What is a Martial Arts Master?

For those practicing any kind of martial art, complete mastery of all techniques is the main focus of their craft. However, someone has to take on the burden of teaching said techniques, and for that job, we look to martial arts master instructors.

a martial arts student tying a black belt

But what does it take to exhibit expert knowledge of a martial art, and become a martial arts master instructor? How does one get there?

Here is some information about what a martial arts master is, and how to become one yourself!

What does “master” mean?

More often than not, the title “master” is an honorary one, used to distinguish a highly revered instructor or practitioner, rather than to signify a formal rank. In martial arts, earning a black belt is the most common recognition of mastery.

However, in terms of the system of martial arts teaching, “master instructors” are instructors who’s students have mastered martial arts. Generally this is denoted by students reaching the rank of black belt, but this can differ in some martial arts disciplines.

How does one become a master instructor?

The simple answer is to help a student earn their black belt. This takes time, practice, and discipline. A martial arts Grand Master Instructor is an instructor who has had students rise to black belt, and instructor level who have then had their students achieve martial arts mastery.

That said, in order to effectively teach techniques to others, a student must focus beyond the execution of advanced techniques, and include unlocking the mysteries of teaching those techniques in their learning plan. Certain teachers may be open to sharing their secrets, but others will not. Finding teachers that support your mission to master and instruct will be indispensable in the completion of these goals.

Who decides someone is a master?

This title can be instated by an instructor, graduating someone to the black belt rank, or promoting them to the position of teacher.

Popular culture can even play a hand in designating masters, as it did with Bruce Lee, who has never officially earned any designation of mastery, but is widely considered a master in the public eye.

Though martial arts mastery presents some nuance and confusion, one thing is clear: persistence, mindset, and commitment to practice are crucial to becoming revered in any martial art. So, focus, practice, spend time finding a great instructor, and you too could be considered a master some day!