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

Learn The Art of Kata Seduction


Masatoshi Nakayama
Masatoshi Nakayama
  • Earn your kata’s trust. Every suitor starts by claiming they are ready for commitment, that they will do whatever it takes to master the kata. Three months later, half of them have already moved on to the next martial arts style. After so much infidelity, who could blame your kata for being difficult?
  • Shut up and listen. Once your kata has grown comfortable with you, it will start dropping hints about its deepest and most intimate secrets. “That downward arm movement in Heian Shodan? I never said it was meant for blocking kicks,” your kata might whisper coyly. It is very important that you avoid arguing with your kata, or insisting that you know its true meaning.
  • Slow down, tiger. Don’t rush through the kata like your gi pants are on fire. Take the time to explore and appreciate every inch of it.

Breaking The Drama Triangle

The drama triangle is a model of dysfunctional social interaction, created by psychotherapist Stephen Karpman. Each point on the triangle represents a common and ineffective response to conflict, one more likely to prolong disharmony than to end it.

The Drama Triangle
The Drama Triangle

Participants in a drama triangle create misery for themselves and others. By applying the physical principles of martial arts to the psychological realm, you can transform this lose-lose situation and create a more positive outcome for everyone.