When someone is self proclaimed as an expert or martial arts Master, I’m immediately skeptical and question their validity. I’m especially skeptical of anyone who guarantees that what they teach will keep you safe or work every time. Let’s examine these in more detail.
The self proclaimed expert – What makes someone an expert? An expert is generally known as someone who has practiced, studied, and trained in a subject for a specified amount of time. In our society, we associate time spent in a field as quality time spent in that field. Just because someone has been doing a job for a long time doesn’t mean they are good at it or have been doing it correctly. In my experience, the real “Experts” are the ones who have constantly trained and studied hard, while searching out new perspectives and experiences.
The self proclaimed Master – What are you a Master of? Simply put, a Master is someone who is described as mastering everything about their martial art. It is very admirable to have stuck with something for X amount of years. I respect that, but that doesn’t make a Master. The term Master eludes to the end all, be all. Does the art teach more than techniques, kata, and limited contact sparring? Most don’t, and it’s only a piece of the puzzle. Even if someone has “mastered” a single art, how does a martial art that was used for self-defense or war hundreds of years ago translate to current times? Has it been updated to reflect our current judicial system? Does it teach use of force and how that applies to not be sued? Just some things to think about…
Guarantees – All three of these are dangerous to the students, but this one is probably the most dangerous. It typically comes from the self proclaimed Master or Expert. This is so dangerous, because it sets the individual up for failure. It may work 9 out of 10 times, but it’s still not a guarantee especially when Murphy’s law is at play. It’s going to end badly if you haven’t trained for it to fail. Hopefully you have, but why would you train for something else? It’s guaranteed right? There are no guarantees in self-defense, safety, or really anything in life. Even a bullet to the head is not a guarantee to put someone down. There are always changing variables. Always be weary of anything that is guaranteed to you by an “Expert” or “Master.”
So where do I fit in? I am a practitioner. I constantly study old material, search out new material, and new ideas. I look for different perspectives on everything from violence, to techniques, to concepts like observation, and law. I train physically in a way that will benefit my body during an attack. With all that being said, take everything you read, hear and see with a grain of salt. Do your own research, come to your own conclusions, and seek out what best fits you. No one has more to lose when it comes to your safety and protection than you do. I will do my very best to provide you with resources that examine my topics in more detail, and furthermore, cite my sources. If you ever have any questions or have information that’s different from what I have posted, please feel free to contact me.