One of the greatest Martial Artists to ever live Miyamoto Musashi wrote the seminal Martial Arts treatise “The Book Of Five Rings”. If you are a serious Martial Artist I’m sure you’ve read it at least twice. Have you read “The Art Of War” by Sun Tzu? Here are some qualities that I believe are components of the martial spirit:
- A willingness to train hard and transcend the barriers of pain, discomfort and fear. The dojo is the training laboratory where a martial artist forges both his mind and body into instruments that are nearly impervious to fear, trepidation and self doubt.
- A willingness to always find ways to leave your comfort zone. This can be done by training outside of your dojo with people that are much better than you. There is an old adage that goes “train hard fight easy.“
- Always be willing to validate your martial art. Back when BJJ was still BJJ the Gracies, Helio in particular would accept any challenge at any time…from anyone. What is crucial is not that you win, but rather that you are willing to put your money where your mouth is so to speak. Don’t talk about it be about it. A couple of months ago I was at a social gathering and met a high level Shotokan Black Belt. Our conversation turned towards the inevitable, grappling vs striking. I politely told him that he would absolutely not be able to stop me from taking him down. His response was “O.K..show me.” I was nearly knocked out trying to close the distance on him. The operant element was not his Shotkan vs my wrestling (which is rudimentary at best) what was key is that we were both willing to validate our respective skills by challenging each other and as a consequence ourselves. Keep in mind I’m not talking about choking out or roundhouse kicking some hapless civilian with ZERO martial arts training. The guy I challenged has been training in Shotokan for 30 years.
- Always seek new and more difficult challenges. That is why I believe that competition is so important. I’d rather enter a tournament and get my ass kicked then be a paper tiger…the guy that can beat up everyone in his dojo. There is a 56 year old competitor on the BJJ tournament circuit. He wins some and he loses some however this guy will go against anyone and I mean anyone. I’ve seen him compete against guys that are 15 years younger than him. He truly personifies the Martial Spirit.