Contrary to what many people think, a long term disciplined practice in martial arts can help you become more tolerant, calm and peaceful, rather than aggressive.
Many people avoid training in a martial art because they’re “not a violent person”, in fact, it’s a misconception that martial arts equates to violence. This misconception actually robs people of a martial arts journey as well as the massive array of benefits that form part of that journey.
Most long term practitioners find that martial arts is the ultimate vehicle for balancing and harmonizing their mind, body and sprit. One of the main reasons for this is that martial arts training, forces the practitioner to be in the moment; the now; the present.
During practice, if you are thinking about the future (imagination) or can’t let go of past (memory) you may very well miss the block, deflection or counter move that you are meant to be doing. So, by not being in the moment, you may receive painful contact to the face or body.
Avoiding pain is one of the main functions of our nervous system, so the practitioner soon learns how imperative it is to be in the moment.
Martial artists learn to focus intensely on each move and therefore, each moment. They have discovered that a wandering, scattered mind will lead to some form of pain (in a controlled environment with controlled limits in well taught classes).
Indeed, all spiritual Gurus will tell you that being in the present will help ease your suffering and bring you joy and bliss. If you consult with an eastern, spiritual guru, and ask him, “why am I unhappy?”, their most basic response would be that your mind is in the way.
They may then give you some techniques to quiet your mind. Things like regular practice in meditation, a physical discipline like yoga or martial arts combined with practicing silence.
As a student embarks on their journey, they may initially feel even higher levels of stress as the practice of being in the moment allows them to become more aware of all their thoughts and feelings. This often creates more turmoil but with many hours of practice, the mind will become still and the student can find the space between thoughts to achieve some peace and bliss.
Many people try to find this “space from their thoughts” by attempting to distract their mind (knowingly or not knowingly). They use alcohol, drugs, long periods of electronic gaming, excessive use of social media and other activities. Attempting to get a holiday from your thoughts in these ways can only lead to more pain, either immediately or later down the track!
With discipline, courage and commitment, you can achieve being in the moment and therefore you can also achieve peace and happiness through a long–term benefiting practice.
Meditators do it with the practice of breath and stillness, Yoga practitioners through breath and postures and Martial artists through movement and breath.
If you choose martial arts as your vehicle, it is important that you find the school with the correct culture of non-violence (unless in life a threatening situation to protect yourself and your loved ones) and self- development. You may also look for an art that is not “competition based” if you would like your journey to be more internal and less about defeating an opponent.
Long term practice of violent strikes, kicks and locks can lead to peace and happiness through the correct processes and teachings. Enjoy this incredible paradox, train hard….