Don't Practice Martial Arts... Be a Martial ArtistWhat's the difference you ask? First off, let me say that these are purely my own definitions, but that I believe they are apt. Once I explain further, you'll probably recognize the differences and know people in both categories.
|Funakoshi, the developer of modern karate|
|Ip Man and Bruce Lee, both Martial Artists|
If you find yourself aligned more with the person who is a practitioner of martial arts, and you want to become a martial artist, don't fret, there is a
1. Keep a Martial Arts Journal.
I've written a couple of posts on how and why to keep a martial arts journal. The end results is by writing things down, you become more conscious of them. You have to observe your art with a keener eye. You'll be actively looking at what is being taught.
2. Read a Book
There are literally hundreds of thousands of books on martial arts. Some deal with a specific art, some with the philosophy, some with history, and some are how to teach martial arts. Read them. This is the active part of your martial education. Your sensei/sifu may be great, but they are still human. Their knowledge is limited. Other people have had different experiences. By learning other's strategies, you grow.
If you're looking for a place to start, I made a list of 5 books every martial artist should have. Pick one. Or five. I know it may sound weird, but when you select a book on Amazon.com, there is a list at the bottom that says "if you like this book, here are some others." I've found really good books I had no idea existed by tracking through the recommended lists. Also, Amazon.com allows people who read the book to post reviews. They will often be more honest and critical of the book then the dust jacket.
|Moses Powell Seminar in November, if you're interested let me know|
Seminars are special things. They allow you to see a different martial philosophy from what you see everyday. Our system has an annual seminar, and even though I go to class 3 times a week, at a our seminars I still am overwhelmed with the amount of new information I'm presented with in such a short amount of time.
One of the problems with studying judo, is you only learn how to defend against judo players. Same thing with Aikido, or Wing Chun, or Penjak Silat, or whatever art you study. Ocassionally, you need to at least see how other people attack and defend themselves. You can also make new martial friends. I've yet to find a dojo that wants to keep themselves isolated. We love it when people come in. I love to talk to other martial artists. I think Martial Artists like to do this as well. If anyone is ever in South Florida, I personally invite you to come check out Atemi ryu Jujutsu, or Chendokan Aikido.
What else differentiates the two? I don't know, what are your examples?