“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
This is a quote from the martial artist, actor-turned-philosopher, Bruce Lee.
Lee accurately portrays martial arts as a way of life consisting of discipline, mental focus and physical agility.
Over the past couple years, I’ve asked myself, ‘What is martial arts? When will I become a martial artist and when will I know I am a martial artist?’
Let us take a few moments to answer these questions. Over the past three years, I have coined a definition of what I believe martial arts to be.
I believe martial arts is what you make it. Most see martial arts as a full contact sport and others see it as an art form. I believe martial arts is the mastery of using very little to accomplish a lot.
There has always been the belief that martial arts is violent and counterproductive to the pursuit of peace. But martial arts is not about using power or force, but using will and bravery to reciprocate dangerous situations. Some call it self-defense, I call it explosive fear. Furthermore, when can I call myself a martial artist?
Some people say that when you begin to dream in a second language, you have mastered the language. I wonder if the same goes for martial arts.
If I were to dream of myself and Bruce Lee as a crime-fighting duo, bringing criminals to justice, maybe then I will have mastered martial arts. One of my martial arts instructors, my sensei, once said to me, “You will have only learned the basics when you get your first black belt.”
I felt a little discouraged when he said this to me, but I have learned that martial arts is not about knowing the skill, but knowing when to apply the skill. In marital arts, simplicity is the key to success.
So when will I know I am a martial artist? I will know when the pain is knowledge and I practice better than I perform.
There is a very interesting motto in the martial art I practice, “Maximum efficiency, mutual benefit.”
It is the idea that if my training partner lets me perform a skill on them, whether a kick, punch or a throw, I am more likely to feel and understand what the skill is and how I can improve it and vice versa.
I will end by saying martial arts is not about punching or kicking the hardest or even hurting the other person; it is about perfecting one’s character, avoiding all kicking and punching.
This is the opinion of Monika Agbonkhese.