The Internet Warrior
Martial artists today have the Internet as a tool to explore and exchange ideas with
practitioners within the global martial arts community. The information available
on the world wide web is staggering and available 24 hours a day.
Not all of the information contained on websites or databases is correct and it
is easy for a beginning student or, "new jack" to the martial arts game to
get mislead by false or improperly presented or stolen teachings. The most
popular places to search for and exchange information online nowadays is within
Message Boards or Forums.
These forums are sites online where people can post questions, answers, stories,
links and the like to further the collective of martial arts. Each forum has
its own characteristics and topics, as well as format for information dissemination.
This essay is a breakdown of the types people you will find within such message
boards, with a description of their traits and advice on how to deal with
The Martial Arts enthusiast is a person whom has seen martial arts movies, read
books and articles, who generally is excited about martial arts who has gone
to a few seminars or basic classes. This person can be of great resource as
they know the scene, and can guide you to information databases where you
can research on your own. They will answer questions as best they can, and
will do a bit of research and send you hyperlinks or references to continue
your quest for knowledge.
Many times these people are diluted in ways because they only have book and
movie "smarts". They have experience researching historical data and watching
media with martial arts related topics, this forms their idea of what the
arts are all about. They have no real application experience or teaching authority,
however they are like best friends at times, able to pull out info quickly.
Beginners almost all of the time are looking for teachers, background info on particular
styles, general inquiry regarding martial arts history, styles, training,
etc. If you know your stuff, help them out because we all had our beginners
shoes on at one time, but be aware that they might try to cling onto you for
more info than you have, or they may be searching for a penpal.
Learned students further the collective universal intelligence of information
available by giving experiential data relating to questions asked. This input
can be greatly beneficial to new or beginning students, but must be taken
with a grain of salt. A lot of times these sources of info can be jaded a
bit to their particular style or arrogant because of some documented or perceived
achievement; nevertheless, these are the BEST sources of information, due to
the EXPERIENCE of learning and training.
Simply put, these persons are in the trenches, have been around the block and know
the real from the unreal. Sifu that are currently teaching are another type
of online forum visitor. They are many times looking for students or are creating
hype for their own interests.
A good sifu tends to realize very early on that the forums are for the more junior
students of the arts, and that their time can be spent better elsewhere, like
actually practicing what everyone else is typing and speculating about. Usually
personal e-mail when written courteously and consciously, is best for communicating
effectively with real deal sifu's.
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