Martial arts are an important part of many people’s lives. It has even been described by many practitioners as “a way of life”. Generally, martial artists tend to be better people, have respect for others and have a keen sense of justice. Considering all of this, you might have asked the question, “Why is martial arts important?” Here, I’d like to present reasons I find martial arts to be important, in no particular order.
I suppose this is an obvious one. The world can be dangerous, and we learn this fact early in life. Kids get bullied in school. People get attacked on the train, on the street, any situation is potentially a place where you can be attacked. Personally, I would rather have knowledge of how to protect myself over not having such knowledge. I find it unfortunate that many people get attacked and are not equipped in any way to defend themselves. Martial artists understand this fundamental need for self preservation and train themselves to be prepared for violent attack.
The better you get at your art, the more you know you can handle yourself, the more confident you become. Also, you are in better physical shape, your mind is clearer and your breathing is steady and blood flows smoothly through your body; being in good physical condition helps your confidence too.
By Aristotle Labiaga [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Keeps You Off the Streets
People into training in martial arts don’t waste time getting into trouble in the streets; plus, you can’t practice your art very well if you are high or drunk. Training is a positive way to spend your time, and especially for kids, it’s good to keep them out of trouble while they are doing something good for themselves.
You meet good people at the training hall. Respect is encouraged and expected and you must respect each other to train with each other; otherwise, things could get messy and someone might get hurt. You make great friends in martial arts, I know I have.
Martial artists bow to each other, salute each other, bow to the training hall; there is definitely an air of respect at the Dojo. We respect our teachers for their care and friendship and the gift of knowledge they give us. We respect our training partner, without them our training would be incomplete. You must respect someone with whom you train in an art for self defense. You are teaching each other care and respect and self preservation. These are important aspects of life, learned in the martial arts training hall.
You have respect because of the humility required to learn at the Dojo. You can’t just think you know everything because you will find yourself being shown otherwise if you do. You are going to have to work for that knowledge and skill, it’s not just given to you.
You work with each other at the Dojo. You are cooperating with your partners and teachers to learn your art and help others learn it. It won’t do any good working against each other, because then nobody wins. You are learning and having fun doing what you enjoy for all the right reasons, cooperation comes naturally in such circumstances.
Training is definitely a workout. You train all your muscles, you push your endurance and get a good cardiovascular workout. You use your body in various ways, improving range of motion, balance and coordination.
Makes you More Aware
Martial artists must be aware of 360 degrees of their environment. They must be aware of what they are doing, often in very challenging ways. They must be aware of their own feelings and thoughts and their physical actions as well. This improves awareness in all aspects of life.
Makes You Excel
You get used to pushing past your limits to the point there are no limits; you endure and learn. You begin to operate this way in your everyday life, not letting obstacles and hardships get you down. You understand that life is at least partly about pushing past the pain and enduring and even excelling.
By Photographer Stu Younger Image editor Jdcollins13 (File:Kuk Sool Won-throwing technique 04.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Mostly, what is important about martial arts, is that they are fun and add meaning to your life. You are doing something you love with people you respect at a place with positive energy where you are encouraged to better yourself and be good to others.
Featured image: Flavio~, Flickr. Some rights reserved.
In 1981, at the age of 11, I began training in Goju Ryu Karate at a local community center on the Central Coast of California. I trained there for about a year. In 1984, my family moved to Northern California, where I began training in Kenpo Karate under Professor Charles "Chuck" Epperson. I trained at Professor Epperson's dojo for about a year. I left the dojo, but returned in 1994. I earned ranks up through second-degree black belt under Chuck Epperson. I tested for brown and black belts in front of Master Richard "Huk" Planas, first-generation Ed Parker Kenpo black belt. I taught classes at Professor Epperson's dojo from 1998 to 2002. I have also taught private lessons for friends and family. I have training in Doce Pares Eskrima under Charles Epperson and have attended seminars by Master Anthony Kleeman and Grandmaster Cacoy Canete. I have also trained in DeCuerdas Eskrima under Professor James Muro. In addition to my martial arts training, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, have worked in the Human Services field since 1996, and currently spend most of my time writing web articles.