There are so many different martial arts styles to choose from. There are also a couple different ways to view your study of the martial arts. For some, martial arts study is an art form. For others, it is strictly a competitive sport. Here are some of the primary differences between martial arts as a sport and martial arts as an art.
Art vs. Sport – Methodology
Art – The methodology behind martial arts as an art is the study of your chosen style at its deepest level. A martial artist will want to learn everything from the history of the masters, the methodology behind why certain moves are performed, and the application of martial arts as a way to defend oneself.
Sport – For sports martial artists, the methodology is centered on being the best. While there is still a focus on the self defense aspect, sports martial artists are more concerned with the techniques that will help them win a point sparring match or competition kata (form),
Art vs. Sport – Focus
Sport – For sports martial artists, the focus depends on the type of competitor that they are. Some sports martial artists prefer to stick strictly to point sparring. Others are catch-all competitors. These competitors will take on any event that they can possibly compete in.
Art – The art of martial arts is less focused that that of sports martial arts. For some martial artists, their focus lies with learning everything that they possibly can about their style from its history to its practical real-world applications.
Art vs. Sport – Training
Sports – Sports martial artists spend a large portion of their time working on the physical condition and performance of their bodies. When facing off against an opponent in the ring, a sports martial artists understands that their success can greatly depend on how much endurance, strength, and speed that they can muster during a fight. Their training regiment consists primarily of weight lifting and cardio, point sparring practice, and rehearsal of a handful of katas (forms) that the competitor uses during a tournament.
Art – The training for this type of martial artist is just as broad as their focus. Training usually takes place in a traditional martial arts classroom setting and consists of practicing strikes, kicks, and blocks, point sparring, katas (forms), and self defense techniques. In addition, a martial artist who enjoys their style as an art form will spend much of their time outside of class studying the history and techniques of their styles and the old masters.