I have been having loads of discussions with my students lately before class. One topic that has come up repeatedly, is the question,
“How do I define what I do?”
For a long time, I would simply reply, “I am a martial arts coach.” But increasingly I feel this term doesn’t fully encapsulate what I am about (now), and where I intend to go in the future, or even for that matter what I really feel is the ultimate utility of the expression to begin with.
There is no doubt that the world of martial arts has changed. I started teaching Karate around the age of 17 — and now in my 26th year of teaching, I have seen this change first hand. In the past couple of decades martial arts has gone through various stages of excitement. Today, for the most part, two streams seem to be the most prevalent, that of reality based self defence systems and the competitive based approaches (BJJ, MMA et al.)
While none of us possess infallible control or perfect virtue, as martial artists, inescapably tied to those warriors who have already walked the path—we owe it to them, and to ourselves to strive towards achieving excellence. Here excellence refers to more than just ones fighting ability. Sadly, so many modern martial artists focus exclusively on their martial skill as a measure of excellence, losing sight of the fact that historically true warriorship was measured as being far more than just ones ability to fight.