Why study Martial Arts?

This is the post excerpt.

Why Study the Martial Arts?

Why study the martial arts when there are so many other sports available?

Firstly, It is important to acknowledge that all physical activity is a good thing. Too much time is spent glaring at an electronic device these days so anything that gets people outside and interacting socially is a good thing. It’s also important to realise that social media has very little to do with socialising.

Secondly, The defining quality that elevates martial arts beyond standard, and I choose not to use the term traditional because martial arts is more traditional than any other sport, sports is that martial studies focusses on internal development which then permeates the physical. Traditional sports work in the opposite way, technical skills preceded internal development. Obviously there are exceptions on a personal level, but generally speaking a martial discipline requires the artist must master themselves internally first before the physical manifestation ever gets close to a semblance of mastery whilst standard sporting activities start with physical development which leads to internal development. Ironically, top sporting scouts look for exceptional internal qualities before physical prowess. A naturally talented football player will definitely catch the eye but if they are lazy, unfocused, self centred or undisciplined they won’t be picked because these behavioural qualities is what elevates a participant to the ranks of the exceptional. It is exactly these behavioural traits that martial arts looks to develop and hone as a critical function of the martial sojourn; the physical exercises are methodology’s for the development of these traits. If you want to learn self defence, develop a strong mind and will, these are far better weapons than hands and feet, or knives and swords. A strong mind will yield a strong body, a weak mind will produce a weak one.

Thirdly, Often undervalued or even completely omitted, is the social aspect of martial arts. Whilst your local tennis club is social but isolated, the fraternity of martial arts spans the globe. If you mention to another martial artist that you study martial arts, they want to know everything about your style, club, even lineage. It is this brotherhood that creates a network of information, companionship and solidarity unlike any other sporting endeavour. If you are looking to expand your social circles then martial arts will provide a diverse and engaging field of topics and interests.

Finally, martial styles are as varied and diverse as the cultures they hail from. There is literally a martial art akin to every culture on Earth. That means a huge variety to choose from across a wide range of applications. Some martial styles are predominantly for health and well-being whilst others are very aggressive. There are styles that use soft techniques and hard techniques, some that are very militant while others are relaxed and fluid and even weapons only styles. Each style reflects an ideological perspective; regular sports simply cannot offer that kind of variety.

The great thing about martial arts is a person knows it’s for them from their first exposure. They may not know which style to learn but they know whether or not they’ll still be studying in 12 months time. For those students, martial arts will become a life-choice, a way of approaching life’s challenges and a path of excellence to pursue.

Tosa Kumdo


Welcome to the Tosa Kumdo journal. We hope to start conversations by sharing ideas and thoughts in the hope that diversified opinions and ideas combine to create a rich and diverse discourse across a range of Martial topics and philosophies.

As this is my first journal entry, I would like to share my reasons for creating this platform thus providing some context about the Tosa idiom and my personal goal to bring martial minds together collaboratively.

TMap image

Let me start by saying that I didn’t coin the terms ‘To’ and ‘sa’, however, I did love the idea that the combination of these concepts could be combined as, ‘To’ (in Korean) meaning ‘Way’ or ‘Path’ and ’Sa’ (from the Chinese) meaning to give expression to. So a Tosa student gives expression or meaning to their way or path. I used this word with the greatest respect for both cultures hoping to encapsulate my view on the beauty and wonders of the martial arts as I see it.

I believe my Way has always been intertwined with the principles of the martial arts. I often speak with students and parents about this notion as it seems almost esoteric in its application, constantly evolving, changing to meet the needs of what is required at the time whilst still embracing the traditional integrity martial philosophy. The easiest manner in which I can explain this is thus,

my To is not your To, nor is your To another person’s To. It may be affected by external influences, in essence, it should as this reflects the inherent purpose of To, but at the end of the day, you have to live your To; this is your obligation to yourself and to others. This is the path to enlightenment and the key to becoming a good and valuable member of any society.

The same can be said of Sa. In the martial arts, we all learn exercises (movements and techniques) that are personified and actualised through Sa. How you use those techniques is a direct reflection of your Sa, your expression, which defines your character.

Underpinning all these concepts is love. Grandmaster Kim, Jeong Seong teaches that love is required to achieve greatness in the martial arts, ironically, the more love one demonstrates and shares, and the closer they come to achieving greatness, the less influence greatness has on the individual as it is supplanted by generosity and compassion.

I will conclude by saying that I believe all martial arts define the path that leads to greatness. Each style resonates at a basal level with practitioners but only certain individuals can hear it speak to them. This is the inherent value of martial studies. It is a treasure trove of wisdom and self-actualisation just waiting to be discovered. Martial arts does not discriminate, nor judge, it connects through sojourn and relationships.