Who is the greatest martial artist of all time'?
Many people ask this question, Who is the greatest Martial Artist of all time? The problem is that most people try to answer it using only their opinions. Before attempting to answer the question, the question itself must be analysed. What is a Martial Artist? Some people believe that a Martial Artist is a fighter, others believe he/she to be a pacifist. Some people picture a Martial Artist as an entertainer/performer, others believe a scholar, and even a rebel, etc. etc. The Martial Arts are so vast that a Martial Artist is all of these things and infinitely more. Therefore, this question could produce answers and names for each of the categories above, but the problem is that every-one of them could be classified as the greatest Martial Artist of all time’ because everyone is different and unique. Obviously this answer is not the one looked for by most people, so we will continue to find more. When people enquire about or offer their opinions about the greatest Martial Artist of all time’, they generally mean 1 of 2 things:
1) The greatest all-around Martial Artist of all time.
2) The greatest fighter of all time.
1) As I have said before, the Martial Arts are extremely vast. They are a way of life. Nearly anything that aids your growth in life can be characterized as Martial Arts. Asking Who is the greatest all-around Martial Artist of all time? is an even more in-depth question than asking, Who is the best musician, athlete, medical practitioner, etc.? The only way to answer these questions is by personal opinion. We could generalize by using statistics, but as you know, statistics can be inaccurate.
2) The greatest fighter of all time is much easier to calculate statistically or form opinions about. Lets pretend for example sake, that there are only 2 candidates for the title of the greatest fighter of all time’ (even though there are as many candidates as are fighters, living on this planet). Lets call them A and B. To calculate statistically the greatest fighter of all time’, between the two, they would have to fight to the death while someone noted the results. As with all statistics, the experiment would have to be run several times. We would have to bring A and B, back to life and run the experiment again. Then we would have to repeat the whole process of having them fight, and bringing them back to life, 100 times or so. Again, let us pretend in test 1: A won 51 and B won 49. This result does not mean that if we ran the experiment again B would win, especially if we change the environment or circumstances.
Now that we have thoroughly proved that there is no such thing as, the greatest Martial Artist or fighter of all time’, let us pretend for a moment that there is, so that we can delete the question once and for all (I hope I have not lost you). Okay, so the greatest Martial Artist of all time’ is walking home through a dark alley and is stabbed from behind and killed. Does this mean that the murderer is now the greatest Martial Artist of all time?’ No you say, but he beat and killed the best. If the greatest fighter of all time’ lived to old age, then he would not be the greatest fighter of all time’. Thus, this proves that, even if there were one greatest fighter, they would not always be the best unless they died at their peak, leaving the illusion behind.
As you can see, these questions can never be answered, and that is why there are so many World Champion Martial Artist and Fighters around. Finally, the next time you hear or voice opinions or statistics, remember that they are just that..opinions and statistics! They are not worth falling out with people over!
By Robert Devane