Many martial artists claim to hold rank in multiple martial arts. Some claim multiple black belt ranks, and some even claim multiple master ranks. How can this be?
First, it depends on what you consider martial arts to be, sports or “ways” of life. If you consider them sports in which you learn to play and participate, and that ranks just signify your status within the sport, then, just as you may be a baseball player, a football player, and also a basketball player, you may be a rank holder in multiple martial arts. However, if you consider a martial art to be a “way” of life, then you cannot legitimately claim high ranks in multiple arts. Once you pledge allegiance to a martial art and accept its teaching, principles, and beliefs, and it becomes your way of life, then you cannot also claim allegiance to another martial art.
For example, if you truly believe in the concepts of Aikido and accept them as your way of doing things, such as using circular motion and yielding to and using an attacking force against itself, then how can you also legitimacy claim to truly believe in a linear art that meets force with force, such as Shotokan or Taekwondo, also accept it as your way of doing things. You cannot serve two masters. You can be the CEO of Ford or of Honda, but you cannot be both. You must pledge your allegiance to one or the other. You may once have been the CEO of Ford, but when you become the CEO of Honda, you will be expected to denounce your allegiance to Ford and accept Honda as your new master.
There are many who do not share this view. They say that they can loyal to two masters. If you owned a business, would want an employee working for you who also works for a competitor? With whom does the employee’s loyalty lie?
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