Martial Artist or Fighter

cesarI always appreciated the internal benefits of practicing BJJ as much as the external benefits of learning self defense and competing.  I recently read an excellent article by Dave Camarillo (if you don’t know who he is you shouldn’t be reading this blog) entitled Fighters vs Martial Artist”.  The article focused on the difference between “martial artists” and “fighters” in MMA.  A good example of a martial artist in MMA is Renzo Gracie…watch the DVD Legacy and you’ll know what I’m talking about. 

Dave’s article however had a deeper meaning for me.  I realized why during my BJJ journey I have seen things that didn’t sit right with me.  We’ve all seen it at tournaments…teams routinely showing poor sportsmanship or competetors showing a lack of respect for their opponents.   We’ve seen it at school…guys hurting each other in practice or routinely switching schools looking for the next best thing.  I realized that everyone practicing a martial art is not necessarily a martial artist.  Some BJJ practitioners are just fighters.  Not fighters in the sense of MMA… but fighters in the sense of their guiding principles.  Fighters won’t necessarily display the same code of values as a marital artist.     

KYRAMARTIAL ARTIST:   A martial artist is guided by honor and respect.  While sparring a martial artist is concerned about mutual progression not just winning.  A marital artist displays LOYALTY to his school and what it represents.  Above all a martial artist will always honor his instructor and the art for making him a better person.  HONOR is his code.   


MMAFIGHTERS:  A fighter is driven by victory and achieving the next goal.  While sparring a fighter is mainly concerned about winning the match and personal progression.  A fighter displays LOYALTY to his personal goals. Above all a fighter is mainly concerned about achieving the next goal.  VICTORY is his code

Wearing a kimono doesn’t make you a martial artist.  I consider Randy Couture a martial artist while BJ Penn (my favorite fighter) was a fighter who started becoming a marital artist after he received his black belt.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a fighter.  There are martial artist and fighters that train at my school.  It depends on your personal goals.  I just think that martial artists can achieve the same goals as fighters… while achieving so much more.  As the saying goes “I don’t do Jiu Jitsu…I live Jiu Jitsu” which means I consider myself a martial artist…what say you?  Bjj4life!


4 Responses to “Martial Artist or Fighter”

  1. Awesome insight. I see this all the time, I’ve noticed that the martial artists tend to be around longer than the fighters. Just in general we have some awesome guys in our school who are “fighters” but it seems to be a whole next level with true martial artists

  2. Frank "The Crank" Camacho Says:

    Well written

  3. nice post. I recently read on another blog that the goal of the sport is to win. the goal of the art is to get as smooth as possible. true of any combat sport/art.

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