This is a guest post by Jason Maine, the founder of FullContactWay, a blog dedicated to providing the best martial arts advice and information.
Martial arts are more than just a sport or combat practices. They’re traditions, systems that have evolved over centuries across various cultures.
Many have their own set of principles. For instance, in Tae Kwon Do, students have to know, recite, and possess the five tenets:
- Courtesy (Ye Ui)
To show courtesy to others in the fighting arts is to show respect to others in all other areas in life. It’s the so-called “Golden Rule” that many philosophies and religions follow.
- Integrity (Yom Chi)
This tenet is associated with doing the right thing or following a higher code of ethics. With this principle, you should ask yourself questions such as: Are you living an honest life?
- Perseverance (In Nae)
To have perseverance is to have the right amount of discipline to not give up when things get tough.
- Self-Control (Kuk Chi)
Part of having discipline is having the proper control over your emotions in hard situations. It’s also about controlling other habits in life from eating to relationships.
- Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool)
As the peak of the previous four tenets, this principle is about doing the best you can while still being modest and respectful to others who have accomplished what you’re trying to do.
The tenets of Tae Kwon Do are just some of the examples of how you can use martial arts beyond getting into better shape or gaining a form of self-defense.
Gain a Sense of Wisdom
With martial arts, there’s a newfound wisdom you can gain. Much of the training is demanding and downright exhausting. However, you will find yourself pushed to exceed limitations you didn’t think possible before.
If you’re not used to this sort of pushing, then it may be a challenge to develop that kind of discipline. Still, it isn’t impossible to build up a habit to return to class, and once you do, that sense of accomplishment once you master a new move feels like no other.
Build Confidence and Self-Esteem
Beyond growing more disciplined, martial arts will help you grow into a more confident person. When we lack confidence, we lack the ability to excel in several areas in life from relationships to careers. Taking away things that kill our self-esteem is an excellent first step to building up confidence, and stepping into a martial arts class does just that.
Once you begin practicing an art, the outside world melts away, including anything that made you feel insecure or held you back. Instructors and fellow students are there to encourage you, to guide and help you rather than put you down.
Whenever you achieve something from getting a new belt or mastering a technique, you’re celebrated. You’ll become more self-assured about your abilities, a certainty that translates to the outside world.
We mentioned martial arts being used for self-defense. Confidence comes into play here. If you’re put in the unfortunate position of having to defend yourself, martial arts not only gives you the ability to keep yourself and others safe, but also gives you the determination and unflinching courage that you can keep yourself and others safe.
Forget About Stress
For those looking to reduce any stress or anxiety in your life to become a calmer person, then martial arts can help with that as well.
Having a bad day at work or school? As soon as you slip on your training gear, you leave that behind.
One way martial arts relieve stress is by giving you better breathing techniques. Through martial arts, you gain a technique similar to a form of meditation. This grants you greater control of your breathing, which in turn curbs any anxiety or stress.
Also, regardless of which of the fighting arts you choose to practice, it forces you to slow down. Our lives have become more fast-paced, heightening our stress levels. If we want to relax, make ourselves healthier and happier, then we need to slow down. Through martial arts, we can do just that.
The arts make you focus. Learning moves and techniques take time, and you are forced to take that time.
Also, depending on what is causing you stress, you can always relieve it in class.
Dealing with pent-up anger? Let it out on the mat. Feeling uncertain about your physical health? Martial arts work great at getting you in shape.
No matter which martial arts you choose to practice, know that once you give it your all, you’re feeding every part of your body down to your spirit. You’ll transform into healthier, happier being.