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Elite Martial Arts

Master of 1, Master of All

Posted: June 17, 2010

“If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” —-Vincent Van Gogh

Wait, wait, wait; I know what you’re thinking. Why are you quoting a guy that cut his own ear off while in a delirium caused by drinking a now illegal drink (absinthe)? Well, just because this guy was “out there”, that doesn’t make his statement any less true.

When we set out to master something, whether it is martial arts, medicine, art, or underwater basket weaving, the fact remains that we learn a lot about life.


What is a Well-Rounded Martial Artist?

Posted: June 15, 2010

We often hear people speaking of being a “well-rounded martial artist”, but what does that really mean? The term means many different things to many different people. Of course, the person you are speaking to will always say that they are well-rounded. No-one ever says that they are one dimensional, even if they are.

So how do we determine what constitutes a well-rounded martial artist. First of all to be well rounded, we have to be able to deal with all the ranges of combat: kicking, punching, trapping, and grappling. (Some systems treat trapping as an element instead of a true range; but the important thing is that they address the trapping range/element.)

Any system that doesn’t spend time in all of these ranges is really missing the boat. I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that you not the best kicker, puncher, trapper, and grappler in your class. (Unless your class is extremely small, or you’re at a really bad school.) Each person has strengths and weaknesses and we must continually try to improve each element. If you think you’re a great puncher, and you come up against someone who is better than you in that range, what do you do? Do you crunch up into a little ball, lie down on the ground and cry, or do you switch to another range? The answer is pretty obvious, but if you have only practiced punching, then you don’t have a lot of options.


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