The Death Of The Martial Artist (How To Tell If You Still Are One)

It’s 2015. Martial arts is dead.

It has become common and mainstream for kids and adults alike these days to train in combat sports such as MMA and modernized martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, rather than the more traditional forms of martial arts such as Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, and so on and so forth.

While there is certainly nothing wrong in training MMA and BJJ (in fact we highly recommend them for their effectiveness in real fighting), the high degree of focus on sports competition and winning at all costs in MMA and BJJ – often come at a price when it comes to developing and cultivating individual morals, values, and ethics – perhaps more so than others.

Is anybody a true martial artist anymore?
Is anybody a true martial artist anymore?

This is true for some coaches, and especially true when it comes to aggressive competitors. Nowadays, trash talking, disrespect, picking fights, and wild use of profanity seems to be tolerated, and even awarded.

Renzo Gracie, one of the most popular BJJ instructors in the sport, has actually spit on his opponents in past MMA bouts, stomped on other people's heads in brawls, and picked street fights with club bouncers in NYC. That is clearly not a positive role model for his students.
Renzo Gracie, one of the most popular BJJ instructors in the sport, has actually spit on his opponents in past MMA bouts, stomped on other people’s heads in brawls, and picked street fights with club bouncers in NYC. That is clearly not a positive role model for his students, or society for that matter.

Simple martial arts values like being respectful and courteous of others, minding our language, greeting each other, shaking hands and thanking each other after a match seem to have disappeared.

High school bullies who used to pick on other kids, have now become Jiu Jitsu bullies who smash on hobbyists and non-competitors, get special preferential treatment and protection from their coaches, carry themselves with their noses in the air, and only care about chasing the next gold medal or the next big win. Getting more fans, followers, sponsors, and free gear seem to be the only thing that concerns them. Their coaches are only concerned about promoting their schools, selling memberships, and making more money.

Lloyd Irvin, a BJJ instructor and master internet marketer, has largely been exposed by the BJJ community as a cult-like leader who brainwashes his students and promotes rape culture within his schools.
Lloyd Irvin, a BJJ instructor and master internet marketer, has largely been exposed by the BJJ community as a cult-like leader who brainwashes his students and promotes rape culture within his schools.

On the professional levels, drug abuse (Jon Jones) and outright cheating is even acceptable, as long as you have money and popularity (Vitor Belfort), and / or can spin it somehow with WWE promo cutting skills (Chael Sonnen).

Jon Jones has convicted multiple felonies including DUI and hit and run, and has been busted for cocaine. He has avoided jail time as a result of his status as a celebrity and fighter.
Jon Jones, while widely considered as the greatest UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of all time and a pound for pound great, has convicted multiple felonies including a DUI and a hit and run, and has been busted for cocaine use. The irony is not lost – as he has admitted in the past to have snitched on his friends for smoking marijuana. He has avoided jail time as a result of his status as a celebrity and fighter.
Vitor Belfort is a known cheater, having been busted multiple times for performance enhancing drugs.
Vitor Belfort is a known cheater, having been busted multiple times for performance enhancing drugs. He is still allowed to fight and compete despite popular belief that he continues to cheat.
Chael Sonnen, one of the most notorious cheaters in the sport, abused performance enhancing drugs so much that he had to retire from competition after the athletic commissions no longer allowed exemptions. Thanks to his mouth, he's been able to talk his way out of suspensions and even gifted title shots.
Thanks to his mouth, Chael Sonnen has been able to talk his way out of suspensions and was even gifted title shots. One of the most notorious cheaters in the sport, he abused performance enhancing drugs so much that he had to retire from competition after the athletic commissions no longer allowed “therapeutic use exemptions”.

Admirable, respectful martial artists like Fedor Emelianenko, Georges St-Pierre, and Lyoto Machida have already exited or are on their way out of the limelight, no longer the idols or role models of the general public, and only to a few hardcore fans.

Fedor Emelianenko is a former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, and widely accepted as the greatest heavyweight fighter to ever have fought MMA, and the #1 pound for pound greatest fighter of all time. He has almost always maintained a calm, stoic composure and remained a respectful martial artist.
Fedor Emelianenko is a former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, and widely accepted as the greatest heavyweight fighter to ever have fought MMA, and the #1 pound for pound greatest fighter of all time. He has almost always maintained a calm, stoic composure and remained a respectful martial artist.
Georges_St_Pierre
Former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre rarely talked trash, showed true martial arts values, and was always a humble and respectful competitor. Greasing allegations aside, he is widely regarded as the greatest welterweight MMA fighter of all time, and one of the pound for pound greats.
Lyoto Machida is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He is a true martial artist in every sense of the word, and not a day goes by where he does not train. He does not talk trash, and prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.
Lyoto Machida is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, known for showing the world that Karate can be used effectively in MMA. He is a true martial artist in every sense of the word, and not a day goes by where he does not train to improve himself as a martial artist. He does not talk trash, and prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.

So in 2015 – how can you tell if someone is still a true martial artist? Let’s take a look at the 5 ways we can identity a true martial artist – regardless of the discipline they practice.

1. They are humble, honest, and respectful, to everyone.

It doesn’t matter to them if you are the janitor, the receptionist, the white belt newbie, the blue belt hobbyist, or the world class BJJ black belt ADCC champion celebrity coach. They greet and treat everyone with the same amount of courtesy and respect. Not just the first time, not just the second time, but every time.

2. They remain patient and calm when dealing with problems or enemies.

They don’t lose their cool. They don’t throw a fit or a temper tantrum when they get submitted in a roll, lose a match, or get injured. They are patient when it comes to dealing with setbacks, confrontation, conflict, disagreements, or enemies.

3. They don’t use their skills to bully others.

When sparring or training with others with a significant skill gap between them, they don’t bully others by brutally knocking out their training partners, pushing smaller training partners around, or rolling excessively hard and pulling off violent and forceful submissions that can easily injure others.

4. They show sportsmanship and good degree of control.

In a match, they kick ass, and after beating their opponents, show sportsmanship and respect to the other competitor. They don’t foul their opponents, fight dirty, cheat, hit them after the bell, or crank on a submission to purposely hurt their opponents. If they are confronted on the street, they defend themselves intelligently without the use of excessive force.

Lyoto Machida showing a sign of respect to his opponent Ryan Bader, after delivering a brutal and impressive knock out.
Lyoto Machida showing a sign of respect to his opponent Ryan Bader, after delivering a brutal and impressive knock out.

5. They are role models who give back to the community and help others.

They carry themselves positively, and make positive life choices that set a good example for others. They give back to the community in some way, perhaps as a teacher or coach, and bring a positive impact on other peoples lives.

So how do you, your training partners, friends, instructors, and coaches stack up? Do you uphold the values of a true martial artist, similar to our Dynasty Family members? If you do – we’d like to hear from you, because Dynasty is a brand for martial artists – not bullies.

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– Dan Kai Wah from DynastyClothingStore.com

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Ben Nguyen – Not Your Typical UFC Debut

If you never heard of Ben Nguyen before March 8, 2014, you probably didn’t think that his fight against Julian Rabaud was going to go too well for him.

Now tattoos never won a fight, but you figure that anyone who sat through getting his entire face inked up like Rabaud did was sort of a tough guy. And on weigh-in day in Queensland, Australia, Rabaud did everything in his power to intimidate the soft-spoken Nguyen, even going forehead to forehead with the South Dakota native and putting his fist on his chin.

First I thought it was a joke,” Nguyen recalled, “but he kept getting into my face and then I knew it was serious. In my head, I was like ‘oh man, I can’t do anything; I’m just going to laugh at him and just wait until tomorrow; tomorrow I’ll unleash the beast.’”

Nguyen did just that, needing just 25 seconds to put Rabaud to sleep. It was Nguyen’s 12th pro MMA victory and sixth in a row. And while a 12-5 record that contains a long winning streak is enough reason to keep an eye on the flyweight prospect, soon people far beyond the fight world found out who Ben Nguyen was, as video of the weigh-in and fight against Rabaud went viral.

It came out of the blue and took the world by surprise and took me by surprise,” he laughs. “I woke up and I was like ‘holy crap, over a million views.’”

At the moment, one of the many versions of this video, titled “Tattooed bully acts tough and gets knocked out in 20 seconds” has nearly nine million views on YouTube. On Saturday (Sunday in Australia), Nguyen makes his UFC debut against Alptekin Ozkilic.

Call that the perfect storm.

After that (the Rabaud fight) happened, I definitely knew I was going to get in,” he said. “But before all the viral video stuff happened, we were in talks with the UFC, so I think it was a combination of having the good winning record, and my connections, and now the video. It all worked together.”

The funny thing is, Nguyen didn’t put it in his head that Rabaud was going to pay for his disrespect as soon as the bell rang that night. He was thinking of a more prolonged outing.

The game plan was actually to wrestle him and beat him up on the ground,” he said. “But I got in there and he stood so close to me that I knew I could hit him, that I could just reach out and touch him. So I did. I got my rhythm going and he threw that big overhand right and I countered it.”

Lights out in Queensland. Since then, the 26-year-old Nguyen picked up a five-round decision victory over Reece McLaren last October, and on Saturday, he will be the crowd favorite against Ozkilic. How does a Sioux Falls native manage that? Well, because he’s been living Down Under for the last couple years.

I’m pretty much Australian, so everyone’s on my side,” the Brisbane resident laughs, though he does admit that he misses home, which he left on what could only be described as a whim.

I grew up in South Dakota, and there wasn’t much going on there,” Nguyen said. “I was doing some fighting, I had some big fights here and there, but I got caught up into a full-time job in the States and I stopped training and stopped fighting for a couple years, and I just realized I was miserable. Why am I doing this?

A pro since 2006, Nguyen was 7-5 on the local circuit in the States, and the big shows weren’t beating down his door, leading him into the 9 to 5 world. He never lost his love for the sport though, and when he heard that the Tiger Muay Thai gym in Thailand was holding a team tryout, he packed his bags and left South Dakota.

I just dropped everything,” he said. “I quit my job, flew out there, and it was a leap of faith to try out for the team. But I made the team, I was in Thailand training and I met my future wife, who was doing the same thing. She was training Muay Thai at the time, we hit it off and the rest is history. I came over to Australia, followed her, and now I’m living and training here and I’m loving it.”

So this is all about a girl, then?

Yeah, pretty much,” he laughs.

Nguyen can fight though, and he gets his chance to do it on MMA’s biggest stage this weekend. It’s a moment he’s been thinking about for years, and with his new home country behind him and the people back in South Dakota making him the talk of the town, he’s eager to get on with the next chapter of his career.

This is just the beginning,” he said. “To be honest, I’m a bit nervous because it’s taken me eight years or training and fighting MMA and now it’s all come to this point in my life where I’ve got to make a good impression. It’s all about making that first statement and after that I think I’ll get a little bit more comfortable.”

Article originally posted on UFC.com

See also: Ben Nguyen’s AMA on Reddit.

Since debuting in the UFC, we at Dynasty knew that Ben Nguyen had to be part of the family. So we reached out to him, and after expressing much enthusiasm about our Asian themed gear, he immediately signed on to be a sponsored athlete.

Dynasty's newest Family member - Ben
Dynasty’s newest Family member – Ben “10” Nguyen

We quickly released a South Vietnam hoodie this week to commemorate his signing. A South Vietnam rash guard is also on its way! We are grateful and honored to have him on board with us!

-Dan Kai Wah from DynastyClothingStore.com