Are Martial Artists are Odd?

Kids Martial Arts in Bradenton - Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy

We, as martial artists, often make the mistake of assuming everyone sees things the way we do. Try to understand, we see the world through Black Belt eyes. Because of that, we tend to think everyone “gets us.” We think everyone understands all about martial arts, forgetting that it’s a different culture, and a different world than the “normal” world. It’s more than just knowing how belt tests work, tip testing, how to practice and train and how things are done, “In the dojo.” It’s more than understanding all the complicated martial arts etiquette and manners. We understand the work ethic required to accomplish what we want, how to discipline ourselves through those moments of doubt, tedious work and difficulty, to make ourselves do whatever is necessary to succeed. We walk with an air of quiet confidence due to our lack of fear that some people, who don’t understand our confidence, might perceive as arrogance. We treat people with a level of formality that is uncommon in today’s world, like bowing as we greet people and saying “Sir” and “Ma’am.” We show respect to everyone, knowing that a warrior’s true character can be judged by how well he or she treats the people least important to him or her. Our constant drive for excellence makes us push and push ourselves past what most people would think is normal, or even reasonable.

Some would say, we live in a bubble. I personally love this bubble. Here in our martial arts culture, there is no prejudice, there is no judgment, only acceptance to those willing to work and train hard, and to those who aren’t willing, there is still acceptance that they are taking their first step, and that we can help them, and that we will grow stronger because we help them. It is a world without suggestive or inappropriate behavior. In our world, we don’t use vulgarity or speak about inappropriate things. Most martial artists don’t drink or they do so very rarely. No real martial artist would do anything as potentially damaging to the brain or body as drugs or smoking, and in our world, we live with impulse control and a respect for others. So much so that it makes the emotional and physical abuse so common on television and in the news, an oddity to us.

We aren’t snobs about it though, that would be against our code. We know that none of this makes us better than anyone else. Not in the least. Life is an experiential thing and we all have our own path. We do think that the martial arts culture is a welcome and comfortable culture. We do think that the world could use more respect, more politeness, more confidence and less inappropriateness, but we will never preach to others, instead, we just live our lives, trying to lead by example. The example of warriors, fighting our own internal battles, striving for personal excellence and competing every single day, to be better than who we were, yesterday. I suppose in today’s world that is a little odd.

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