Real or Fake Martial arts

 Part 1. Who are you?

There is a matter of debate always and many people give their opinion on the issue. Their opinion is based obviously on their experience and information. Some people’s experience is limited to reading books or watching YouTube videos, other’s experience extends to a few training classes, other are influenced by movies and the opinion of other people they perceive as being knowledgeable and experienced. Our experience and knowledge is like a pair of glasses put between us and the reality. We never actually see the reality.  Everything we see or hear  is NOT the truth but it represents a perspective. A “spiritual” person will look ar martial arts wearing the Buddhist or Taoist or Christian glasses. A MMA fighter will wear the cage glasses and a soldier will obviously will have a very different perspective. So then where is the truth?  It all depends on perspective and context.

What is a real martial art then? How can a beginner tell the difference? Where should he go? What should he do? I’ll try to shed some light on the matter from my own perspective.


When I first started, being a very weak guy, my purpose was to become stronger and to gain confidence. Fighting in competitions was actually pretty low on my list. At that point pretty much everybody was stronger than I. That was of my experience however. A strong guy for example would not have these problems so his priorities might differ. The purpose of your training ( well anyway what you actually imagine is your purpose) will decide the kind of gym you will look for.

Your own psychology will also have a say in it. Generally speaking different gyms attract different people. There is an Aikido crowd very different from the Boxing crowd. I am stereotyping here for the sake of the argument as I know of course that there are exceptions out there. Here are some types of people I’ve encountered in my teaching experience:

The Athlete

An athlete, be it a football player, basketball player or rugby player is generally speaking a strong and very competitive person. I am sure anybody would have major problems going against a rugby player. Even without fighting knowledge he can be a pretty darn tough opponent. They usually respect others and play a fair game. They understand that the role of an instructor is to make  them  be better.

The spiritual guy

Looking always for some Buddhist or Taoist meaning hidden behind every punch or technique. He is sincerely looking to get enlightened by practicing martial arts. Tends to gravitate towards spiritual martial arts and not at all into western fighting methods that he perceive to be somehow less spiritual. His decisions are influenced by movies, spiritual books and his own imagination. Pretty much submissive towards a higher authority he perceives to be “more enlightened” than he is.

The fighter

This guy might not be and athlete and certainly not a spiritual person. In this guy there is a fire burning strong and there is a high degree of uncontrolled aggressiveness in his heart. He feels the need to express it and feels comfortable in a violent environment where he feels like constantly proving himself. He is the type guy who will challenge his instructor.

The killer

This type of guy is a quiet person who can control his anger, learns from anybody, does not make public his opinions and doesn’t want to prove anything. He will patiently wait and kill you one year after you intentionally scratched his car, or, he will be a life long friend who will do anything for you.

The “I wanna know  guy”

He just wants to try everything, never fully commits himself to one path, always full of questions, wanting to know everything, to compare all the time , always searching something better. He does not have the patience nor the desire to listen because he already “knows”. He is driving instructors crazy with all the questions and usually quits after few month. He usually doesn’t have respect for the instructors seeing them as mere tools that he can use for his own benefit.

The beauty of the Martial Arts way is that people can see themselves into the mirror and change through practice. Of course If they want as change cannot be forced upon people against their will.

written by Adrian Tautan

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