Are you really a Martial Artist?

I know some readers will not be Martial Artists. If you are not, please indulge me, and you may still find it an interesting question that can be applied to many fields outside martial arts.

People who study a martial art often overlook the term. It is good to remember that we are not Martial Thugs, or Martial Clones.

Of course in the beginning it is wise to follow a teacher and a trusted path, as any artist would. You need to learn some basics and tried and trusted methods.

But in most cases we looking to go past learning a few quick, effective moves to protect ourselves. We are learning an art.

If you are doing an art, you are hopefully aspiring to be an artist. An artist should strive to begin to make what they are taught his or her own. They have to develop thier own style.

There is deep joy in being expressive and creative in the application of a skill that you have spent countless hours honing. I think that there is something divine in those moments of true creativity. When you do or perform something that seemed to come through rather than from you.

We are all different. We have different skills, strengths, weaknesses, injuries, needs and experiences. Your art should be an expression of these.

This shouldn’t mean that you have to disassociate yourself from your teacher and go your own way. A self-assured, humble teacher should be delighted to see you expressing yourself through your art. This of course goes with the caveat of respect for your teacher and your source.

To be creative, you have to assimilate the skills. This takes time and effort.

You then have to relax. If you are tense you will block the creativity. This is true for anything. It is a whole principle of life.

Relaxation is elusive. We all strive for it, and even the striving can bring tension. However, there are tools that you can use.

Your breathing, movement and posture are the main ones.

Of course we can’t all be Bruce Lee, or Michelangelo, or Mozart, or Springsteen. But we can be ourselves.

Roger Bannister, who sadly passed recently, put in very well, “The aim is to move with the greatest possible freedom toward the realization of the best within us,” he wrote in 1955. “This is the quest of a lifetime, and sport plays only a small part in it.”

So are you an aspiring artist in your field? If not I am sure that just that switch in focus to to strive for the relaxation to allow yourself to come through will lead to good things in whatever endeavour you apply it to.

My very best wishes for your training and health,


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