How Martial Arts changed my Life

As a Martial Artist, I have had many years to understand Martial Arts. I know how it has benefited me and what I use it for. I have also been an avid observer of others who pursue Martial Arts and have watched them grow, mature, and become better people.

Martial Arts serve a variety of purposes and appeals to many different types of people. Many seek sporting glory through athletic endeavours, while others seek improvement of the self. Victims of crime and bullying joined to learn how to deal with these difficult situations. The ability to fight and overcome an adversary is probably one of the most popular reasons that people pursue Martial Arts. It speaks to our insecurities. That we must overpower our enemies before they overpower us.

 My journey began as a child who wanted to emulate the great Bruce Lee. I wanted to be strong and powerful. I found that there was much more to Martial Arts than I originally thought. I am going to share some insights into how learning Martial skills changed my life with the hope that I can inspire and help you reach for a better version of yourself. 

But before I get into that, I wanted to give you a quick rundown of some of the benefits you can expect by training in a Martial Art.

 

Improving the Self

What about pursuing Martial Arts as a means to improve the self?  I agree that Martial Arts is useful to defend ourselves and protect others when situations turn violent, but I have also come to realise that in the absence of a foe, an enemy or a sparring partner – I am left to battle myself.  The outward use of Martial Arts is turned inwardly.  I train to battle the physical and mental weaknesses within myself.  After each battle, I should emerge better than I was before. 

 

Physical Strength

The physical exertion from Martial Arts training improved the overall strength of my body and enabled me to perform regular activities within my day with ease and vigour.  This is especially important as you reach your senior years where your body does degrade. 

Rigorous training in Martial Arts has also proven to increase cardiovascular health which optimises the function of the lungs and heart.  This has really had a positive effect on my ability to recover from the flu and other viral infections.

I also use Martial Arts as a gauge of my fitness, especially during tournaments and when grading for higher ranks. 

“The more I train at home, the better I perform in the dojo.”

~ Martial Devotee

physical strength

 

Mental Strength

Placing my body under physical stress and pushing my physical limits has also served to strengthen my mind.  I found that I grossly underestimated my physical limits and that my mind tended to give up well before my body actually would.  This meant that my perceived physical limits and pain response were well under my physical limits.  With regular training, I was able to get closer to my actual physical limits by fortifying my mind and learning to embrace the hardship that I was enduring. 

I learnt that the mind is a powerful force and that can serve me or work against me.  When I regularly pushed through my perceived limits, I found that my mind proved no longer to be an obstacle but rather started to adapt to my training along with my body.

Having a fortified mind has also enabled me to control my emotions effectively.  Although I sometimes do lose my temper because this is a very human trait, I have found greater stability in my emotions and my ability to cope with stress.

 

Humility

My Martial Art has also kept me grounded which has kept me out of trouble.  I have found that there is little time for trouble when I am focused on my training.  I have learnt the value of humility and always keeping an open mind.  I have experienced that there is always more to learn and master.  This has allowed me to learn from those less experienced than me.

The physicality of the training highlights my weaknesses and vulnerabilities which helps me to reject my ego.  When I discard my ego, I create an environment for myself that is free to learn, experience and progress.  Hardship becomes my ally and I am able forge ahead with greater strength than I did before.

 

Perseverance

Martial Arts training is hard.  It is tough on the mind and body.  It takes time to master the techniques.  You must persevere to keep progressing and improving your Martial Arts skills.

This is yet another lesson I have learnt from my Martial Art.  Nothing can be achieved without hard work and dedication.  The greater the achievement, the greater the effort required.  Effort is not even enough.  Effort must be combined with consistency and deliberate practice. 

This sort of mental grit has helped me in other areas of my life as well and this is one of the positive side effects of learning to persevere through difficulty. 

 

Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit

Martial Arts if practiced earnestly and for long enough will enhance the body, mind and Spirit.  Moreover, I have found that I have a better understanding of my physical, emotional and spiritual self.  Due to this enhanced understanding, I am able to combine and align these aspects to improve my happiness and satisfaction.

meditation

 

How Martial Arts Changed My Life

My recollection of myself as a child leaves me a little anxious.  At that stage, my future did not seem very bright and I was seemingly in complete disarray.

As I think back to my formative years, I can’t help but feel sympathy for that child. On the exterior, he was obedient, well-behaved and shy. However, this shell of my former-self lacked self-esteem, confidence and was the target of bullies. He lacked self-awareness and was so wrapped up in fear, that he performed poorly in school. This child had undergone many traumatic events which set him back emotionally and destroyed his ability to function at the same capacity of a child his age.

However, fate would have something else instore for him. His love for Martial Arts and the strength that he longed for propelled him into his deepest fantasies. Fantasies in which he would immerse himself in the pursuit of Martial knowledge and skill. Where he could be strong and in control of his own destiny.

Through intensive Martial Arts training, this wounded soul would be transformed. Indeed, he did become stronger. Not just physically but also in character. He understood his body and no longer felt like the disempowered, overweight, and awkward child he used to be. He moved with confidence but maintained his humility. No longer did others have control over him. He was now capable of standing up for himself and others that felt the brunt of vile and wicked bullies.

He discovered clarity of thought as he had dispelled all the fear that previously gripped him. Now that he spent less time on survival, he possessed more time to flourish and grow.

School had now become a pleasure instead of a chore. His Martial Arts training had gifted him discipline and a laser-like focus with which to absorb what he was taught, and he improved his grades ten-fold.

His Martial Art also taught him important life lessons like perseverance, humility, and respect. Suddenly, all problems were perceived as challenges which was his privilege to surmount. He stayed the course through hardship and difficulty. This was the mindset which was so tightly ingrained during his Martial Arts practice. Most importantly, his training provided him with a physical outlet to heal emotionally and strengthen his Spirit.

As you can see, I owe a great deal to my Martial Art. It is an integral part of who I am. This is how Martial Arts has changed my life and I could not be more grateful.

So the question is, what is the purpose of your Martial Art? How did Martial Arts change your life?

 

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