So you want to be a Master

Discussion in 'Other Martial Arts Articles' started by rtkd-badger, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. rtkd-badger

    rtkd-badger Fundimentaly Manipulated

    I read this article in an old Blitz magazine and thought I would share it.
    Ever been in awe of the skill and poise of a true martial arts master and wondered how he or she got to be that way? Want to become a master yourself?
    Welcome to the club, grasshopper. Instructor Ted Argyle reveals the six steps needed to achieve your dream.

    How do you achieve self mastery?
    Mastery comes from confidence. Confidence comes from experience. Experience comes from practice. Practice comes from commitment, and commitment comes from vision.
    Please read the above paragraph again. Then do the arithmetic backwards and you have a road map to success. And notice it all starts with vision.

    When we first start our journey in martial arts, we set ourselves a benchmark of mastery. We want the perceived physical ease and grace that all masters possess. We want to have the knowledge that these great men and women have shared with us and we want to be the best we can possibly be. This physical and mental achievement can be can be defined as mastery. As you start to master your system, you begin to realize that you are still a beginner and that mastery is not a final destination, but rather a lifestyle in continual improvement. You begin to understand that being a master is not about being better than everyone else, rather it is about being better than you used to be.
    A vision can be summarized as your ultimate dream. What would you wish for yourself if you knew you could not fail? As it relates to martial arts, what is the level of skill/or knowledge that you wish to ultimately achieve?
    Skill is you technical ability, what you can do with your body. Here it’s important to assess all the areas of physical and martial art skill development. How good do you want your kicks, your punches, your grappling, your sparring, your defence, your flexibility, your strength and your endurance to be? Do you want to specialize or generalize? Be as specific as possible and set your benchmarks. A good guide is to pick someone whose skills you aspire to have. For example you may want to kick as well as Van Damme, box better than Kosta Tszu, grapple like Royce Gracie or be as well rounded as Bruce Lee.
    Whatever you choose to aspire to, aim at emulating the best.
    Knowledge is what you know and can articulate. Is there a particular area in which you want to be an expert? Perhaps you want to be an expert in martial arts history, technique, self defence psychology, practical self defence, boxing, kicking, grappling or pressure points. What is it that you want to know about most?
    Commitment is your ability to stick with your vision until it is achieved. Commitment is the hardest skill within the seven levels because it is easy to lose focus. Commitment can also be defined as self discipline, which is your ability to do what you know you should be doing even though you don’t feel like it. There is no goal achieved or vision fulfilled without it.
    Commitment to skill requires you to train often and with regularity. As a general rule, to achieve mastery in the martial arts takes at least three or four training sessions per week over a 10 to 20 year period. There should, of course, be periods of rest for recovery to prevent burnout, but make that internal commitment to train consistently and you’ll be well on the way.
    Commitment to knowledge requires you to educate yourself on a regular basis. This means investing in the best books, videos, documentaries and magazines that you can afford. Also, make a habit of searching the internet for information relating to your area of interest. You should endeavour to load your brain with as much martial arts and related information, such as personal development, motivation, anatomy and physiology, for 15 to 60 minutes a day.
    Practice is the hard work that you have to do to achieve your goal. Without practice, mastery will never be achieved. Of all levels this is the most challenging and this is what prevents many people from doing it. How many people do we know who started training with us and didn’t reach their goal because they didn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t practice?
    Practicing skills is what every martial arts school does. To get the best out of practice you need to always be on the lookout to improve your skill. This means listening to your instructor and implementing the changes that will improve your ability. It also requires self evaluation. If you can see that you have a weakness, work on it until it becomes a strength.
    Practicing in the field of knowledge is applying what you are learning, where appropriate of course. If you are learning about pressure points this doesn’t mean you should go out and hit the pressure point XYZ on the person in front of you at the local ATM. It means applying the knowledge you learn in a way that you and those around you benefit.
    Experience relates to time. As stated earlier, between 10 and 20 years is about how long it will take to become a master of your system or particular martial arts interest.
    However, all skills will perish if left untrained and a true master is someone who commits a lifetime to continuous improvement in martial arts. Getting there is easier than staying there.
    Experience as it relates to skill comes from the countless number of hours you invest in your development. All the masters of the martial arts did many thousands of repetitions until they had their technique right and have since spent thousands of hours trying to maintain it.
    Experience as it relates to knowledge comes in the lessons you’ve learned from the application of your knowledge. You will find that when it comes to knowledge, not everything you research will work for you. Therefore, experience is your ability to find what works for you and make it your own.
    Confidence is self belief.
    It is knowing what you are capable of and backing it up with conviction. It is not cockiness and a belief that you can beat everyone or that you know more than anyone else. Rather, it is recognition and assuredness within yourself of what you are capable of. In self defence or any competitive arena in life, cockiness will actually reduce your capabilities, as you lose the element of surprise and allow others to prepare themselves to meet your abilities.
    Confidence in skills is a natural progression from everything we have discussed in the previous four levels. If you have started with a vision, done the practice and have the experience, you can’t help but be confident in your skill.
    Confidence in knowledge is what culminates after divulging and retaining information over an extended period of time. It means being to answer questions about your area of expertise, clearly and in such a way that any lay person can understand.
    Mastery is merely being very good at what you do, nothing more and nothing less. Mastery does, however, carry a lot of intrinsic and extrinsic responsibilities.
    Intrinsic responsibility is the promise that you make to yourself not to let your ego get carried away with the idea that you are better than everyone else. Being a master is a humbling experience. You start to realize that when you get to the pinnacle of your system that you still have a lot to learn. In this light, being a master is having the courage and the maturity to still continue to improve for a lifetime.
    Extrinsic responsibility is how you use your master skills. Your physical and, more importantly, mental skills in the martial arts should be used to help yourself, your family and friends and your community. Your skills can help others build self esteem, increase fitness and develop self defence skills.
    Your responsibility is to give back to your community what you have gained so that they can all benefit. Your gift to the community can be via teaching and/or being a role model.
    There is a saying that illustrates this point. With great power come great responsibility
  2. Prophet

    Prophet ♥ H&F ♥


    Wow, amazing article man, top notch!
  3. Wolf

    Wolf Totalitarian Dictator

    I agree man. That article really puts into perspective what it means not only to achieve mastery, but to be a true martial artist.
  4. baubin2

    baubin2 New Member

    Or to be a true anything for that matter. That stuff doesn't apply just to martial arts, after all.
  5. rtkd-badger

    rtkd-badger Fundimentaly Manipulated

    I concur
  6. Kosh

    Kosh New Member

    I actually disagree with most of that article. i dont think you need all of those to achieve mastery.
  7. snakep

    snakep New Member

    The part where it says emulate the best and having Van Damme as an example is extremely funny.
  8. hunter_kaval

    hunter_kaval The Ronin

    A very good piece i quite liked that :Angel:
  9. Developing

    Developing Valued Member

    It was well said.
  10. stump

    stump Supersub

    The few martial arts masters I have met have been personally flawed individuals. There is a lot of hype about these Mr Myagi types....the reality seems to be far different.

    Can't take away from their ability as martial artists of course...but the wise master image mostly stems from starry eyed impressionable students.
  11. Socrastein

    Socrastein The Boxing Philosopher

    The problem is, Mr. Myagi didn't laugh enough. The masters I have met have all been extremely jovial people, very kind and always laughing and smiling.
  12. LapuLapu

    LapuLapu New Member

    A good and encouraging article.
  13. oldshadow

    oldshadow Valued Member

    All the masters I have know have two things in common. One was they never referred to themselves as a master. They also were all human so they had some of the failings that any human could have.
  14. TheSanSooStorm

    TheSanSooStorm Valued Member

    A good article. From my understanding Sifu doesn`t just mean Martial arts master, but also wise man, someone to go to, father figure. So it goes without saying that though no one is perfect, many masters have the floor to influence there students in a possitive way. I look up to my teachers in Kung Fu, and there strength fo character is very well established. When you dedicate yourself to something, your whole being is conditioned to be dedicated. And so the martial arts philosophy seems to eventually spread through the whole being. At least from my experiance.

Share This Page