The good old battle of the Martial Arts! Which Martial Art is the best? This is a natural question for someone who is new to the world of Martial Arts. I believe that the person is actually asking, “Which Martial Art will endow me with the most effective fighting abilities?”. For some reason, people believe in the notion that one Martial Art is superior to another. I’d like to shed some light on this myth and help to reinforce the values of individual effort, hard-work and dedication.
It seems that we are in constant pursuit of hacks that will shorten our paths to success. This is not an admirable pursuit to me. There is no quick fix to anything in life. We simply must put in the hard yards and the work required to reach our goals. We need to gain experience so that we can enrich ourselves and leverage this experience when the need arises. Personally, I like to look back at all the hard work and dedication that has led me to where I am today. If I happen to attain a rank which did not cost me blood, sweat, and tears, I don’t get that satisfying feeling of accomplishment and achievement.
Which Martial Art below will prevail, Kung fu or Karate? The answer is neither. It is neither Kung fu nor Karate, the Martial Arts, that is competing. It is the Martial Artists who are facing off. The Martial Artist that has trained harder or the one that possesses the strongest determination to triumph will prevail.
Hypothetical Martial Art Questions
I am sorry, but I cringe when someone asks me about who would win if a black belt in Karate faced off with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The outcome of such a contest has little to do with the Martial Art studied by either participant. The outcome will be decided by who has trained harder to acquire the skills offered by their Martial Art and who is more determined to win. It boils down to the individual, not the individual’s Martial Art.
Martial Arts Grandeur
I have seen many a Martial Arts practitioner who has bought in to the delusion that their Martial Art reigns supreme over all other Martial Arts. They begin to idolise their Martial Art which starts to hold them back from truly progressing. This stems from their own insecurity about whether they are truly excellent or whether they are able to overcome other Martial Artists. They begin to identify themselves by their Martial Art so that they can feel like they are part of this whole. Another fallacy! Martial Arts is an individualistic endeavour. It is you alone that is climbing to the top of the Martial Arts mountain and although you may receive help on the way, it is still your journey. It is never our journey.
There is nothing wrong with being proud of your Martial Art. I am proud of my Martial Art, its lineage, and my dojo kin. I am not, however, deluded in thinking that because I train in this system, I am better than the proponents of another system. If anything, I retain the belief that there are those that have been training longer and working harder than me which drives me to exert more effort into my training. Over and above this, I want to be a better Martial Artist today than I was yesterday.
Defaming other Martial Arts
I see this all the time. People who have little to no knowledge of a fighting system preside over how useless a Martial Art is, as if they are the experts. This has got to stop! The debate over whether Mixed Martial Arts is better than traditional Martial Arts and vice versa is another debate that has gained much traction in recent years. This is a fruitless, self-serving, and time-consuming debate which is often perpetuated by those who really have no experience in Martial Arts. “Why is this fruitless?”, you might ask. It is a useless debate because victory is based on the individual and not the individual’s Martial Art.
This sort of behaviour is also contradictory to the values and principles of Martial Arts. The study of Martial Arts is a pursuit for perfection of character. Insulting and arguing over trivial subjects is not a sign of good character.
Please forgive me for the rant but sometimes you can’t have peace without war. We receive nothing by belittling others and other Martial Arts.
Release yourself from the Martial Arts boundaries that you have created. Seek the true essence of Martial Arts. Respect others and other Martial Arts. Don’t subscribe to quick fixes and enjoy the journey of self-improvement and self-mastery.
In my humble opinion, Martial Arts is about mastering the self. It is your own pursuit, and it is true that your experience of Martial Arts will be unique to you. It’s up to you to find what works for you and to do this, you need to have an open mind, embody humility, and possess a growth mindset.
“Who you are as a Martial Artist today will be different from the Martial Artist that you become in a month or a years’ time, provided that you are consistently growing and learning.”
~ Martial Devotee
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