The topic of what is the Ultimate Martial Arts has come up quite a few times in my 25+ years of training. Everyone wants to discuss whose Martial Arts Style is the best and whose Martial Art Style will Ultimately win in a fight or a battle. As I discussed before, all styles of Martial Arts is good. Martial Arts, in general, is objective and anyone in any style of Martial Arts can be effective or ineffective in using the technique. But here is where this discussion changes. I still fully believe that all styles of Martial Arts is good and there is no one Ultimate Martial Arts, but people are different. People are what make their style the Ultimate Martial Arts or the bottom of the barrel Martial Arts. There are two classifications of people in the Martial Arts. I know you are probably saying to yourself, Jeff there is ranking and belt colors and all that, how is there only two classifications? Well we are not discussing individuals and their rank here. We are discussing the overall Martial Arts and what type of people are in the Martial Arts. Also the discussion will lead to what make a Martial Art the Ultimate Martial Art. Now back to the 2 types of people in the Martial Arts. There are teachers, which were once students and should always be students of another teacher and there are students. I say teachers are always students because there is so much to learn that they are forever students. A good teacher can also learn from his students.
You have probably heard the saying, the student has become the master. Well this is true at a certain point. But also it leads to ego’s and other types of problems that prevent a style from becoming the Ultimate Martial Arts. Martial Arts is for combat, hence the first word, Martial. I have met many teachers, even in my own style, that have changed the style and only learned certain parts of the style that it no has been eliminated from being able to be classified as the Ultimate Martial arts.
My style of Okinawan Seidokan is a full-on combat style that teaches survival and true self defense and protection. I am taught by my teacher how to fight and how to survive a fight with minimal injury to myself. His teacher taught him this way and it is the way that all Martial Arts should be in my opinion. I am not sure how many of you know what Kata or forms are but they are basics. I bring this up because we have teachers in our style that believe that Kata is used for actually fighting an opponent. These teachers only teach Kata and the tradition but they do not teach the practical use of the techniques in the Kata. Even though I am taught the ways of combat and my teacher teaches this way, the people that are only teaching Kata and traditional instead of practical have taken my style out of the running for Ultimate Martial arts.
This is true of many styles as teachers change what they teach and they get older and refuse to teach practical knowledge. But I will teach as my teacher taught me and my students will have a full working combat knowledge of Martial Arts so they can be considered Ultimate Martial Artists. So in summary, teachers, people, can end up taking a style out of the running for Ultimate Martial Arts.
You might think students are just that and do not have a say in their training. But the student has the ultimate stay because he/she picks their teacher. A student has a choice to become an Ultimate Martial Artist or the choice to become a Kata and forms person. By the way, a Ultimate Martial Artist knows the Kata and the forms as well and is well rounded in their training. Ultimate Martial Artists know their style and know how to use what they are taught. I was told by a very wise individual that a martial artist does not realize the potential until they make the style their own. This means that a true Ultimate Martial Artist has trained in their style and has figured out what works for them and what does not work.
In the end all styles of martial arts are good. It is the artist him or herself that makes the style an Ultimate Martial Arts style.
Martial Arts Unlimited