I still remember this cold day of January, it was one week from my tenth birthday. I lost my first judo championship in the finals of a local tournament. Knocked down by an o-soto-gari perfectly well executed by my opponent, I was having a hard time to realize my defeat. The gold medal was lost, and the belief that I was the best cut into pieces!
After feeling very down for several hours, and thanks to comforting messages from my family and my instructor, I started to ask myself new questions. Did I give of my best? Would the outcome of the fight have been different if I had been all out? or if I had properly reproduced the patterns studied during training? In the end, what were my mistakes and how to do better next time?
Another school of life
Learning from my failures – or winning with humility, I got better after a while ! – is one of the many lessons I learnt early thanks to the martial arts. To be honest, when I think about it I can’t draw up an exhaustive list of what judo, then taekwondo and several others martial arts brought me. First, probably, the respect: respect for the rules (you know, the “martial” part), respect for a code of conduct, respect for the others (partners or opponents). Then I guess effort and perseverance, like these days when I woke up at dawn to train before going to school. That teaches tolerance as well, since practicing a martial art can be affordable, there is more diversity than in a piano class!
We can also add to this list being responsible, as must be those with the highest rank who know they are role models for most novices.
Burning off energy
In addition to the values imparted, martial arts are generally very complete sports. Upper/lower body, stamina work, explosive power, focus & intensity: you get out of the training session totally washed out! It is a very good way to release one’s energy and to stay (or to get) in shape. We can also talk about the famous endless series of exercises repeated over and over again while the muscles burn and the joints are on the brink of bursting! You know what am I talking about right? Being pushed beyond your limits helps to know yourself better.
Doing martial arts allows one to grow and to be structured thanks to a strong physical development combined to the enlightenment of oneself and others.
You think you wouldn’t be the same without the martial arts? Leave a comment below!