Several questions and answers have defined their own interpretation of what a martial art should be. Should there be a question "What is the definition of martial art"? Should it go into the FAQ -- and if so, what would it be?

Should I ask this question in the main site or would it be closed as too general and soliciting opinions and not facts?

  • This is a perfect discussion question for Meta, IMO.
    – stslavik
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Very interesting...

If we're defining it to be inclusive, then yes; by that, I mean inclusive of combat sports, fighting methods, military combatives, self-defense courses, etc.

By maintaining a broad scope, we're:

  • Contributing to the continued growth of the site.
  • Covering a greater spectrum of topics which may provide better support of narrower questions.
  • Making clear the scope of the site without exclusion or prejudice, but with every attempt to help those seeking quality answers to genuine questions related specifically to martial arts.

I may personally find point-sparring, Dillman's no-touch knockouts, and Ashida Kim reprehensible in my own opinion, but this does not negate their part in the overall world of martial arts.

Does this mean that we should be completely open and decide on a case by case basis? Not necessarily. We can agree that things like WWE are better suited to other sites (perhaps acting), or that XMA (for instance, I'm not saying this is a must) is dance and not martial arts, and explicitly exclude them. I think that, however, getting into the same petty debates that have ripped apart other Q&A sites (like combat sport vs. self-defense legitimacy as martial arts) is definitely to be avoided.

  • +1 pretty much my own thoughts on the matter. Stop reading my mind! ^_~ Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 17:41
  • Yep, keep the FAQ quite open and inclusive, it can be tuned at a later date.
    – slugster Mod
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 22:46
  • WRT "Dillman's no-touch knockouts" - if something is not real, it has no place in a martial arts discussion. There are other forums for pretending.
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 3:17
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    @BobCross this is going to be the tricky bit, there's a fair bit in the martial arts world thats....hmmmm.... "fuzzy with reality". Some people buy into it 100% and claim others are just ignorant. Then there is the people who know better who know how bogus it all is ( not to show my bias at all... ) :-) Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 3:33
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    @KeithNicholas, I agree. Maybe the definition should be based on physiology. On the other hand, if it gets all "woo woo, look at my magic powers," I going to call JREF!
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 4:18
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    @BobCross There are other martial arts legitimately using applied psychology in their instruction (nearly every form of Systema, for instance [and there are many; Ryabko, Kodachnikova, Sibierski, etc.], the Bujinkan uses it, even many Koryu Kobujutsu styles have it in explanation of where to look, albeit in a more folk manner). Further, many arts have forms of folk magic inclusive in them (some styles of Silat, for instance). Dillman has some notable skills in other areas for past accomplishments; sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.
    – stslavik
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 17:58
  • @stslavik, well-applied psychology has measurable physiological effects (e.g., meditation and anger management => reduced pulse rate, blood pressure and cholesterol levels). Any claims of "magic" need to be demonstrated as real and effective or they are fundamentally nonsense. In no way do I need to "take the good with the bad." The whole purpose of sites like these is to accumulate expertise, not nonsense.
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 18:27
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    I don't disagree. They are, however, traditional aspects of these martial arts, and, like Qi, will occasionally have to be accepted. I came to this realization, hard as it was, when I attempted to question the physiological explanation of aiki. Nothing, however, is stopping you from addressing the issue with a logical argument and/or explanation in the case of those questions.
    – stslavik
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 19:26

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