By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, September 28, 2005.

There is a significant difference between a Martial Artist and the street fighter. A street fighter is generally undisciplined with technique, lacks conditioning and strength, and he does not maintain mental clarity. This combination does not allow for a person to be crisp, clean and devastating with his techniques. A Martial Artist will begin as an undisciplined fighter, and over time he will clean things up. This is a general idea because it does depend on the practitioner to train properly.

Street fighters in general do not practice to maintain skills, and do not have the work incentive to get better. Street fighting is self-preservation. It is brawling with no exactness of application of any techniques. A Martial Artist is generally trained to be disciplined. He is learning and applying exact techniques. A practitioner is learning multiple techniques with both hands and feet. Street fighters swing away with punches to the head and body without any idea of where they are landing

The practitioner goes through a process of developing his conditioning, strength and power. It is a specific gradient exercise to improve these aspects of the body for every level of skill in the Martial Arts. It does depend on the practitioner to be disciplined to strive to become better every time he trains. Discipline, training, striving to improve over one's last best are not things that a street fighter attempts to do.

Maintaining mental clarity is part of a Martial Artists training. It is a very spiritual thing because it does depend on the character, intelligence, and ethics of the individual. He must be able to see the truth of any situation, and operate on that basis. Emotions of fear, grief, and anger cannot be displayed because these are all weaknesses that do not allow for mental clarity during any given situation. A street fighter does not have the character, intelligence, and ethics to maintain mental clarity. It is always self-preservation to take out the opponent.

Martial Artists over time will become disciplined and competent fighters as long as they have trained with a competent instructor, and they have trained correctly. Martial Artists work to become better at their skills. Practitioners have the knowledge, know-how (ability to apply), self-motivation, a conditioned body, clarity of thought, and ethics. This package gives them the ability to be disciplined fighters. Street fighters do not have the ethics to develop any real skills.