The Death Of The Martial Artist (How To Tell If You Still Are One)
Originally written and posted on Oct 5, 2015. Re-posted here by the Dynasty Team.
Martial arts is dead.
It has become common and mainstream for kids and adults alike these days to train in combat sports such as MMA and modernized martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, rather than the more traditional forms of martial arts such as Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, and so on and so forth.
While there is certainly nothing wrong in training MMA and BJJ (in fact we highly recommend them for their effectiveness in real fighting), the high degree of focus on sports competition and winning at all costs in MMA and BJJ - often come at a price when it comes to developing and cultivating individual morals, values, and ethics - perhaps more so than others.
Is anybody a true martial artist anymore?
This is true for some coaches, and especially true when it comes to aggressive competitors. Nowadays, trash talking, disrespect, picking fights, and wild use of profanity seems to be tolerated, and even awarded.
- Renzo Gracie, one of the most popular BJJ instructors in the sport, has actually spit on his opponents in past MMA bouts, stomped on other people's heads in brawls, and picked street fights with club bouncers in NYC. That is clearly not a positive role model for his students, or society for that matter.
Simple martial arts values like being respectful and courteous of others, minding our language, greeting each other, shaking hands and thanking each other after a match seem to have disappeared.
High school bullies who used to pick on other kids, have now become Jiu Jitsu bullies who smash on hobbyists and non-competitors, get special preferential treatment and protection from their coaches, carry themselves with their noses in the air, and only care about chasing the next gold medal or the next big win. Getting more fans, followers, sponsors, and free gear seem to be the only thing that concerns them. Their coaches are only concerned about promoting their schools, selling memberships, and making more money.
- Lloyd Irvin, a BJJ instructor and master internet marketer, has largely been exposed by the BJJ community as a cult-like leader who brainwashes his students and promotes rape culture within his schools.
On the professional levels, drug abuse (Jon Jones) and outright cheating is even acceptable, as long as you have money and popularity (Vitor Belfort), and / or can spin it somehow with WWE promo cutting skills (Chael Sonnen).
- Jon Jones, while widely considered as the greatest UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of all time and a pound for pound great, has convicted multiple felonies including a DUI and a hit and run, and has been busted for cocaine use. The irony is not lost - as he has admitted in the past to have snitched on his friends for smoking marijuana. He has avoided jail time as a result of his status as a celebrity and fighter.
- Vitor Belfort is a known cheater, having been busted multiple times for performance enhancing drugs. He is still allowed to fight and compete despite popular belief that he continues to cheat.
- Thanks to his mouth, Chael Sonnen has been able to talk his way out of suspensions and was even gifted title shots. One of the most notorious cheaters in the sport, he abused performance enhancing drugs so much that he had to retire from competition after the athletic commissions no longer allowed "therapeutic use exemptions".
Admirable, respectful martial artists like Fedor Emelianenko, Georges St-Pierre, and Lyoto Machida have already exited or are on their way out of the limelight, no longer the idols or role models of the general public, and only to a few hardcore fans.
- Fedor Emelianenko is a former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, and widely accepted as the greatest heavyweight fighter to ever have fought MMA, and the #1 pound for pound greatest fighter of all time. He has almost always maintained a calm, stoic composure and remained a respectful martial artist.
- Former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre rarely talked trash, showed true martial arts values, and was always a humble and respectful competitor. Greasing allegations aside, he is widely regarded as the greatest welterweight MMA fighter of all time, and one of the pound for pound greats.
- Lyoto Machida is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, known for showing the world that Karate can be used effectively in MMA. He is a true martial artist in every sense of the word, and not a day goes by where he does not train to improve himself as a martial artist. He does not talk trash, and prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.
So in 2015 - how can you tell if someone is still a true martial artist?
Let's take a look at the 5 ways we can identity a true martial artist - regardless of the discipline they practice.
1. They are humble, honest, and respectful, to everyone.
It doesn't matter to them if you are the janitor, the receptionist, the white belt newbie, the blue belt hobbyist, or the world class BJJ black belt ADCC champion celebrity coach. They greet and treat everyone with the same amount of courtesy and respect. Not just the first time, not just the second time, but every time.
2. They remain patient and calm when dealing with problems or enemies.
They don't lose their cool. They don't throw a fit or a temper tantrum when they get submitted in a roll, lose a match, or get injured. They are patient when it comes to dealing with setbacks, confrontation, conflict, disagreements, or enemies.
3. They don't use their skills to bully others.
When sparring or training with others with a significant skill gap between them, they don't bully others by brutally knocking out their training partners, pushing smaller training partners around, or rolling excessively hard and pulling off violent and forceful submissions that can easily injure others.
4. They show sportsmanship and good degree of control.
In a match, they kick ass, and after beating their opponents, show sportsmanship and respect to the other competitor. They don't foul their opponents, fight dirty, cheat, hit them after the bell, or crank on a submission to purposely hurt their opponents. If they are confronted on the street, they defend themselves intelligently without the use of excessive force.
5. They are role models who give back to the community and help others.
They carry themselves positively, and make positive life choices that set a good example for others. They give back to the community in some way, perhaps as a teacher or coach, and bring a positive impact on other peoples lives.
- Lyoto Machida showing a sign of respect to his opponent Ryan Bader, after delivering a brutal and impressive knock out.
So how do you, your training partners, friends, instructors, and coaches stack up? Do you uphold the values of a true martial artist, similar to our Dynasty Family members? If you do - we'd like to hear from you, because Dynasty is a brand for martial artists - not bullies.