“Why I’m a Martial Artist” (Video)

(This article is going to be awkward. But what the heck.)

Yesterday I sent a secret e-mail to everyone on my Karate Nerd™ list.

It was a poem.

Now, I usually don’t write poetry. In fact, I never write poetry. But the recent arrival of spring awakened some artistic part of my soul. A part that felt there was no good online manifesto for us martial artists. So, I sent the poem to a friend who recorded his voice, and then I made a simple video to give a better emotional impact.

I’m not a poet. I’ve never done anything like this before.

But it’s from the heart.

Here’s a direct link: http://youtu.be/_q8HYZGyKuo


“Why I’m a Martial Artist.”

I am a martial artist. I don’t see the world like you.
I see below the surface, when you see water blue.
Although you can’t conceive it, I stand tall to face the wind.
And if you ask me how, I say it comes from strength within.

I am a martial artist. But competing is just a part.
When you see me standing still, I’m fighting in my heart.
I know that I am different, no need to tell me this.
I love the joy of training, somehow it brings me bliss.

I am a martial artist. But I have no enemies.
Although I’m trained to fight, my actions strive for peace.
I know you think I’m crazy, when I get another bruise.
But I just keep on training, no matter, win or lose.

I am a martial artist. This is the life I choose.


Hope it resonates.

Keep keepin’ it real my friends.


* PS. Karate Nerd t-shirts now in stock! Check ’em out.

* PPS. Thanks to Karen Eden for the inspiration!


  • Samuel
    Martial arts dojo has its dojokun. You just created your "sitekun", my man!
  • Madelyn
    Thanks for giving me the words that I never had Jesse-san! I'm going to keep a laminated copy in my pocket and give it to people whenever they look at my bruises with that confused expression.
  • szilard
    Sorry dude, this is not a poem, it is rap lyrics at best: 2 lines of content written in 3 verses. You can turn it into a haiku if you have the talent. Of course you could say, this is a poem all right, after all you made up your first kata at first attempt when you were a white belt, and that is a very good kata too, so why couldn't you write good poetry as well without having spent years working for the skill.
    • Laurence Lance
      Jessee, pay no attention to the criticism. This isn't a English composition class it's your words spoken from the heart. Reciently I came across the following on "Why I carry a gun". Now it's just as easy to say "I carry a sword" or that my body IS my weapon. I don't carry a gun because I'm paranoid. I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world. I don't carry a gun because I'm evil. I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world. I don't carry a gun because I hate the government. I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government. I don't carry a gun because I'm angry. I carry a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared. I don't carry a gun because I want to shoot someone. I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon. I don't carry a gun because I'm a cowboy. I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy. I don't carry a gun to make me feel like a man. I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love. I don't carry a gun because I feel inadequate. I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate... I don't carry a gun because I love it. I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.
    • I'm not really sure what you're trying to say Szilard-san, but I do like the idea of making it into a rap song ;)
    • Madelyn
      Dear Szilard. Why do you still bother coming to this site? You never have anything positive to say. I see it upsets you, so change your habits. You should find something that truly makes you feel happy. If something doesn't work for you, change it. Or maybe just keep it to yourself? If you don't have anything nice or constructive to say, why not just keep quiet? Kind regards, Madelyn
      • Neil johnson
        From critism you evolve into a better more focused person. When my sensei tell me to pull my hudda or elongate my stance he's not telling me that it's no good he's fine tweaking my karate. Making me more efficent. Jesse I'm a big fan and love reading your blogs keep it up man.
  • Isaac Espinoza
    I love the joy of training,somehow it brings me bliss that says it all. Great job Jesse
  • Jesse, you wrote a lot of great things in the past but this is the most impressive!
  • Dr. Donald Miskel
    Cudos, Jesse San: An excellent first effort. Makes me want to go out and kick something. I'm a published poet and I welcome you to the ranks of the poetically inclined.
  • Jack M
    Nice poem. Initially I thought the reading wasn't really that good (I actually thought it might be voice synthesis software) but actually, if it was real dramatic it would've been quite irritating and not very martial artsy.
  • Sören
    Well... "the recent arrival of spring awakened some artistic part of my soul"... I think, now I finally know why I'm sitting here and try to paint Japanese style pictures... :D I am one of your nerds and surely waited (im)patiently for you to finally release your poem officially so I could share it with all the soon-to-be-nerds in my Dojo (resistance is futile, they will be assimilated whether they want to become Karate-Nerds or not xD). :) Fact is, it comes from the heart of a true martial artist and for those who feel the spirit of "Saint Karate" it just speaks from the soul. At least for me it does. Thank you for this real-kept masterpiece!
  • Omar
    It's good to see what somebody can do with some inspiration and love for karare :) Greetings from Mexico, Jesse-san
  • Well compared to my usual answer to the question "Why I'm a martial artist?" - "To save in shoes" this is Shakespeare :)
  • Arjun
    Very nice, This will be my anthem in my Dojo
  • Michael
    Wundervoll !

Leave a comment