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Why You Study Martial Arts? Pls Tell Us.

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  • Why You Study Martial Arts? Pls Tell Us.

    Dear Martial Artists,

    I would personally like to hear your reasons for learning martial arts like kung-fu or wushu, and talk about the basic thoughts of it. I believe other members also have the same interests.

    As for myself, things started a long time ago, back to my junior high school times, when I would see students fighting in my schoolyard. Sometimes an unlucky lad had to fight against three or four bigger students. Those students had the advantage of greater numbers would beat smaller students black and blue, and blood sometimes flowed out of cuts and wounds.

    At the second year in my junior high, as I feared that I would be attacked by some other (bigger) students, I started to study kuntao (another name for kungfu) in a simple family house. It was Southern style. Some seven months passed and I moved to a karate club (Ku-shin Ryu) and then started my kungfu lessons very soon afterwards.

    Moreover, I had always liked martial arts because I used to read pictorial-stories of ancient Chinese heroes when I was about 10 years old.

    You know something? After learning how to fight, I had never had to use my skills to fight against any of my schoolmates. However, I have learnt a great deal from the lessons.

    I would love to hear your story: how and why did you begin your training?

    Yours truly,

  • #2
    i had taken a couple of other styles before but i had a room mate that was the manager of a school and asked me to go in with him and train a couple of times. i thought i could learn a couple of techniques that would help me later if i had to fight so i could really kick the crap outta someone. once i got into the school i learned all about the styles. seven animal styles that differ in many aspects but each were awesome. my friend became my instructor which wasn't as wierd as it may sound because i can differentiate between home and training. the more i learned the more i wanted to learn.
    by the time i recieved my black belt i had dabbled as all students do in all of the seven styles. not knowing all the principles of all the animals but just enough to know i wanted the knowledge. now in my fifteenth year i have learned the principles of three and am learning the fourth animal. three more to go after that, but they get harder and harder to learn as you go up and i like that. that is probably why i don't want to change to other styles when the system i am in is vast enough to keep me learning for another 15 to twenty years.


    • #3
      Thank you, Huey, for telling me about yourself. I am delighted and surprised to know that you have been practicing for so many years.

      What made you think that you would have to fight one day? Have you really had to fight? When practicing how to fight, which animal style do you most often use?

      A bit about me: in fact I am not active anymore now, although I never lose interests in martial arts. I am still learning it, especially the “characters” and the wisdom of the arts. I have never really studied any of the animal styles, and when practicing fighting I used simple and straightforward movements, as the influence of “karate” is very dominant.


      • #4
        i have always been outgoing, very extroverted, sincerely though, not an asshole type but can be mistaken for that since so many people are. a lot of people at that age act stupid and so i was trying to prevent things from happening to me that the lack of knowledge might bring.
        my choice in different jobs have had the possibility of violence at one point or another (bouncer for 10 years, store investigator for mervyns department store for 7 years) so i have had to get physical more than a few times.
        when practicing, which animal? it depends on the focus. lately i have been working the white crane and getting the body postures correct because of where the power comes from is in the stances and movements. but the tiger,bear, and mongoose all need special attention to keep the animals seperate and then switching in between them to mix and match them. a lot to work on let me tell you.

        i just read your profile congrats on the gold medal but why retire? with so much to learn and so much of your life left is there another reason? sorry if there is a condition that i am not helping but it seems that your potential is running over.


        • #5
          My friend, Huey,

          Your life, especially your jobs, sounds really interesting to me. From your story, I can imagine that you are a hard-working person who doesn’t give up easily. And, I feel that there is some sort of tenderness in your heart. I am sure your are far away from being an “asshole”.

          Thank you for your congratulation. You asked me why I retired, and I cannot tell you all in one writing because there are several reasons.

          One of the reasons is only shifting of priorities in my life. In my country, most people have to work to support his life – work in companies or run his own business. And, being a martial artist (trainer or practitioner) does not usually produce enough money for the family. So, as you can guess, I began to spend more time for working than practicing or training. Moreover, in my profession as a teacher I have never had to fight.

          Another reason is, when we are in the field of martial art then you have to be quite good (or better, if not best), otherwise, people will look down upon us. There is a difference between kung-fu (for instance) and badminton. If we are not as good as other badminton players, for example, the worst thing is that we will often lose the game and we may have to pay for the shuttle-cocks, or maybe our friend will be reluctant to be our partner in double. But, in kung-fu, when we are not very good, we will get hurt easily (during the “kumite”) and the degree other people will look down upon us (and our school, and even our style) is greater. I think the kind of pride or self-respect in the martial artists is different from the pride within other sport-men. (I don’t know if you agree to this) So, at that time I thought: I had to always be very good, or stop for good.

          Perhaps I will tell you the other reasons next time. By the way, Huey, I will be off from November 24 and be back again on December 1. Thank you for your responds. I like it very much, and I hope we can become friend, although for now I don’t know much about you yet. Bye, and keep going.


          • #6
            i agree with what you're saying about the pride issue and being better than alright. we are the hardest critics we will ever have the misfortune of meeting, that is why just be an ok martial artist is not an option we like to discuss. i remember something a gold medal winning gymnast said once when asked why he trained so much.
            "if i don't work out one day in a week, i feel the difference, when i take two days off everyone will see the difference."

            everyone goes through periods of nill progression and even falling behind in one thing or another in every walk of life that is just how it is.
            i was a junky for it though.i started in shou shu working out about four hours a day, then walking two blocks to work, working 6-7 hours, going home and working out another 2-3 (unless going to a party after work). i would do this at least three days a week when i had to work. when i didn't i would stay open to close (12-9) with an hour lunch. (again my room mate was the manager so this was easy and i got extra lessons from other students and instructors so it made it even better.)
            so i was working out and or teaching 6-7 hours on most work days and 7-8 on non working days. that is a lot of time that i don't have now but then all i had was karate, work, and parties.

            i got married another job and sometimes more than one so i know what you mean about the working thing, two kids, a mortgage, and bills that accompany marriage. all of this was making it hard to accomplish the minimum two days we tell new students they need to become proficient in m/a but i kept pluggin away and gettin the best lessons i could with the schedule i had.
            i culdn't make our black belt lessons for four years so my advancement was slow to second degree but then i made a few changes and then got my third a year and a half later. i know all about layoffs and push backs when it comes to training. now i just practice and teach full time and i love it more than i ever have because i can appreciate it better.

            practice doesn't have to be what it used to but it does have to have greater focus in the time alotted. goals were never an issue back then because time was in abundance, now it is mandatory and i enjoy greater gains in less time.

            friends? definately.


            • #7

              No this is what Im talking about, I am so glad to see this discussion. Its nice to read about real matial artists. I just came of the bjj page and everyone is talking about sex and girls. They have no focus nor are they even martial artists.

              I studied Kempo, Kenjitsu since a young age. I just finished my second my second year of Kung Fu, they are all awesome styles. I'd have to say Kempo is more realistic than Kungfu but no as fancy. Circular movements are too long in fights and linear strikes are quicker, But I love the Kungfu weapons, just plane awesome. It takes one a long time to master the sword. So kungfu takes even more determination and practice. I guess i started to practice because I needed the pateince and spirituality influence in my life. I have always been a fighter since childhood. I was the one in middle school you are talking about that was in fights with 1-2 guys, but I was beating them down. I knew they was more than just fighting in martial arts so thats why I started. Im 27 now and M.A. is part of my life!


              • #8
                depending on the range i agree that circular weapons can be too time consuming but knowing that will only set up your strikes so that you will get in close enough to make them effective. if you are in the right place you can hit very fast with repetitive circular strikes (4-6 in a second). but if you are outside that zone it's different.
                i like kenpo very much it has been said that of all the various ma's out there san sou and kenpo come the closest to what i study. that has to do with our roots too since al moore sr., ralph moore, ed parker, and the tracy brothers were all close friends and traded material. the technique called "the swords" (i think that's what it is called but don't quote me if it is not) is similar to a technique that we teach called "five swords" the body motion we employ may be different though.


                • #9
                  It's about the energy level; to cultivate our own energy. Some other benefits are the self-defense aspect and the spirituality .


                  • #10
                    In no particular order because all of these needs surface and dominate my feelings at different times: exercise, self-defense, need to rid myself of aggression, need to express aggression, need to flow with the grace of nature (no joke, this surfaces many times), need to express myself in movement. Kinesthenic people have to move in some way. Everyone here understands this because people who are not kinesthetic are unlikely to practice martial arts. The study of Martial Arts creates a lifetime of possibilities for the study and practice of movement.

                    To end my ramblings and expose my weirdness, I am probably one of the few people who gets a high out of an aggressive dog, coyote, or even my fellow humans. The possibilities for psychological and physical maneuvering are endless. It sure makes for the end of a mundane day.


                    • #11
                      The self-defense, the excercise, the stress release and above all:

                      The people.

                      MA'sts tend to get along well with one another and are comfortable with themselves. I've met some of the highest quality people in MA classes from different walks of life whether in law enforcement or engineering. In the outside world people can sink to a lower quality.

                      Also its just a coincidence, but I think MAists are generally above average intelligence and/or work ethic. They are a cut above the rest. I've seen bad people (mostly non-MAist) cross the line of legality, ethics and while barely avoiding public exposure just to try and rip at quality people.

                      MAists are people who try to better themselves through effort and improved skill, not manipulation.


                      • #12
                        Let me emphasize on the cores of the last messages.

                        I can see that Ninjaiboy22 study M.A. to learn patience and spirituality, and Tom Yum study M.A. to study “people” (above self-defence, exercise, and stress release).

                        What both of you have mentioned is really interesting. You have pointed out that by learning martial arts, people learn to have better or higher qualities and values. We ourselves are martial artists and we have definitely been bettering ourselves. Personally, I like you both for that particular reason. I like people who always try to improve themselves.


                        • #13
                          Close tjang, but not exactly. I don't do martial arts to study people, its just a hobby like playing guitar.

                          I'm sure some people do martial arts to study people, but if I did for that reason, I'd be unhealthy and wouldn' be able to sport these ripped abs...jj

                          Now pass the ketchup manis!!!


                          • #14

                            Family forced culture practice. Now it's force of habit. No real good reasons just habit. Not much use for it in this world.


                            • #15
                              personal growth, community, fitness and sparring

                              you asked why people are participating in martial arts. it started me thinking about why i do kung fu and what has it given me that i could not find in other arenas. kung fu has given me a sense of physical purpose. before i started kung fu, i sat around and felt pretty much useless. my body became weak and my mind followed. after a severe ankle injury, i followed a friend to a kung fu school close to my home. from the first class, i was hooked and felt that i had found something that would get me out of my rut, while teaching me more than just punching and kicking. my school does not dwell on any philosophical or spiritual issues, but have been able to understand more of what it means to be alive, both mentally and physically, since i have started studying external and internal martial arts. but that is not enough to keep me going. the chance to experience martial arts with fellow students makes it easier to push myself harder, learn from others successes and failures and to feel a sense of comradery that stays with me outside of the school. and lastly, the one-on-one challenge of sparring another individual "sealed the deal". it touched on a competitive edge that i have, while enforcing a sense of respect for my fellow man. do i think that these things can be found in other places? yes, but the ease with which a person of my age and phyisical ability can start to feel strong and powerful cannot be found so easily.