There are a lot of ways to participate in Martial Arts. All of these boil down to 5 Categories.
- Health and Fitness
- Art and Entertainment
- Sport and Competition
- Combat and Self Defense
- Self Improvement and Enlightenment
I would like to talk about these from the bottom up. This list in no particular order and no part is more important that the others.
Self Improvement and Enlightenment
This method is obtainable through any of the other methods or a combination of methods listed above. When done correctly all of the methods should be done as a meditation. Meditation means nothing more than focused practice.
Combat and Self Defense
Self defense means “protecting oneself with reasonable force in order to escape”. This is a legal construct, if you hit anyone for any reason you will have to talk to the police at some point.
Combat means “destroying ones ability to attack” this often ends in maiming or killing your opponent.
This is what our general program is based around at Meng’s of Richmond. We teach the curriculum based on combat so that you can “scale back” to defend yourself instead of leaving you out to dry if you need to escalate up the use of force continuum.
The use of force continuum goes like this
I will discuss this in another post.
Sport and Competition
Sport and Competition includes everything from the UFC to your local open martial arts tournament. This is why you will find me describing people as [insert martial sport activity] players. If you are in a Jiu Jitsu Competition you are a Jiu Jitsu Player. If you are in the Olympics competing in Tae Kwon Do or Judo you are a Tae Kwon Do or Judo player, if you are in a cage to win the UFC Women’s Bantumweight Title (good luck Ronda is a BEAST) you are a Mixed Martial Arts player. A person is only a fighter when they are in a fight. Even if you are training for a fight you still don’t want to train as a fighter. I may get into this in another post.
Art and Entertainment
Forms (or Kata for my Japanese MA brothers and sisters) as performance art (not being judged) and choreography for movies fit in this realm. The Shaw Brothers, Bruce Lee, Jakie Chan, Jet Li, and so on have made this aspect of martial arts once of the most lucrative aspects. They are just as much martial artists as anyone else.
Health and Fitness
Qigong, Tai Chi, Tae bo, Cardio Kickboxing, Insanity, P90x, Focus T25 all fit in this aspect. Martial Arts movements are starting to show up in more and more workout systems because they are some of the best ways to access certain muscles, but remember this is not fighting and you do not want to bet your life on it. The movements in these systems are exaggerated so that you get a better workout. Low heel kicks with your toes pointing strait up, almost any kick with a locked leg, Huge sweeping round kicks, and elbow out “chicken wing” punches are all tools to get you fit not to save your life.
I sound like I am putting these systems down, but I absolutely am not. The last part of this title was and eliminating illusion. I just want to make sure that everyone is training properly for their intentions. Wow this post has opened up so many other possible discussions.
Comment if you are interested in seeing where there discussions go.