A Martial Art ceases to be an art when its application results in brutality and a consistent use of excessive force when unwarranted based on its inability to adjust or modify technique as necessary due to the varying differences of the practitioner’s characteristics and the ever changing purpose for which it is applied.
When a practitioner is unable or not allowed to make changes or adjustments to how any particular technique is executed based on any intended result or conditions surrounding the immediate environment, or even relative to their own physical structure and composition in order to acquire a certain desired effect, then he should not be considered a martial artist, but a puppet and his art not an art but a mindless weapon.
A Defense Art is so because of a level of creativity that is allowed by the one who wields it while maintaining the integrity of its design. Every user will not need apply the same level of force or defense to every attacker that will ever confront them. With each new confrontation a new evaluation of “how much force will need to be used” should be completed and each technique applied adjusted to meet this need.
There are several “Martial Arts ” that have been deemed “an art ” that applies the philosophy “Better Safe Than Sorry” which would encourage the use of excessive force even when it is not truly warranted or necessary. This philosophy takes away from the practitioner’s ability to truly master his own technique. Though the user can be found to be flawless in the execution of his style more times than he fails at it, it takes no amount of creativity, compassion or understanding for him to achieve this.
An individual’s training into the use of a defense art must include the understanding and the ability to apply mutilating or deadly force if necessary, but the compassion and the mastery to avoid this and consider only as a last resort when no other result is possible. This is what makes a Martial Art “an art ” and can be a measuring stick as to an Instructor’s claim of mastery at his own style of choice and his actual level of skill of said style.
Today we have confused many styles of malicious and careless methods of inflicting pain and bodily harm as creative means of applying or achieving self defense and have mindlessly categorized them as Martial Arts . Be mindful that the design of True Martial Arts was to ensure compassionate, honorable and proven methods to protect one’s life and the life of others from the onslaught during the pursuits of their personal happiness and safety.
Make no mistake that self defense with deadly force may seem appropriate to some, with the depravity to which urban life has come, but consider them not as “ Arts ” and do not expect their practitioners to escape unscathed, whether in battle or by law. The ability for a practitioner to modify a technique and that technique remaining to be effective to its design can mean the difference between life and death; regardless of whether if it’s theirs or yours. I encourage you to truly know your style and wield as an art and not just a weapon.
by Greg Rouse