This is a guest post written by Fabien Miras, writer of the French blog Arts Martiaux et Développement Personnel.
Combining the two notions seems obvious. When we talk about martial arts, the image of a zen master, sitting cross-legged and meditating in front of the rising sun isn’t far off. The history of martial arts has its share of legendary heroes and fabulous myths, yet there is one fundamental truth: doing martial arts helps one to become a better person. Here is a review of some of the positive effects practicing a martial art has on our personal well-being.
The Effects ON The Body
The most obvious thing is that martial arts can be practiced anywhere and anytime without any equipment. You need a ball to play soccer; you just need your body to follow the martial way. The great thing is that the body is comprehensively exercised: bodybuilding, suppleness, stamina, balance, cardiovascular stimulation, tension and relaxation, etc. Our body is trained at its full potential with just one activity: the martial art.
The Effects IN The Body
This specificity, however, tends to be less and less explored in the martial art schools, except those specialized and grouped together under the banner “internal martial arts.” It is about discovering, controlling, developing and reinforcing the body’s internal energy, often called qi. This fitness to interact with our vital energy is one of the most powerful tools to live a longer and healthier life.
The Effects On The Mind
The primary vocation of martial arts is learning self-defense, protecting one’s physical integrity and one’s nearest and dearest. Teaching our bodies these techniques undoubtedly has an impact on our awareness. We learn how to deal with conflicts, either with other people or from within ourselves. Our self-confidence and self-esteem both grow, we are more aware of the world that surrounds us, more vigilant, more attentive, more “for the moment”. Put another way, we become much more alive.
A Ray Of Light
For all these reasons, and with the help of time and a regular and serious practice, the benefits acquired in the dojo shine through us. If our relationship circle is okay, it is going to help another circle to be okay, etc. There starts the “positive contamination”. In a way, taking care of ourselves can only have positive consequences on our friends and family. Helping oneself actually means helping humanity as a whole. That sounds a bit cheesy, but it is true. On the contrary, if you are hurt, violent, depressed, fearful…that will be reflected on your entourage.
The martial way is not an easy way; it is a way to self-accomplishment and enlightenment. Besides, isn’t the dojo the “place of the way”?
I hope you enjoyed this post, and if not, I am looking forward to reading your comments. Any remark is good for the taking! Fabien.