View Full Version : Are you a ? ! or .

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Al Williams
10-09-2006, 09:41 PM
The following theory is in no way my own. Credit goes to my dear friend and Sensei Peter Kelly. The only part that is my own is the explanation of the theory and examples.
The theory came from a discussion between me and Sensei about different people that train in martial arts. We came up with a classification system for a person by means of punctuation symbols.

This theory is merely that, a theory. It is not referring to any one person, nor is it meant to be used to belittle a martial art or person in any way. It presents a different way of looking at yourself and others.

A martial artist can be classified as one of three main groups. Are you an exclamation mark (!), question mark (?) or a full stop (.) These are the main classifications, with other sub-groups possible eg (!?) or (?.)

Question Mark (?)
This is a classification that every person goes through. Most beginners are question marks. This is the time in your martial art when you are learning the basics or new techniques/ skills. Making mistakes, asking questions is part of learning. Being a question mark does not mean that you are not able to perform technique, it merely means that you are still learning the best way to execute a skill.

Question marks are fun to train with as they are always challenging and require you to break down your own technique. Question mark martial artist should only exist for a period of time. To be a question mark after a longer time in a martial art is a worry.

If you stay a question mark for a long period of time, it may mean that you are not grasping the martial art or need a different explanation of technique.

Exclamation Mark (!)
I donít like exclamation mark martial artist! These are the people that walk with an open dogi top and pose for whoever may be watching! Their egos walk in ten steps before they do and are all to keen to point out that they are better then this person and have won this many titles!

Exclamation marks perform techniques with ego and unnecessary posturing. They feel the need to show people how good they are and not let their techniques speak for themselves. I am sure that most people have seen an exclamation mark in their day. Their ability to perform technique is not questioned. Their need to show off is fundamental to the explanation mark.

Full Stop (.)
This is what we all aspire to be. This is the martial artist that does what is required for a technique and thatís it. There is no excess noise or posturing-merely that which is required to execute the technique.

Full stops are devoid of ego. What is required is performed. This may have varying results depending on the martial art. What is the point of adding to a technique if you are able to end the confrontation in one cut?

I hope that people are able gain an understanding of this theory from this brief description. It may be that a person is a combination of two classifications. It may be that you are neither.

What type of martial artist are you?

10-09-2006, 10:08 PM
What type of martial artist are you?


10-09-2006, 10:21 PM
A comma aspiring to be a fullstop?

10-09-2006, 11:22 PM
That would be a semicolon.

10-10-2006, 12:19 AM
I am a colon! As we all know, the colon is part of the large intestine! And the large intestine is full of sh..

Never mind..

Lan Powers
10-10-2006, 01:18 AM
(picture the self-portrait of Kurt Vonnegut where he drew his anus)

10-10-2006, 03:21 AM
As a beginner I'd say I'm a ?, but it really feels more like I'm an & I try to do what Sensei just showed us but putting a hand or foot in the wrong spot I sometimes tie myself in knots. :)

10-10-2006, 03:25 AM
at the begining of a long path. Not even a ?

10-10-2006, 05:50 AM
If I have to pick one, I guess I will always be a question mark until such a time as there are no more sparing partners that challenge me. So basically forever.

10-10-2006, 06:34 AM
... (and the journey continues) ...

Amelia Smith
10-10-2006, 06:50 AM
I think it's ok to be a ? pretty much forever. The best aikidoka I've trained with have always been figuring things out, then figuring them out again and again, based on their new understandings of things. This can be frustrating for their students, but I think the questioning process is fundamental to being a real artist (and I mean martial arts, too!).

10-10-2006, 07:07 AM
I'd have to say that I'm probably a grammatical error... :p

Al Williams
10-10-2006, 07:40 AM
Being able to move on from a question mark is a generality. Aikido will always pose new questions- thats what make it great. There will always be questions- being able to anwser some for yourself is important.
I love learning new techniques and reworking old ones. Maybe a combination is the best way to be !?.

10-10-2006, 08:25 AM
The question mark and exclamation point together is called an interrobang, and is used in language quite frequently. Example: Where is the fire!? It is normally printed with the exclamation point right over the top of the question mark sharing the same lower dot. http://www.answers.com/topic/interrobang#copyright

Now Aikido, what are you if you don't know what to ask even.

to use punctuation metaphore I think I look like this ,,,,,,,,,?,,,,,,,,,,,? (bonk),,,,?


Luc X Saroufim
10-12-2006, 11:48 AM
just have everyone in your dojo take a Meyers Briggs personality test.

Walter Martindale
10-12-2006, 02:03 PM
I think it's ok to be a ? pretty much forever. (snip)

I think someone hit the nail on the head.. Didn't O-Sensei claim to almost have Ikkyo (ikkajo?) figured out at about age 69? Or was that someone else.

Mary Eastland
10-13-2006, 06:53 AM
I am sure depending on the day I have been all three.....and will be again.

10-13-2006, 09:33 AM
Shouldn't all of us be a .? A . for the style of the art that we regularly practice but then a ? for we should all be learning new ways from different styles or Senseis.

One of my instructors is a 3dan in Yamate-ryu Aikijujitsu. He is constantly showing me the differences between how he does things and how we do things in my Aikido dojo. I got a lot of new toys to play with now!

10-13-2006, 10:28 AM
What type of martial artist are you?

I'd like to think I'm a ?, especially as I am still very new in Aikido. (Whether that's true isn't for me to say.) But then didn't O Sensei say he was still a beginner? There's no harm in being anything other than a ?

Mike Hamer
10-16-2006, 10:51 PM
If I had to classify myself it would be .??

Aran Bright
10-18-2006, 02:18 AM
Here's a good example of a ! and .


(that's me going A over T)