From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Live Action Role Playing

Larping is an acronym for “Live action role playing”. It is used on and its forums to describe a training trait that is found in many Dojo, Kwons, and Self-defense schools. It is identifiable by pre-arranged self defense techniques, and situational scenarios that students might find themselves in. It is also indicative to styles and schools that practice “fighting” without actually hitting each other with any realistic force.

While many styles have “Waza” or “Kata” such as Judo or Karate, this in and of its self does not qualify the student as a “Larper” or live action role player. If the training also incorporates realistic resistance and contact that is un-scripted, then these drills are seen as supplemental training.

Real Larping hides its head in schools that only do Waza or Kata, and then state that they are trained and skilled fighters.

True Larping also seems to have the most arrogant and troublesome students, they will state how effective they are and how high their rank is yet they will not allow anyone to test these claims with physical trials. They usually will only point-fight (with limited rules) or they will avoid the issue altogether.

Possibly the most irritating form of Larping comes not from their training methods, but rather the quasi-fantasy land they create for themselves in their local martial arts community. At tournaments, seminars, and other such gatherings, the upper echelons of Larping can be seen pretending to be “pseudo-Asian” (referring to pop culture beliefs on how karate masters should look and behave) and somehow living in feudal Japan. They will expect lower belt ranks to scrape and bow as if they were their Noble lords. The lower ranks are happy to grovel because it all plays into the “Matrix” world they have created for themselves.

It is generally agreed upon by most Bullshido members that Larping is not a desirable trait to engage in or seek out. It is believed that contact and real time resistance with un-choreographed situational “free-form” fighting is a better method of training. As far as the social larping is concerned, it would be better to be respected for accomplishment and skill rather than “time served” or political affiliations.

Other examples typical of non martial arts related LARPing:

  • Air-soft Skirmishing and battle re-enactments

  • Paintball Skirmishing