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BlackTaoist.com - Articles: The Internet Warrior

The Internet Warrior

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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 them.

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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