True Ruthlessness – The ‘Real Martial Artist’

When thinking of ruthlessness, people typically think of; gangsters, politicians, entertainment executives, businessmen, etc., and I would have to agree with the idea of these people being ruthless – but these guys (and gals) are often more concerned with looking/sounding/acting ruthless.

You won’t know true ruthlessness until you have been involved in the inside world of a ‘real martial artist’

Not your ‘normal’ martial arts student who manages to bumble their way from belt to belt – you know, the guy who wears a sash around his head the same colour as his belt, the guy who takes photos of his abs for Instagram. Not the typical martial artist that is a result of the martial arts conveyor belt (McDojo’s and all that), but a ‘real martial artist’. A master, a craftsman, a true hussler – somebody who has developed themselves over, literally, decades and fought their way from below the lowest point of the totem pole right to the top. This isn’t a case of ‘the odds being stacked against them’ – to a ‘real martial artist’, the odds being stacked against them sounds like a casual stroll through the woods.

A real martial artist is the most ruthless kind of person, full stop (or ‘period’ for any of my friends across the pond).

If you are involved in martial arts you’re likely to know someone like this (or at least know of someone like this). Maybe your master, maybe your master’s master, or maybe the green belt who is making his way up through the ranks. They’ll seem friendly, funny, charismatic, calm and pleasant (and I’m sure that’s true to their character) – but don’t cross them (not that you were planning to).

Who else do you know that has chosen to put themselves through physical and mental punishment on a daily basis for decades – just to get a head above the rest? Who else has stood opposite fighters and taken a beating for years, until they finally exceed and outshine everyone around them? Who else do you know who has ACTUALLY dedicated their lives to a constant grind – and keeps quiet about it?

From my experience in martial arts (which has become particularly extensive now). These ‘real martial artists’ will literally fight (and fight the hardest) to win… No one will work as hard at what needs to be done to get to where you want to be.

If you think you can punish them in some way, put them through hard times, hurt them, scare them, etc. It will never be even half of what they have put themselves through previously.

One thing I have learned from my martial arts training, and consider it to be such a virtue, is the extent to which I will go to get what I am aiming for. If I am aiming at something (and I always am), I will get it, I don’t care how trivial it seems. If I have to crawl through mud, swim through tar or walk through fire – I will; after all, it won’t even compare to my last training session.

“When you want something in life: tune into that ‘real martial artist’ mentality and you’ll do what you need to do… And it will seem easy.”

By the way; I do consider myself the realest of the ‘real martial artists’

Master Luke Robinson



4 thoughts on “True Ruthlessness – The ‘Real Martial Artist’

  1. OK Master Luke, I do respect the amount of training time that you put into your art, I admire your love and obvious enthusiasm and the fact you want to share, promote and extol the Martial Arts. As an over forty year ‘veteran’ and senior Instructor in traditional Karate. Plus, having fought 27 times internationally countless times Nationally and against a dozen world champions, I feel ‘humbly’ able to add my view, and maybe disagree slightly with yours, and I ask you to believe me that I mean no disrespect.
    You write that “Real Martial Artists put themselves through physical and mental punishment on a daily basis for decades – just to get a head above the rest” Well, maybe initially…
    But that can’t be the way forward ultimately, to continuously aim to better others is to fail because the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, cliché? Probably but let me explain. You see a Martial Art will ask a question of every student, and that question is… who are you? Not what are you or where are you. And no matter how well others may think they know you, there is only one who knows your heart and your spirit, and that person is you.

    Simple example, the instructor calls for twenty knuckle press-ups and as you attempt the exercise you notice others are finished which makes you feel bad, unfit whatever. Bearing in mind that the instructor is not counting for you and nobody would know if you cut the exercise short, this is the time that your art asks the question. Putting emphasis on any particular ability, press-ups for instance, is misdirecting your spirit by competing with others and negating your growth from completing the exercise in full. You may rise from the mat and nobody would question whether you did the exercise or not, you would know you didn’t, and so it goes on.

    Now I’m not questioning whether you have ever cut short an exercise, you may have but I’m just making a point. Your hardest opponent will always be yourself, you’re the guy who looked out at 6am on a Sunday morning, aching from the previous days training, looked at the frost on your bike saddle but still set out to do that 20miles, even though every nerve is begging you not to. You’re the Karate-ka or Kung-fu student that washed and ironed his uniform between each training session (this was mandatory when I started by the way, as was laundering senior grade’s uniforms), then spent the next two hours just punching the bag and ruining it again. You could have not bothered but I have a saying, ‘Only everything is everything’ and this carries over into life too.

    When I teach high-grades or spar with up and coming grades, I always tell them to clear their heads and forget about winning, in this way the mind can relax and allow the body to take over, if you’ve done the training why would you worry? It’ll all work out, and if you haven’t or the other guy has done more, then learn and train harder. Ruthless, not quite, I think determined is more descriptive. You can be aggressive because that’s a requisite, an expression of your spirit but if there is anything else going on in your head when you spar with me, I will probably know what you are going to do before you do it.

    Martial Arts has become very sport orientated and MMA has become very popular, there is no doubt that the successful fighters in MMA are phenomenal athletes, but do they enjoy the traditions and spiritual side that the old masters taught, I hope so, but I don’t think today’s martial artists see training as the ‘journey’ that has no end.

    One of my Senseis would quote ‘You’ll never kick high enough, punch hard enough, block fast enough or move accurately enough. Resign yourself to that and just train because if at any time you think that you do any of those things… enough, don’t bother coming to my Dojo, your journey has ended!!’ That’s the truth that comes from within, not from anybody else or any opponent.

    Just my views though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alan, thanks for commenting – I don’t disagree with what you say at all. I think maybe the word ruthless is slightly indicative of an outwards lack of mercy which is quite a provocative thought (something I’m quite glad to have made) but I think the reason a Moreau martial artist is the ‘most’ ruthless of all people is because that ruthlessness is aimed at themselves. As you say, excuse or no excuse, you know whether you have given 100% and being true to yourself is the ruthlessness that I am referring to. Especially when comparing to the more typical ruthlessness of a business tycoon etc.

      I don’t think that what I am trying to describe actually opposes what you have written here. I do, however, try to write it in a provocative way and there is almost a ‘physical challenge’ kind of stance I take in this blog as I hope to provoke people into thinking, even getting stuck in, the cycle of one upmanship. I think that, possibly, a good way to help people understand that certain routes lead to nowhere (not that that is a bad thing), is to send them down those routes. I myself certainly choose to get stuck in similar cycles – I think it always helps refresh my outlooks.

      I honestly take absolutely no offence from your comment, on the contrary I am really glad you chose to write.

      I do want to change the approach and the (for lack of a better word) ‘cliches’ that are used in martial arts. I like to provoke people; I think that this blog was meant as a kind of ‘come on then’ if that makes sense.



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