Martial Artist or Martialist

Years ago, the term "martial artist" meant an individual who studied serious martial arts: arts whose purpose was totally self-protection, even to the exclusion of martial sports and martial ways. Today, however, "martial artist" has come to include all who study anything "martial" including the 13-year old black belt from Karate-mart. Because of this I no longer wished to identify myself a martial artist. Then I came across Phil Elmore's web site, The Martialist. What a great word!

By dictionary definition, a martialist is a warrior. I prefer not to call myself a warrior – real warriors are those who willingly place themselves in harm's way, protecting us from the enemies of our nation. Still, there is a difference between a martial artist and a martialist. The difference is the individual's focus. Consider on which word the "-ist" is appended and you can clearly see the focus. The martialist focuses on the "Martial"; the martial artist focuses on the "Art." As a martialist, then, I study anything that will provide the skills needed to keep safe my family and myself. This includes firearms and all other practical weapons, but excludes all martial "sports" and martial ways.

Some might ask, "Do your interests include mixed martial arts (MMA), like the Ultimate Fighting Challenge?" My answer remains the same. To the extent that this sport can help me refine my martial skills, then yes, I am interested and willing to learn whatever I can from it. But I have no interest in the sporting aspect of MMA. After all, their objective is to have fun or to entertain an audience, but explicitly, it seeks to have an evenly matched, fair fight. I have absolutely no interest in a fair fight. If I cannot avoid a fight, my objective is to make it as unfair as possible with the odds stacked in my favor. For these reasons, a martialist is what I prefer to call myself.

Our  emphasis  is  on  the  practical.
©Copyright Bob Orlando, 2009-2016
All rights reserved.
Last update:  Aug. 6, 2016
by Bob Orlando
Web Site of Bob Orlando: Instructor in Kuntao-Silat (Chinese kuntao and Dutch-Indonesian pukulan pentjak silat), author of two popular martial art books: "Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals" and "Martial Arts America: A Western Approach to Eastern Arts"; and producer of four martial art videos: Fighting Arts of Indonesia, Reflex Action, Fighting Footwork of Kuntao and Silat, Fighting Forms of Kuntao-Silat. Offering practical martial arts instruction to adults living in and throughout the Denver metropolitan area including, Lakewood, Littleton, Morrison, and Golden Colorado.