Putting the Art in Martial Arts

I was talking to one of the Aikido instructors yesterday. He had an interesting way of looking at martial arts. He said that after we've practiced for a little while, there is a huge group of people that we will be able to beat in a fight. There's also a small group of people who we'll never be able to beat, no matter how long we practice. The group of people left over, the ones we can't beat now but we can with practice, is extremely small.

Since the marginal self-defense benefit of practice after a few years is pretty minimal, why continue to practice? The answer: that's where the art comes in. It's fun to practice and perfect our martial arts for their own sake, independent of any self-defense benefits. That doesn't mean that it can become some sort of dance, because if it isn't martial then it's not really artistic. But it does mean that after some amount of time, improving our self-defense abilities is no longer the main goal of practicing martial arts.


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