny bone.

The less they train, the longer it takes. "for fun" is a vague term so hard to say if that would entail taking it seriously enough.

The definition of "artist" is - person skilled in a particular task or occupation.

So "skill" plays a part but (imho) so does passion, commitment, desire. Without these things, NO, a person is not a martial artist. They're just a hobbyist or (more appropriately) a tourist.

Hey, I get it. This is a feel good place where everybody wins just for showing up. A guy can strike out every time he swings a bat and not care enough to practice before his next game, but it's ok, he's a "baseball player".

Now, on the other hand, if that same guy is doing "axe chops" in the gym, working on accuracy drills, studying the mechanics of the game, and the first thing he thinks about when he wakes up is how to get better BUT he still strikes out. Yea, that guy is a baseballer, crappy one who loses a lot, but wtvr! He's willing to invest chunks of his soul into something he loves. THAT is art.
 

Balrog

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After meditating for about an hour, I decided to make this thread. This is an open discussion. All perspectives and opinions are welcome (so long as they stay on topic and reflect the title of the thread). I'm going to share my point of view, but I welcome everyone to share their own views as well. Here are the questions I'd like you to ask yourself and try to answer intelligently to the best of your abilities:

#1 - What does it mean to be a martial artist?
If someone practices a fighting skill of some sort, one can be considered a martial artist.
#2 - What are the physical characteristics of a martial artist?
#3 - What are the emotional characteristics of a martial artist?
I'll answer these two together. There are no defining physical characteristics. One person might be in his late 60s and somewhat overweight, one might be in his mid-40s in a wheelchair, one might not even have hit puberty yet.

Emotional characteristics do have some commonalities. Martial artists are (overall) calmer and more aware of their surroundings. They exhibit courtesy and respect to everyone.
#4 - What is martial art?
Martial derives from Mars, the Roman god of war and means anything related to combat. Art is something taken to a higher level. Therefore, one could say that martial arts means combat taken to a higher level.
#5 - What are the behavioral characteristics of a martial artist?
#6 - What are the training characteristics of a martial artist?
A strong dedication to self-improvement, both mentally and physically.


My $0.02 worth... :)
 

Xue Sheng

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What does it mean to be a martial artist?

A person who practices a martial art.....

And to answer the question..."What does it mean to be a martial artist?" from a TCMA point of view......'Hard Work'

Note: In Chinese martial arts is Wushu and hard work is Kung Fu. Also there are no belt ranks in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts.
 

Tez3

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The less they train, the longer it takes.
Length of time often has nothing to do with how long you train, it took nine years for me to get my 1st Dan, that was training two to three times a week and often weekends. It simply takes that long in the style I was doing.

So "skill" plays a part but (imho) so does passion, commitment, desire. Without these things, NO, a person is not a martial artist. They're just a hobbyist or (more appropriately) a tourist

I don't know anyone who does martial arts who is a hobbyist, the very nature of martial arts stops it being like that. No one does a hard physical activity with multiple chances of being hurt and doesn't have a passion for it. Martial arts isn't for those who just turn up and 'attend'.

Hey, I get it. This is a feel good place where everybody wins just for showing up.

Well, in many ways you do win if you turn up, as I said no one turns up for martial arts and just coasts in it, you get sweaty, you get hurt and you get exhausted so yes you do win, it may be a small victory but it's there because you are one day nearer your goal.

It's far too easy to mock people who don't train for hours every week but these people...us!... have lives and families, they have to balance earning a living with looking after the bills etc all the while trying to fit their passion for training in. How much better if we just accept that people are doing the best they can, don't put them down because they aren't doing as much training as you are ( even though they'd love to) and say well done to everyone who walks through the training hall/dojo/whatever door and gives their best.
 

Saheim

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Length of time often has nothing to do with how long you train, it took nine years for me to get my 1st Dan, that was training two to three times a week and often weekends. It simply takes that long in the style I was doing.



I don't know anyone who does martial arts who is a hobbyist, the very nature of martial arts stops it being like that. No one does a hard physical activity with multiple chances of being hurt and doesn't have a passion for it. Martial arts isn't for those who just turn up and 'attend'.



Well, in many ways you do win if you turn up, as I said no one turns up for martial arts and just coasts in it, you get sweaty, you get hurt and you get exhausted so yes you do win, it may be a small victory but it's there because you are one day nearer your goal.

It's far too easy to mock people who don't train for hours every week but these people...us!... have lives and families, they have to balance earning a living with looking after the bills etc all the while trying to fit their passion for training in. How much better if we just accept that people are doing the best they can, don't put them down because they aren't doing as much training as you are ( even though they'd love to) and say well done to everyone who walks through the training hall/dojo/whatever door and gives their best.

I've bolded four sections of your post:

(1) I have also trained in styles where rank moves SLOW. You don't think that, had you trained less, it would've taken you longer?

(2) You're right, it shouldn't be, but they're out there and I wouldn't use the word "Artist" to describe them

(3) Who did I mock? I don't call somebody by a title they feel they warrant and that is mocking them?

(4) Put them down? Again..... that's a negative.

But I'm done explaining my definition of the word. You like yours, use it. I will continue to use mine.
 

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No, that person could be a "martial student" or a "martial trainee" or maybe a "martialist" but, using your logic, anyone who taking a painting class would also be an "artist"

An "artist" has enough passion and commitment to devote enough time and effort (often making huge sacrifices) that take his/her chosen craft to a level not attainable by the casual dabbler.

For me, another HUGE part of being a martial artist is understanding the gift of those who preserved the knowledge. and demonstrating that appreciation through respecting their traditions and protocols.
The word "art" in "martial arts" isn't the same usage as with "fine arts". So, no, I don't think it's equivalent to calling a student of painting an "artist". It's more like calling someone who paints a "painter", IMO. The term doesn't carry any indication of their skill level, though if they suck badly at it, we'd all know what someone meant if they said, "No, she's not really much of a painter."
 

Tez3

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(1) I have also trained in styles where rank moves SLOW. You don't think that, had you trained less, it would've taken you longer?

The time I had for training was the time I could train. Quite simply I had a shift working job, 12 hour shifts, two days on, two nights and four days off. I had two children and a home to run as well as look after a sick mother. In the job I did I didn't always finished after 12 hours, often the shift would go onto 18 hours, I was also sent on deployments, and 'surges' ( sent where needed when something had happened). My life wasn't so different from many martial artists, we do what we can when we can. There has to be balance if at all possible.

(2) You're right, it shouldn't be, but they're out there and I wouldn't use the word "Artist" to describe them

Who actually cares what we call them?

(3) Who did I mock? I don't call somebody by a title they feel they warrant and that is mocking them?

'Martial artists' is NOT a title, it's not awarded, it's not earnt, it's just a description some use. Use whatever words you want, it doesn't matter. Everyone is doing their own thing in their own way, no reason to be snotty about how others train.
 

Gerry Seymour

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This is similar to the aikidoka vs aikidoist thing.
Perhaps. It is, to me, but perhaps the actual meaning of the "ka" in Japanese carries a connotation of skill and experience. I don't use it that way, but if that's what the suffix means in Japanese, then the distinction is more in the use of the term. Perhaps an equivalent distinction would be the word "psychologist". From a linguistic approach, it simply means one who studies/practices psychology. However, in actual use it's a reserved word that normally only applies to someone with a doctorate. Perhaps "ka" has a similar connotation.

Just musings. I'm not sure it matters much to me, except as an intellectual pondering. If using "Aikidoka" for any student is incorrect, then I'm routinely incorrect in my usage.
 

Gerry Seymour

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In my opinion, nobody can tell you when you have become a martial artist. Could be when you are a white belt. Could be when you're a black belt. I think it's personal anyway. Nobody has to tell you. It's just one of those things. You can deceive others, but you can't deceive yourself. This being said, I think you'll know when you've made that commitment. Remember that the goal we're trying to reach is supposedly unattainable. The goal of a martial artist should be perfection. Is anybody here perfect yet? I know I'm not. Therefore, how do I know when I became a martial artist for 100% sure? I know it was the moment I decided never to give up the goal, no matter how impossible it is.
My goal has never been perfection. That seems a frustrating goal to me. Does that mean I'm not a martial artist? I started out as a curious kid, and just kept going to class. At what point did I just keep coming enough to become a martial artist?
 
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