What is a Martial Artist?: The Art of Hapkido

Essay by Whitesican June 2005

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What is a Martial Artist?: The Art of Hapkido

A Martial Artist should not be confused with a martialist or an artist. A true Martial Artist combines both traits into a way of living. The martial part, literally meaning, "Relating to or connected with the armed forces or the profession of arms," is not always the most important part to being a Martial Artist. The artist is the hardest part to achieve.

Someone is not necessarily a Martial Artist just because they joined a "Martial Arts" class. It takes time to fully understand what your training goals may be. A good example is the first Hapkido tenant, "Do not think you can learn Hapkido in a day, it will take your entire lifetime to learn." Anyone can learn how to fight and defend himself with a gun in a mater of day, but this does not make him a Martial Artist. It does not change the way they act or think for the better, nor does it make them any more likely to have a happier, safer life. Artists dedicate themselves to their art, whatever it might be and try to have a better life because of it. Even one of the first things that is taught in Hapkido is, "Hapkido is a Way of Life that requires total commitment." There is no secret to becoming a Martial Artist; it is just that nobody takes the time to think of all aspects of this "way of life." Even the most experienced Martial Artists continue to develop their skills and improve their lives.

Just as every other artist has a certain style that he follows, a Martial Artist is no exception. Painters follow their own particular styles to create pictures with a certain feel to...