Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Unmentioned Benefits To Training Martial Arts

You have heard all of the benefits to training Martial Arts.

  • Self Defense
  • Discipline
  • Exercise
  • Lose weight
  • Comradery
  • Blah blah blah blah
There are many benefits that are never mentioned, because people would never sign up.  Nobody wants to hear about these, because they cause the practitioner to look deeply into their soul, and find out WHO they really are.
Imagine how that conversation would go:
MA Instructor:  In addition to the above stated benefits, this will also cause you deep introspection that will cause you to really learn what kind of a person you really are.
Prospective Student:  Fuck you dude, I just wanna learn how to FIGHT!!

These benefits have nothing at all to do with the physical aspects of Martial Arts, and has everything to do with the spiritual aspect of Martial Arts.  Now..  I'm not talking about meditation, Eastern Philosophy, Zen, Chi, Tao or any of that crap.  Those are religious aspects that have been attached to many forms of Martial Arts, because they were practiced in religious institutions, or had to do with the moral aspects of using violence.  This is not what I am talking about.  

What I am talking about is how training can affect your personal knowledge of yourself.  Who are you, really?  Are you a bully?  Are you an egomaniac?  Are you a coward?  Are you courageous?  Are you kind?  Are you tenacious?
Who are you?

Training Martial Arts puts you in a position where all of these questions about yourself, and more are answered.  

Example, if you are properly training, there will be a point where you are so tired that you can't lift your hands.  Yet, there will still be time left in class.  What do you do?  Keep going?  Quit?  Your training partners will be urging you on.  What do you do?  Let them down?  Who are you?  When the chips are down will you just give up?

Better example, you are getting your ass handed to you on a silver platter.  The guy you are rolling with has you in all of the control positions and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.  He puts you in to side control and you can't move or breathe.  He switches to knee on belly, and crushes the breath from you, you are sure your ribs are about to pop with the pressure.  What do you do? Keep going?  Quit?  All you have to do to make it end is to tap out and say you are done.  Who are you?  Are you someone who just gives up?  Are you just going to get angry and think the other guy is cheating?  Who do you blame???  Your instructor?  Your school?  YOU???

How can you take humility?  Do you let your ego run your life?  
Example, You are a highly ranked member of your school.  Everyone recognizes your ability and technique.  Everyone respects you.  There is a younger member of the school, who is a phenom.  He is several ranks beneath you.  His style is the perfect foil for yours.  Your go to movements, that won you tournaments and countless matches in the gym have no effect, you are constantly on the defensive, and tapping every time to submissions that you never see coming.
What do you do?  Do you get angry with the kid?  Do you refuse to train with him?  Do you blame him for cheating?  Can you leave your ego at the door?  Can you ask the kid to work his game with you so that you can learn how to overcome it?  Who are you?

The Delphic Maxim states "Know thyself."  Plato insisted the this was the the only way to true knowledge.  Martial Arts will lay bare your soul, and show you yourself.  Some embrace this opportunity, and use it to change themselves.  Some can never recover from what they saw, and quit, never wanting to look again.

What will you do?  Can you stand to know thyself?  Who are you?  

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