11 (Mostly) Painless Ways to Flatter a Martial Artist

I posed the following survey question to a group of martial artists:

What is the nicest compliment that anyone has ever paid your martial art performance? Or, if you can’t remember, then what compliment would you most like to hear?

Here are some of their answers:

The sound of tapping. ~Fraser

“For a fat guy twice my age…you left me in the dust” was the best one I ever got. ~Jerry

I get people telling me “you’re really good” all the time. Or “I always learn something rolling with you.” ~Trav

“Your chi is very powerful today.” ~Hal

The best thing you can say to a jiu-jiteiro (in my opinion) is that he or she is ‘very technical’. This implies an understanding of the techniques and the details of the techniques that make them work. Nothing makes me feel better. ~Steve

“I thought what you were practicing was garbage…until you beat me down.” ~Chun

“I haven’t seen Lion Dancing like that since I was a child!” -said to me by an elderly man with tears in his eyes. ~Ten Tigers

“What did you get me with???” (Sutemi)

After testing for shodan, my Sensei’s Sensei (who ran the test) said to me as we were leaving the post-shiai celebratory restaurant, “That was some really nice kata”. It was so simple, but coming from him it was a very large compliment. Talk about beaming! ~Karrie

Babe the pig

He didn’t have to say anything. Lying there and quietly bleeding seemed to capture the moment. ~Iron Weasel

“That’ll do pig, That’ll do…” ~Royal Dragon

What is your answer?


  1. One of our teachers said he wished I had been available to help him teach the kids class (and I’m only a yellow belt). That was a very big compliment for me.

  2. One of the local guys from the neighborhood …
    “I thought all that kung fu crap was for movies and kids not real fighting.”

    I really did not consider it flattering because
    he threw a sucker punch when I was conversing with a girl. Then he actually tried to grab me. So i just slapped him in the ear and elbowed him in the jaw.

    no big deal.

  3. your balls really A R E made of steel ( said while hopping on one foot while holding the other)

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