Ask this question to people on the street, and you will most likely get answers that all mean the same thing: It is someone who can hurt you without any weapons. Where does this false image come from? Popular television and movies where the good guys beat up on the bad guys after getting into impossible situations.
But this isn’t descriptive of a martial artist.
Instead, consider this: A martial artist is a person who develops great skill through consistent effort over time. That is the definition of kung fu, after all.
Thus, martial artists can be anyone. Anyone who devotes themselves to serious work requiring much effort and much time. To be great at anything takes this.
So it can be said that great dancers, great musicians, great physicians, great researchers all have good kung fu. All of them developed their skill through devoted effort and devoted time. None were born great.
The martial artist focuses on physical techniques required in ancient times to defend oneself. But that’s not all. He or she also focuses on the inner strength required to maintain their center and respond spontaneously to different situations. They become sensitive to their connection with the world that comes from their inner environment. Maintaining a calm and unstressed inner environment allows them to meet challenges from the outer environment more effectively because of their harmony and balance in life.
Learning to keep balance and harmony internally in the face of external threats and pressures in a martial arts training arena overflows into their daily lives. People begin seeing the difference. More importantly, they begin seeing the difference in themselves.
They begin seeing themselves as calm and in control. This leads to them influencing their environments into becoming calmer. Ultimately, they make a difference in the world.
So, who is a martial artist? He or she is the person willing to spend the time and energy required to learn a new way of life. A calmer, more in control life. A life that handles adversity that comes against it, regardless of the source. A life that helps the person live.”