skip to Main Content
The Difference Between A Martial Artist And Fighter

The Difference Between a Martial Artist and Fighter

Updated on January 7th, 2020 at 07:33 am

The spirit with which an athlete approaches a match dictates whether he is a true martial artist or a competitive fighter.

Main Difference Between a Martial Artist and FighterMaster-Yu-Student

During an athletic career, a martial artist engages in training, preparation, and competitions with an intrinsic yearning to experience lifelong growth. A fighter, on the other hand, goes to the gym and steps into the ring out of a compulsion that is based on extrinsic factors, like money or championship titles.

Martial artists and fighters are known throughout the world, from historical times to contemporary ones. In fact, several martial artists and fighters are recognized for their athletic prowess. Many have fans all over the globe. Some have dual careers in film, while others make their name solely in the ring.

To help understand what differentiates a martial artist from a fighter, it is important to know prominent figures in this full-contact combat sport. Several fighters are notorious for defeating opponents in the ring and scoring multiple titles. Many martial artists gain fans for their enduring dedication to the discipline.

Who are Popular Martial Artists?

As of 2019, several martial artists are recognized from their stints in action movies. Donnie Yen and Jet Li are two of the world’s most famous living martial artists. Jet Li, since the age of 11, has earned gold medals in the Chinese wushu championships.

Even more familiar is Jackie Chan, who is a household name in American film. He, too, is a dedicated martial artist with acting chops to boot. Early training in the martial arts helped these artists excel in the discipline and earn major roles in action films.

Who are Famous Fighters?

The world’s most renowned fighters of 2018 are substantially rewarded financially. George St. Pierre (net worth of $25 million) holds many titles. BJ Penn (net worth of $20 million) took up the sport at age 22, only to become one of the world’s most highly paid fighters.

Although now retired, Andy Couture earned two titles in his weight division over the course of his fighting career. Like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, Andy Couture entered the world of action films. As an action star with infamous fighting skills, he boasts a net worth of $17 million.

Strictly fighting in the ring does not preclude one from being a martial artist. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter George St. Pierre considers himself a martial artist. Although he retired from fighting in February 2019, he still trains in the martial arts—for his own satisfaction.

George St. Pierre mentions his philosophy toward the sport: “I’m a martial artist. I don’t train for a fight. I train for myself.” A true martial artist is motivated by his ongoing evolution in the discipline. Fighters, on the other hand, train for their next spotlight in the ring.

How Differently Do Fighters and Martial Artists Approach Training?

Fighters are driven by their next match. They train in preparation for an upcoming fight. Without a fight scheduled in five weeks, there is no need for fighters to drag themselves to the gym. Fighters strictly prepare for the immediate goal—which is to win their next match.

Martial artists, in contrast, are more attuned to developing skill in the discipline, whether or not a competition is imminent. Technique and form are practiced for the sake of growth. Genuine martial artists are driven by the love and dedication they possess for the discipline.

How Differently are Fighters and Martial Artists Motivated by Money?

As is evident from the famous names mentioned, the classic fighter differs from the traditional martial artist when it comes to dollar signs. Fighters are motivated to earn money and titles, and notable fighters, like those mentioned, draw massive crowds—which translates into even more enormous earnings.

Aside from money, some fighters are influenced by the need to impress or gain attention, and the fighting ring is the best place to release pent-up anger and show off combat skills. Other fighters are simply drawn to the extreme, and prize fighting is one of the epitomes of extreme.

Practicing martial artists have many values. Admirable character traits, like self-discipline, humility, gratitude and courageously handling fear, are developed in the practicing martial artist. These invaluable traits are worth more to the martial artist than claiming world titles.

How Do Martial Artists’ and Fighters’ Careers Differ?

A fighter’s career is relatively short-lived, since he fights solely to earn a living. Once he retires from the ring, the fighter often has no need to pursue involvement in fighting any longer. Without a match on the horizon, training in the gym is ultimately forfeited.

True martial artists are devoted to any possible aspect of the martial arts. For some, staying involved means teaching martial arts, refereeing, judging competitions, or occasionally training. Their unwavering love of the discipline keeps them invested in the martial arts during their entire lives.

Learn Martial Arts from Sr. GrandMaster Yu

One such martial artist who remains dedicated to human development and artistic expression is Sr. GrandMaster Yu. His martial arts classes, taught at Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts, attract youth as well as adults who have a desire to learn self-defense skills and to master and improve their skill and technique. Students choose from a variety of martial arts, such as Judo, Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido, taught in the program.

Martial Arts Instructors

Studying the martial arts offers innumerable physical and emotional health benefits. Cardiovascular fitness improves and bone and muscle strength increase. Self-discipline and healthy habits are learned. Students experience less stress and increased energy after participating in classes.

Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts’ classes are led by internationally certified instructors. Students who delve into martial arts training are often lifelong learners who wish to challenge themselves in a positive training environment.

Practicing the discipline of martial arts is a long-lasting journey, and Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts guides students on this remarkable path toward physical well-being and mental discipline. Martial arts practitioners thrive in Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts classes held in the suburbs surrounding Oak Park, Illinois.

Contact Us

To register for our premier martial arts training classes in Oak Park, IL, contact Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts at (708) 383-3456 or

Call Us Now (708) 383-3456