I recently discovered that a colleague I work with has a very successful brother. His brother is a turner prize winning artist. Reading about his creative and challenging work made me think deeply about the concept of a martial artist.
The oxford english dictionary gives the following definitions:
- A learned person or Master of Arts.
- One who pursues a practical science, traditionally medicine, astrology, alchemy, chemistry (obsolete)
- A follower of a pursuit in which skill comes by study or practice - the opposite of a theorist.
- A follower of a manual art, such as a mechanic - partly obsolete
- One who makes their craft a fine art.
Along with the artist comes the concept of aesthetics - or the rules that measure how good things look (beauty). From a martial perspective, we must consider a different set of aesthetics for each martial art separately. Our aesthetics must concern the quality of posture and movement within our individual frameworks. Movements should display balance, power, skill and also reflect the nature of our consciousness.
We must consider movement - not only as a way of defending ourselves - but also - being artists - as a form of entertainment, a display of skill and a deterrent to attackers.
A lot of art also carries important political and social messages. So consider what your martial art is saying about you socially and politically. Ask yourself if your art is still socially and politically relevant? Consider more importantly what you want it to say. It may a have considerable effect on your performance.