Everyone practices martial arts for a variety of reasons, ranging from self-defense to personal enjoyment.
Many members of Stevenson’s Historical Martial Arts Club have different motivations. Senior James Fan, a member of the club, lacks any strong interest in martial arts. He says, “Martial arts means nothing to me. It’s also a very outdated form of defense and attack. The people who practice it have boring lives.” When asked about the modern forms of defense and attack, Fan simply responds, “a loaded gun.” In fact, Fan only practices martial arts because he did Taekwondo as a child and enjoys hitting people with swords.
However, most club members disagree with Fan’s beliefs. An anonymous club member has a more energetic view of martial arts. In his words, martial arts means “pow bam”; he likes to hit things. He is a sumo wrestler and encourages others to join him. Additionally, when fighting, he greatly values honor. When he bests an opponent, he first thinks about whether he won honorably. In his words, “it depends if I ganked or not.” A gank is a dishonorable tactic, demonstrating that this club member cares about more than simply victory. Furthermore, this member has applied martial arts beyond fighting, and when asked why he practices martial arts, he responded, “I do it so I can bake better cakes and cookies.” In fact, his love for martial arts is so strong that despite the poor employment prospects, he is considering martial arts as a career.
On the other hand, Alyssa Sun has a more laid back attitude to fighting. She thinks, “It's a fun way to relax from school occasionally.” Similarly, she is more moderate with her recommendation, and recommends martial arts to people “If they want an activity to do with friends or just get an hour to a few hours a weekend.” She also enjoys hitting other people with swords, commenting that “It's stress relieving.” That being said, Sun enjoys supporting other aspiring martial artists, and reflects, “I like helping manage the club and watching people have fun. It was a place for me to relax and get out last year as well.” Sun practices her specific method of martial arts because “Leo taught me last year, so I just stick by that.” Ultimately, Sun considers martial arts as a hobby instead of a potential career, and when asked if she would consider martial arts as a career, she replies, “No, it's only for fun.”
Leo Xie, president of the school’s Historical Martial Arts club, emphasizes the “arts” in martial arts. He believes that martial arts are “conflict's most beautiful form” and recommends everyone to try, saying, “This is one of the pearls of human civilization that we cannot risk losing in the modern world.” To him, martial arts are a way to focus: “Practicing martial arts is a mental process as much as a physical one. Through practicing physical forms, you get the chance to internally reflect. It brings you into the flow, and that flow elevates your mind into something greater than the techniques you are performing.” At the same time, his philosophy retains the practical aspects of martial arts, and when he strikes his opponent with a sword, he thinks, “My training paid off. If this is a real fight, my life is safe.” When asked about his future plans for martial arts, he responds, “It would be my main hobby.”