What Defines a Martial Artist?

Nowadays, many people study some form of martial arts whether it be Brazilian Jiu -Jitsu, Muay Thai, karate, etc. Does that automatically make the person a “martial artist”? If someone takes endless hours of martial arts, should they consider themselves a martial artist? Is it because they learned how to throw a punch or a kick? In some cases the question will answer itself. There are many different disciplines involved when learning an art such as Wing Chun or any other authentic kung fu style for that matter. It’s not a hobby, it’s a way of life that teaches more than just how to fight. The mental strength and self discipline that comes with it is one of the most powerful aspects. We are designed to fight with our minds, and to create with our hands. With that being said, a good martial artist will rarely ever have to fight. Are all MMA fighters martial artists? Most of them probably are. Although some fighters are just fighters that know how to mix things up with a lot of striking, wrestling, and grappling. Knowing how to fight does not make anyone a martial artist, and being a competitive gritty fighter is completely different. I’m not saying the gritty will not prevail because we all know it usually does, but there is a difference in lifestyle. Some fighters are in tuned with the warrior spirit accompanied with traditional styles and values where the training starts from the moment they get out of bed. Strength training is taken to another level when the body is studied from within and the ability to do more than what was done yesterday is now a reality. When coming from a traditional martial arts background such as a Japanese, or Chinese martial art, it is very likely the characteristics of a martial artist is embedded within the individual. It also doesn’t mean a martial artist will not make bad decisions on any given night and completely trash a hotel room. When an individual takes the time and dedicates their life in learning a martial art that’s half the battle. Learning, progressing, then teaching is the journey into the end result. So what is it that truly defines a martial artist? If you’ve been paying attention then you already know.