Martial arts have been a part of every culture that has ever existed in some shape or form. Why? Because humankind has always been at war, with other countries, with their neighbors, and with themselves. Human beings all across the world have developed their own styles of self- defense and self- development because man has been fighting other men since the dawn of our species. Its in our nature, and I am not promoting violence and war. I am promoting the idea that if everyone was trained in the arts of war, there would, by result, be less violence and war. It sounds contradicting, I know. You might be thinking that if everyone was a skilled martial artist that violence would be rampant, but I believe just the opposite. Martial arts, in their essence, are not about developing power over others. The core of martial arts is about developing inner power, self- awareness, and power over the self we call the ego. I believe if everyone was trained in martial arts in childhood to early adulthood, then the world would be a better place.
Above all else, to be a practitioner of martial arts, you will be required to have discipline. Discipline in itself brings about a multitude of good character traits to the practitioner. To be disciplined means to have self- control and self- respect. The training is hard, but you still do it because you believe the pain is worth the reward, and because you love and respect yourself enough to put yourself through something difficult to make yourself better. The benefits of developing discipline will be easily transferred into everyday- life. Being disciplined means you can delay gratification, and just this ability alone will lead to a higher life. For many of us live day to day seeking short term gratification, never really accomplishing much other then satisfying our own selfish desires.
Though my own personal experience, I have seen how my practicing of martial arts has effected my work ethic. I worked like my master taught me to train. I conserved energy by developing ways to maximize my efficiency, while using the minimal amount of energy required to properly execute objectives. (Don’t confuse conserving energy with being lazy.) I may not have worked the most glamorous jobs, but at a very young age I found myself in positions with other men much older then myself, with the same responsibilities and even in the position of managing my coworkers to a certain degree. I never cease trying to develop better techniques to make what I do in the workplace better, faster, and more efficient, and this is exactly what I do when practicing my martial arts.
Martial arts also teach you confidence and mental/ physical toughness. By being more aware of your ability and your body through training and conditioning, you develop confidence. Confidence is something everyone could use a little more of. For when you are confident, you try harder, you believe yourself worthy of having a better life and of accomplishing more, and you will speak and act truer when you are confident. Martial artists are not the type to eek their way though life, they face things head on and learn to take hits and hit back. If you can’t take the hits life throws at you and get back up to keep fighting, then I guarantee that you will not get far in life. Martial arts teaches the mental/ physical toughness needed to persevere through the challenges you will inevitably face in life.
The ability to focus is another essential tool developed though martial arts. The majority of people I see outside of the dojo are completely distracted and have a very hard time just getting out of their own little fantasy worlds or away from their technologies. Most cannot sit still and focus on their breath for even a few minutes. Meditation is, and always has been, incorporated into the martial arts for this very reason. A man who cannot find stillness and focus his energies will never be able to conquer himself. There is no opponent but yourself, the ego. Martial arts will teach you to let go of the ego and just be. To be aware, to be focused. When you can still the mind and focus your energy, there is little you cannot accomplish.
If everyone was trained as a martial artist, people would be healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually. Exercise and fitness is an incredibly important part of martial arts. As well as stretching, meditation, and other energy working exercises such as chi gong. I won’t go in depth as to why exercise and meditation and stretching are good for you or shove scientific proof down your throat. The scientific evidence that these things are beneficial for you is overwhelming and the benefits of exercise and meditation are plentiful. If you don’t believe me, then you’re ridiculous, and you need to do your own research and get out of denial.
Imagine a world in which all are taught martial arts from childhood. From a young age, children will be exercising and developing their coordination and strength. We wouldn’t be seeing obese children locked to a screen, rotting their brains and bodies alike. Children need to be active and healthy, and if they start at a young age, they are more likely to carry on this healthy lifestyle into adulthood. Now imagine adults everywhere who continued their training past childhood. Adults who eat good because they don’t want to suffer during workouts, and sleep good because they are tired from exercising during the day. There would be less people in hospitals dying and suffering from disease that could’ve been easily prevented with healthy habits like exercise, meditation, and healthy eating. Which are all things taught and practiced in martial arts. Imagine the billions of dollars America alone would save on healthcare. Why are millions of Americans obese and sick? Why are millions of Americans taking shocking amounts pharmaceuticals just to get through daily life? Because they eat unhealthy, they don’t exercise or meditate, and because they just don’t care about their bodies until its too late.
EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW HOW TO DEFEND THEMSELVES
The world is not all sunshine and rainbows, and, sadly, people all around the globe get attacked every day. Whether or not you believe in the possibility of being the victim of a violent crime happening to you; it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Okay, maybe it does hurt, but the pain you experience in martial arts training only prepares you for the seriousness of a violent attack. The attacker wants to hurt you or even kill you and means to cause you bodily damage. Such an attack can leave people scarred psychologically and spiritually, as well as physically. The reality and seriousness of violence is a thing you will never wish to experience. However, if you are confronted with physical violence you have a higher chance of survival being trained in martial arts than not.
The kind of people who commit such crimes prey upon the weak. How can you tell who is weak and who is strong when everyone is a skilled fighter? The risk factor for crime and assault would significantly increase when everybody can defend themselves and possibly kick your ass if you mess with them. Its hard to take advantage of someone who is strong and skilled. And if there is conflict between people that cannot be solved with words, then challenges could quickly end disputes.
If all human beings were taught martial arts from a young age, communities would be strongly knit and diverse. People who fight, exercise, and learn together are typically more connected. I know that I feel close to those I train with not only because we are united as a school, but because we are all going though tough training, and we all help one another get through it. I have more trust and respect for those I know are strong and reliable, and as a result, I have a stronger sense of community with my clan mates.
In the age we live in, I believe to think in terms of competition with our fellow human beings is very narrow- minded. We should be working together to make the whole human race powerful and united. I don’t believe its foolish to think that one day there will be a greater threat to mankind then itself. One day we might be going to war with an alien race, and then it won’t seem so outlandish to teach every human being to fight. If the human race plans to live on, then we need to be empowering and protecting each other instead of fighting one another.
FREEDOM AND THE 2ND AMENDMENT
There will always be those fighting for control and those fighting for freedom from that control. Why do you think our founding fathers made the right to bear arms the 2nd Amendment? Not the 8th, not the 10th, but the 2nd. Our founding fathers knew how important it is the be able to defend yourself not only from fellow man or from invading forces, but also from evil governments. The first thing an evil controlling force is going to do to make those they wish to control easier to enslave, is to make it harder for the people to defend themselves. This is because they can’t control those who can fight back. If everyone could fight back, what evil government could control the people?
Dan Inosanto, and very well respected Filipino martial arts master, told his daughter, Diana Lee, a story about the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, which she then told the world. (The video of her telling the story is available on YouTube) She said that a large group of Filipino martial arts masters where invited to Japan for a cultural exchange. The boat, however, never made it to Japan, and the Filipino masters killed at sea. This is one of many examples of how those in control try to destroy knowledge that makes one powerful. Martial arts have been outlawed throughout the centuries in many different places and countries to keep the people from uprising against oppressive rulers.
If you believe in freedom and in having control over your own life, then you better be willing to fight to defend it. Nobody else can win freedom for you but yourself. A martial artist is a naturally strong willed person, sculpted this way by their practice, and will not be any mans slave. I believe everyone should be a martial artist so that there will be no more slaves, only strong individuals who take responsibility for their freedom.
POSITIVE CREATIVE OUTLET
This last reason is one of the most powerful. I believe having a positive creative outlet is key to developing as a spiritual being. Everyone needs an activity to be immersed in, an activity to channel their energies into and forget everything else. A positive creative outlet can be anything, like painting, dancing, music, or martial arts. A daily creative outlet is a great way to decompress and put your mind at rest. Its also important to keep pushing yourself to new heights and levels of improvement and continue to learn about yourself, so that you don’t start regressing.
A daily discipline is key to success, for it builds self- mastery. A man who can conquer himself can conquer any enemy.
“The martial arts are ultimately self- knowledge. A punch or kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang- ups.” -Bruce Lee