Martial art is not just a form of physical activity, it’s a way of living. Bo Bennett, an author of many inspirational books, has summed up the lessons we learn from martial arts in very simple words. He says, "Martial arts is not about fighting; it’s about building a character."
There are so many thoughts whirling inside our head, making it difficult for us to concentrate. Every day, we try to find different methods to focus. Martial art is one such way to increase concentration. To be good at martial arts, focus is a basic necessity. One not only requires focus during practice, but in daily life too. If one starts practicing martial art at a young age, then one can build stronger powers of concentration that can prove useful for a lifetime.
The famous author, speaker, and pastor, John C. Maxwell once precisely said, “Dreams don’t work unless you do”. We need dedication to work for those dreams into reality. Likewise, martial art demands true dedication, and that’s the first thing a master teaches and keeps telling his/her pupils. It not only improves one’s skills but one’s lifestyle too. Being dedicated is not a short-term approach to success, it’s rather a lifelong serum.
While practicing, you might get pinned down or find yourself in an uncomfortable situation where you may panic (it’s natural), you may even experience a state where you feel like giving up. Such situations occur quite often, but with long-term practice, you learn to relax. Your personality develops into a calm individual who can maintain his composure even in an extreme-case scenario. This is much-needed during the teens as it is the most arbitrary and unstable phase of life.
In martial arts, your master teaches you new techniques in almost every session, but perusing it is an individual’s responsibility. If, everyday, you avoid practice and procrastinate, the ‘day’ to practice will never dawn. Your peers will progress and you will lag behind. To stay in the race, you need self-discipline; and you need to be your own teacher.
A true master never lets his student win during practice. Hard work comes with failure. The more you fail, the more you work hard; and the more you work hard, the more skilled you become. To achieve this, you need to view your failures in a positive light, and martial art develops that ability and vision in you.
A simple mantra for being skilled at martial arts is to work hard. If you don’t work hard today, you cannot succeed tomorrow. Sometimes in life, it’s very easy to blame others for your failure, but here you have nobody to blame. Only you are responsible for your mistakes. You realize your responsibilities and try to put in your best to win the fight.
With every new move you learn, you move a step closer to improving your self-esteem. After gaining mastery over the skills, you understand your potential and try to assimilate things beyond it. Martial arts teaches you to save your energy and use the opponents energy against him. When you achieve this level of confidence, you can beat your opponent no matter how strong or huge. Even in life, you learn to tackle the worst problems with confidence
In the beginning, your master will teach you the basics, and even those may seem difficult. Each passing day may seem progressively tougher. But if you put in your best to complement your master’s hard work, you are sure to overcome the strenuous circumstances.
Someone has rightly summed it up, “Don’t give up. The beginning is always the hardest. Life rewards those who work hard at it.” You just have to learn to tackle the hardships in the beginning, and the rest will be easy in the future.
Learn to respect
Learning martial arts demands respect for your master. It’s not just him, you need to respect your opponent in the ring too. In art forms like karate, kung-fu, tai-chi, etc., the opponents bow before each other as a mark of humility and mutual respect. Martial artists believe that conflicts begin in the ring and end there itself. From martial arts you learn that competition is a game that does not define who you are. Your attitude towards your competitor determines your nature.
An experienced athlete can easily judge everything about you (your habits and lifestyle too). All they do is observe you breathing. Yes, breathing is that important in martial arts or any other physical activity. There is nothing to be taught about it, but breathing in the correct manner is something that is acquired over time. It is said that breathing does not originate in your lungs but it rises deep within you.
Martial arts is about the synchronization between your external movements (elbows, knees, kicks, and punches) and internal (breathing) composure. You will need it when you are physically exhausted and need to calm down.
Ask any true disciple of martial arts what he likes the most, and you will get the same answer from each one of them. The belts and tournament trophies are definitely important but what they enjoy the most is the journey. Their training sessions are more satisfying than anything else.
In life, we focus more on our success and ignore the path we take to attain that. Life is about living and enjoying the moment (good and bad both). Because when you reach your goal and look back on your journey, there will be moments that you would love to live again, but won’t be able to. So, live in the present and leave no regrets for the future.
Never stop practicing
Martial art demands overcoming your comfort zone and doing things that seem difficult. Every day you have something new to learn, and it requires continuous practice. Every day you will improve a little and develop a new strength within. These small improvements are the key to long-term success. As you comprehend that no rewards come without risks, you fear nothing and maintain the urge to learn and practice.
In our everyday chores, we are hardly left with any time to pursue some good physical activity to stay healthy. On weekends we either stay home all day lying on the couch or go on outings. Instead of wasting time in petty things like sitting in front of the TV, you can utilize the day by practicing martial arts. One day of practice will keep you active for the week, and healthy for a lifetime.
It is said that our mind is the greatest opponent in martial arts. You have to focus from the moment you enter the ring till your last punch. A point is reached when your body and muscles are tired and desperately want to give up, but you have to keep telling your mind that you can still hold on and fight against your body’s will.
We experience tough times in life where we lose all hope and quit soon enough to let the evil defeat us. In such times, you need to ignore all the odd voices in your head and push yourself to find the solution and fight back. Martial arts teaches you to control your thoughts and not the other way round.