Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Rap Industry & Martial Arts

The Rap Industry & Martial Arts

In the rap industry, it is completely frowned upon to imitate.  Artists are continually promoted to be original.  Martial imitators can learn much from rap Artist’s.  A producer creates his own beats.  A rap artist creates his own lyrics or poetry.  There is no imitation, as soon as there is imitation, the audience will immediately label you as a fake.  In order to become successful in the rap industry, you must build your own name; you must build your own following.  As in any industry, it is very competitive, but one thing that should be noticed, is that they fully encourage creativity & originality. 

Rap artists create their own names, their own trademarks.  Well known rap artist’s such as 2pac, Jay-Z, Notorious Big, Eazy-E, Eminem, LL Cool J, Common, Mos Def, Wu Tang Clan, Immortal Technique, etc.  You see they have all created original names that are uniquely different & expressive.  Each one of their rapping styles are different & unique to their expression, none of their raps are the same.  Their voices immediately send out a unique expression that can never be imitated. 

The beats that they choose to rap to, the lyrics that they put together, the message that they wish to express, the rhythm of their flow, their unique way of dress, their character, their inner spirit, etc.  Everything is uniquely different.  They may all use the English language to communicate, & they may all rhyme, but their individual expression is different & unique to them.  There is no system.  There is no tradition.  There is no style.  There is just artistic expression. 

2pac drew influences from Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Machiavelli; various rap artists before him, his life experiences, etc.  His poetry was his expression of life, & that is what made his music beautiful.  He was not just rapping to make money, he was rapping to spread a message.  There can be many imitators of 2pac, but there will never be another 2pac.  DMX may even look like 2pac, his voice may be deep like 2pacs, but he certainly is not 2pac.  DMX has to express his own, he cannot imitate.  Rap artists cannot be imitated, it is impossible; their voice will immediately set them apart from any other human being. 

So in the rap industry, imitation is heavily discouraged.  But why is it that in the “Martial Industry” everyone is encouraged to imitate?  These people should not even be called “Martial Artists” they should be labeled as “Martial Imitators.”  An Artist is a creator, art is creation, there is very little Art in the Martial Industry.  The Martial Arts has been taken over by Martial Sport.  Sport is a game, Art is an expression.  Art is like music, it is an expression of the inner spirit.  Sport and Art is not the same.  If you practice sport, do not call yourself an Artist.  You may be an athlete, but you are not an Artist. 

A rap artist may not be athletic, but his expression of art has nothing to do with his athleticism.  2pac & Eminem are certainly not the strongest, fastest, most flexible, & most fit people in the rap industry, but they are certainly viewed as 2 of the most talented Artists in the industry.  They are Artist’s, they are not Athlete’s. 

Martial Arts is a non-verbal body expression of your inner spirit.  Unlike rap, you are not primarily expressing yourself vocally, you are primarily expressing yourself through body movement, and secondary is the voice.  Your body movement is your artistic expression.  And because it is body movement, in order to be the absolutely most expressive Martial Artist, you must be extremely fit.  You must be able to move your body exactly the way you wish to move it.  The more flexible, the stronger, the healthier, the more athletic, the better; that way you can fully express yourself as you please via body movement, you will have less limitations on expression. 

Compared to the rap artist, if you tell the rap artist that he is not allowed to swear, that will limit his expression.  If you tell the rap artist that he cannot use any words that start with a, b, c, d, e, or f.  That will limit his expression.  It is like the Martial Artist who does not have the range and motion in his legs or arms to kick or punch the way that he wished he could; that will put a limitation on his expression. 

When you step into the realm of combat sport, you are imposing limitations on the Martial Artist.  If it is a boxing ring, you tell him you cannot kick.  If it is a kickboxing ring, you tell him he cannot elbow or knee.  If it is a Thai boxing ring, you tell him he cannot grapple.  If it is a cage, you tell him that weapons are not allowed.  The rules & limitations hinder the expression of the Martial Artist.  A true Martial Artist cannot be bound by any limitations in his expression.  The only limitation is his own limitation, the limitation that he sets upon himself; it does not come from the outside. 

A Martial Artist is guided by his inner spirit.  He is guided by wisdom & truth; he is not guided by the industry.  Those guided by the Industry are not Martial Artists.  They may be contracted Fighters, they may be actors, but they are not Martial Artists.  Within the rap industry, 2pac is an Artist who was guided by his inner spirit, but the rap Industry was overwhelming his inner spirit, he was a positive force within too much negativity.  Eventually the negativity had taken his life away.  Most rappers in the industry are not guided by their inner spirit, they are guided by the industry, they are not Artists, they are entertainers; they are puppets. 

An Artist can only be a true Artist when he has the freedom to express.  If an Artist is starving and he is changing his Art in order to make money to pay for his next meal, his expression will be corrupted.  A truly non corrupted expression is when an Artist is self-sufficient.  When an Artist is self-sufficient, he does not need you to approve of his expression, his expression is as is, with or without your approval.  Because money is valued so much by society, you will rarely encounter a true Artist.  Most people will take the money over expression; they will not take the expression over money.  Most people will choose to fight for a million than to express humbly for free.  To encounter an Artist is rare; to encounter a Mystic is even rarer.  That is why you will rarely ever find a real Martial Artist in this world. 


  1. Something I find interesting, and I may elaborate on this at some point, is that tremendous artistry can be found in all cultures of the world, yet very few, perhaps only one, have a special word for this expression. The concept 'art' is, as far as I know, something fairly rare itself, perhaps only occurring in the Western tradition (correct me if I'm wrong). In most cultural systems, it is as much a generic part of life as eating. Everyone does it, everyone has artistic expression, to such an extent that there's not even need of a word for it. This makes me consider the English language, and mainstream culture, and wonder how many other concepts exist in this tradition only because a very limited portion of the wider society experience it. Words like consciousness or awareness, for instance

  2. Here's a good question... Is 'art' as we know it so intimately linked with industry that there can be no separation? In other words, does the need for the concept 'art' arise only when this form of expression is commoditized for profit?

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  4. ART........in this USA.....is dependent upon SUPPLY AND DEMAND.....Lets see......the rule is what do the people enjoy seeing the most: excitement while being a passive participator..........how much money can we make a killing with off that?
    A mindset propagated and encouraged and propagated again upon others which destroys the human spirit ART rises from.
    So we Have the battle of the ARTS: Capitol Art and the Art that is Original and even suppressed by the Passive Participators.....at this point in time the human dis-ease responsible for the existing condition described is in a Terminal Phase nearing death of the Art: the prognosis.
    As a result, we see and hear the few standing up to initiate the cries and acts of Healing.
    May we be successful!

  5. Dear Shi Zu,
    I have enjoyed reading this article which underlines the similarities and differences between Hip Hop and Martial Arts, two ways of expression that I highly value. At first when I was a consummer in the industry I did not understand why everyone was saying Tupac was the greatest rapper ever... and then I understood : not only was he a rapper, but he was also an honest and courageous human being, who drawed his inspiration from poetry and history. A lonely individual fighting against a huge mechanism. So as martial artists, we are, in our ways, fighting the same struggle. This realziation led me to discover hidden artists that could be called mystics like Immortal Technique, Jin, Common... the tiny, little conscious part of Hip Hop.

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  7. This video proves kids need to know how to self defense. It also shows the ufc influence in this video. I had trouble posting the video so I will post the link Sifu.



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