pugpaws2 asked in SportsMartial Arts · 7 years ago

"Mastered" What does the word mean to you?

I keep seeing people use the word "Mastered" to describe the level someone has developed the basics of a (any) martial art to in order to be good enough for first degree black belt. I'm wondering if they don't think before they throw that word out there? Or do they have a much different idea of what the word mastered means, than the word means to me. Or perhaps they have a double set of standards for the word.... Like one meaning when describing a new black belt and a different definition when talking about someone that is truly a Master of a martial art. What is your idea of what the term means?



While I appreciate that you all took the time to give an answer, what I was looking for was a logical, straightforward answer/ definition. Some of you did that. Some of you took this as an invitation to give me some gibberish or something that I suppose is supposed to sound philosophical? I realize that everyone has different ideas as to what the term master, or mastered means. My whole point was to show that by any reasonable definition of the term/s using them to describe the skills of a new black belt should not be within and reasonable definition of the term/s.


26 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favourite answer

    In my eyes there is no Such thing. To "master" anything is to put A limit in your mind That there is no Need for improvement. To have "mastered" something is to have perfected it and perfection doesnt Exist. There is always A need for improvement and if you believe this Whole heartedly then your potential, involving anything, is limitless.

    Source(s): Anthony Robbins
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago


    Source(s): Portraits Lessons http://emuy.info/RealisticPencilPortrait
  • Jay
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    I know I've mastered the ability to walk, talk and read. There's nothing much left to learn in these fields, and I can do it all with complete ease. Doesn't mean I never stub my toe, slur a few words, or stumble on a sentence now and then, but I've reached a point where it's completely causal. I'm not an olympic sprinter, or a public speaker, or a speed reader -- those are all entirely separate skills -- but what I learned is plenty to get through life.

    I never forget that the martial arts are called an art, whether or not that's an Eastern interpretation, but in the West this does have a purpose. An art couldn't be something you perfect. Music, painting and sculpting all have near limitless potential, but stages of development that you would have to "master" to get better.

    A black belt, as we've explained before on here, is about having a firm understanding of the fundamentals, or "All basic movements and techniques, can be applied with extended force and proper application in basic combination." The key words here would be "all basic movements and techniques" and "extended force and proper application". I would say there is a mastery of having LEARNED the requirements and KNOW how to put them to use, just not anything further from the basics.

    I think people go a little too far with the word, using it mostly erroneously, but the intent of comfortably and casually using what you've learned is what they're all implying. As for the martial arts as a whole, that I believe is impossible, especially as an art.

  • 7 years ago

    to me the term "Master" is very simple. A master is someone who:

    has earned the highest ranking their art/association/league/tournament can offer

    has defeated another "Master" or several masters in combat

    is virtually unequalled in their skill level and achievements

    THAT'S IT.

    Note that I didn't say a master is just someone who has a "black belt". Because ot me, all a belt means is that you've become a high ranking STUDENT. I know for a fact that most teachers today (blackbelts mind you) in America have never physically fought anyone before, let alone a REAL fight. I have defeated a black belt in sparring before while I was still at a novice ranking... so I know for a fact that the ranking doesn't exactly define your skill level in a fight either. Naturally this means there can be MANY masters, also. But if I become a Master and defeat everyone who's ever been called a Master.... that makes a TEKKEN LORD.

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  • 7 years ago

    I agree with KW, that it is relative.

    To me, there are different meanings for mastery.. depending on the context.

    Also, many people misuse the term.

    A definition of true mastery is when you can take a problem or issue that has negatively impacted your life, and turn it around completely, so that positive results can abound.

    There is a woman named Charlotte Gerson. Rather than me tell you about her, look her up and check out her youtube videos.

    There are also people who have been told they had "XYZ" and would die. They were given a death sentence but decided that they would defeat it - and they have. They took it upon themselves to create mastery in their lives.

    Seiko Toyama Sensei was a true master. I'm sure he felt he was only a student the whole time, until his death. Yet, he was called a master by those who had high levels of mastery in the martial arts, as he did.

    Developing the basics and having them to proficiency is not mastery. They made something happen, with the help of something else, be it repetition training, consistent training, self discipline.. if they persist they will eventually master things they train in.

    One cannot possibly know all there is to know about his art, but when he has spent his life forging his body to the point where it becomes automatic, then that person can convey his experiences and knowledge, and has become the master of his house and of his life.

  • 7 years ago

    Initially I thought Black belts were "masters". Then I began thinking black belt 10th dan is a "master". Now I have realized that in a philosophical sense "masters" don't exist. No matter what level you reach there will always be something that will remain.

    Born and brought up in the East we have been injected early on with the idea that one should not even try to be a "master", as life is short and all will end when it goes away. So, technically if you yearned for mastery all your life you will be disappointed because death comes before it.

    So, not just in the dojo's but in the East they teach you everywhere that mastery does not really exist. And if it does then the only way to achieve it is giving up the search for it and living in the present.

    For sake of language we use many words. Just for communication. For me master would be a word like that.

    Hope I didn't lose you and that you finally got me.

    Thank you.

    Source(s): All my life.
  • BBQPit
    Lv 4
    7 years ago

    For me, it depends. Whenever any word is used, there is a semantic range of meaning and context is usually sufficient in determining how a word is used. In the context of martial arts, I view the word "master" as someone who is highly proficient at something.

    So when I say someone is a "master of the basics" I do not mean that the person understands all there is to know about the basics, nor do I mean that his techniques are perfect. What I mean is that it is someone who is very good, better than average, at their performance and understanding. It is not to imply that they've reached perfection and cannot learn more or cannot improve.

    Also, to me simply saying, "a master of the basics" is not the same as saying, "A Karate master". The latter would be much bigger compliment in my opinion because that phrases encompasses everything about the art including the basics.

  • 7 years ago

    Today, probably means nothing. Mastered based on who's opinion? It has become a term that 999 times out of 1,000 means nothing. Who out there today is considered a master throughout the country or world, maybe if they said this guy/girl has mastered it then it means something. Now it is probably the above average "instructor" telling someone they have mastered something. But only after they get paid.

  • 7 years ago

    When I first started in Kajukenbo, my original instructor was a 1st Degree Black Belt. I really wanted to learn that art, so I didn't care what rank he was at the time. For sure, he knew more than me. Through the years, he got promoted and now he is a 9th Degree Black Belt. The official title for a 9th Degree Black Belt in Kajukenbo is "Grandmaster". He admits that it is a bit pretentious, but that is what he is supposed to be for the amount of training he has accumulated. I started back in the 1980's when all Kajukenbo instructors were addressed by their first names. So, even in 2013, I am still on a first name basis with my original instructor. That's how I remember him, and I think that is how it will always be, no matter what his official title is supposed to be.

    So, is my original instructor a "Master"? I am not sure. His official title is "Grandmaster", and some people do address him with that title, but I do think it is a bit odd. My original instructor knows more than me, he is better than me, but we will always be on a first name basis, because, we are from old school Kajukenbo, where we did not have such formalities.

    Source(s): Arnis, Kajukenbo
  • 7 years ago

    Master is a title. It is one that is a teacher of teachers. It is one whose cup is now empty again. You begin your training as a white belt(a blank page). You begin to obtain knowledge. The color of your belt darken as you grown in knowledge. But the more you learn you find that there is so much more to learn. Therefore once you have reached being a master you understand and have the wisdom to know that you still have a black page.

    I don't know that anyone ever truly becomes a true master in that sense. Sure we can earn a title or two. But to ray obtain enough knowledge to have nothing else to learn to the point the you realize all is vanity I do not believe anyone has gotten there.

    Source(s): Martial Arts since 1982
  • 7 years ago

    To someone who has never seen an eagle soar a sparrow (or even chicken) can fly.

    I think this is the case with many people on here. They have never really seen an true master so anybody who knows more than they do is a master or anybody who can do what they think they should be able to do is a master.

    To me, you are a master when someone calls you a master just like you are a teacher when someone calls you a teacher. It really has very little to do with how much skill you have. If you know little you will call someone who knows more than you do a teacher or a master sooner.

    One of my Asian instructors ask that I and the rest of the students use the humblest/lowest form of the word teacher not master such as Laoshi instead of Shifu in Chinese martial arts even though the teacher is no doubt a master in my mind but he is younger. I also have an Asian instructor who is older who we do call master and he is an older gentleman. In China Master also is someone who is older and wiser.

    In the Japanese/Okinawan martial arts all my Japanese/Okinawan teachers are called Sensei regardless of their age. I would put them into the master category but we were never allowed to call them master.

    Now my American martial arts teachers tell us to call them master and they have themselves assumed the title of master and they are nowhere up there with my Asian teachers as far a knowledge. So I also think it is a cultural thing. American tend to be much more proud than Asians and much more demanding of the respect rather than earning it and being OK if they don't. Americans also have the need to draw attention to themselves much more than Asians would and image means everything even if you don't have what you claim as long as you can uphold that image you are OK.

    Bottom line master is merely an opinion of someone but we treat it like it is a title and give it way too much importance.

    Edit: Seriously, remember when you started out as a white belt and saw all those brown belts and shodans in your dojo and thought "wow!' and they looked really good? And after you trained with them for 5 years you started seeing things that were not so perfect and the longer you stayed the more you saw? As you progress in your training your expectations of mastery will go up too.

    Mastery has no clear cut definition but is a perception how someone sees how someone else does things. Sorry, didn't mean to get all philosophical about it but to me a master depends on who is calling the person a master. If a white belt calls someone a master I may pay no attention but if a high ranking black belt calls someone a master I will go check it out. It's just like some schools will promote students to black belt a lot sooner than others. There simply are no standards.

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