(Warning: The Muse hit me, but I think she was half drunk, so please forgive the bad writting. I just wanted to put to cyberpaper some thoughst about this subject)
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin martialis of Mars, from Mart-, Mars
1 : of, relating to, or suited for war or a warrior
(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
First, let me say that I do not intend to disparage what is traditionally known as Martial Arts. They are great disciplines and had helped many people through centuries. But I want to concentrate on the fact that those of us involved in defensive-combat shooting are also involved in a Martial Art but somehow we seem shy or we don’t even think it as a Martial Art.
Maybe it is because ours is relatively a modern art compared to the many centuries the traditional Martial Arts have. But if you observe carefully, there is not much difference in between them. Both are based in the principle of defending against a foe. Both require individual dedication and a tight discipline to become good at it and both require a great measure of mental work.
Traditional Martial Arts base their training on Kata, which is defined as “a set combination of positions and movements (as in karate) performed as an exercise.” We all have seen black belts and masters perform those movements and are amazed at the grace and power they transmit. But we ourselves have our own “Katas” like a proper drawing of a handgun from concealment, Dry Firing, Slicing the Pie, Tactical Reloads, etc. and the key to get good in both Arts is discipline and constant repetition. Both have Senseis that will train a student from the basic techniques of the Art (A local NRA Instructor or a Sensei from the neighborhood Kung Fu academy) to the most advanced and lethal whether it was Jigoro Kano or Col. Jeff Cooper.
There are other things in common, but one thing is very different. While Traditional Martial Arts require good physical shape and a great many years to begin to be proficient at them, Modern Martial Arts (I like this name, I hope it is not taken for something else.) can be learned in a relatively short time and it is not dependant on physical conditioning or even a decent health to be able to defend yourself and only the most drastic of physical and mental disabilities can stop a person from operating a firearm. In a sense, Modern Martial Arts are democratic in its learning and usage.
We have a right to feel proud of being apprentices, students, teachers and masters of this Modern Martial Art. We are creating our own mysticism every day when we share with each other techniques, comments and tales of those who have used a firearm in defense of their lives or the Country. Next time, when somebody asks you if you practice a Martial Art you can respond with pride: “Yes, I shoot and I am a tactical belt.”