I was at a social outing a few of weeks ago. There were a bunch of people there that I didn’t know so inevitably you end up making the rounds getting introduced to various people. Among the people I met were a nice couple from out of town. Like most first encounters the conversation led to “What do you do?”. When I tell people one of the things I do is own a dojo I generally get 1 of 3 responses:
1. Self response: “I took ___________ (insert martial art here) when I was a kid for a few weeks” or “I take _____________ (insert martial art here)”
2. Relative response: “My cousin, brother, nephew, 4th removed uncle takes __________ (insert martial art here)”
3. Embarrassingly ignorant response: “Can you beat me up?”, “I better not mess with you”, “Show me a move”, “How many blackbelts do you have?”.
No matter what response I get I’m generally pretty cordial and play along. This particular couple fell into the response 1 category, for the sake of the story lets call them Jane and Jon. They both practiced (some style I’ve never heard of) karate and were very happy and excited to be doing it. While most of the conversation was a pretty typical one between martial artists there was one part in the middle that stuck with me and it went something like this:
Jane: Jon is awesome at karate. He is much better than me.
Jon: You're great too honey.
Jane: No, I’m a little good but not great.
Jon: No you're great, you won the dojo tournament last month.
Me: How often do you guys train?
Jane: We go to classes twice a week, but Jon goes on Saturdays too that's why he is so awesome!
Jon: Boy this wine is really good, I wonder what kind it is?
So this conversation got me thinking: “Is there criteria that separates a good, great and awesome martial artist?” Clearly there is a different answer and the scale changes depending on who you ask. According to Jon and Jane the difference between good and great is a tournament win and the difference between great and awesome is about 4 extra hours of training a month. Since I don’t particularly agree with their scale, I thought I might take a crack at it and come up with my own. I’m going to approach this though from a martial arts stand point rather than a technically proficient stand point. For example, if your mae geri is better than the person next to you your technically better but are you a better martial artist, not necessarily. So lets look at what, in my opinion, is the difference between a good, great and awesome martial artist.
GOOD Martial Artist
GREAT Martial Artist
All of GOOD +
AWESOME Martial Artist
All of GOOD and GREAT +
So there is my first crack at it. I’m sure I missed something and if I have let me know in the comments. Also let me know in the comments if you disagree (or agree, I always like that, lol) or feel a point should be in a different category. Oss!