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A Closer Look at Martial Arts

When I started martial arts, I thought of it as a hobbie. This was an activity that I was going to do to avoid the boredom associated with life in first world countries. I would go a few days a week, get some exercise, and maybe make a few friends. Yet as I progressed I learned that martial arts was much more than breaking boards.
Young man practicing his Martial Arts with a high kick



I started studying the arts in sixth grade. My mom found that she couldn’t deal with my energy output. I needed an a way to get this energy out. She gave me two options: I could either go do boxing at a nearby gym, or learn the martial arts. I grudgingly chose the latter as the title was more impressive, and the thought of a black belt seemed better than boxing gloves.

As I went into the program, I quickly learned that martial arts wasn’t just about the fighting aspect. My instructors taught me ways that I could improve my own life. They began to assign various homework sheets which consisted of self betterment techniques. We had goal setting worksheets, chore lists, and reading logs. At first, I wasn’t very happy about this. More work from outside of school? I considered doing basketball instead. This changed quickly. I found that most of the goals I set were accomplished. I noticed that it made Mom happier to have me helping around the house. I read more good books instead of just sitting on the couch. My self esteem skyrocketed and I became a self motivator. Added bonus? I became much better at dancing. Thanks mom.

I soon began learning what all of this was really about. Martial arts wasn’t just an excuse to beat people up, it was a way to make yourself better.

What’s the moral of this story? I guess it would be to live your life unplanned. You dont need to know what’s going to happen in 30 years, just have fun and enjoy the ride.

Then I started fighting. This was something that was completely foreign to me, which I didn’t enjoy at all. How could I purposefully hit or kick someone? We were taught to set goals, given a word of the month, and assigned homework.

Why do martial arts?

  •   Physically fit
  •   Friends
  •   Fighting (Sparring)
  •   Keeps me occupied
  •   Teaches good messages
  •   Proud of doing it
  •   Good at formal testing
  •   Able to set goals and accomplish them
  •   Something to tell my friends about (bragging rights)
  •   Weapons program  is good
  •   Productive
  •   Improves self esteem
  •   This was a means of Defending yourself
  •   I was forced to start martial arts in the sixth grade
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