Sunday, May 5, 2013

The advantages (and disadvantages) of studying martial arts in a cultural melting pot.

"Martial Arts" in the USA
Over the last 18 years, I've studied and competed in eight different martial arts styles under masters from 5 different countries, all right here in the USA.  I am very thankful to live in a place where we welcome people of all ethnicities to come and live with us and seek opportunity alongside us.  This is one of the things that makes this country great.

Having access to so many styles not only lets you pick the right one for you, but it also lets you build a foundation in one style, and then bring that knowledge with you when you pick up another.  A large percentage of martial artists here in the states have tried out two or more styles, and most instructors will respect a skilled and dedicated fighter regardless of school or style.

While this diversity is a gift to anyone with a passion for fighting, it also makes martial arts impossible to regulate.  Business rules, safety standards, and instructor requirements are practically nonexistent, making it the responsibility of the student to determine the quality of a school.  Unfortunately, there are a large number of very unqualified instructors out there teaching today, but if you ask me, I would gladly tolerate that in exchange for the choices we have.

Besides, even if you start off at a sub-standard school, you can always quit and pick up a second style from a better school once you have learned enough to know the difference.