Martial Arts Article
Any true traditional martial art that you study whether it be Taekwondo, Karate, Aikido, Hapkido, Tang Soo Do, Kung Fu, Judo, Jiu Jitsu or Thai boxing to name but a few, are all built on the same principles, mainly breathing control and learning how to control both your body and your mind.
It is impossible and incorrect to say which martial art is the most superior as each is respectable in its own right and each has advantages and disadvantages. However, the physical attributes of the martial art are irrelevant. Most people who practise the martial arts will hopefully never need to use their knowledge of how to defend themselves outside of their Dojang, Dojo or equivalent. So then why do people spend time, money, sweat and tears learning a martial art in the first place?
Self awareness, self defence, health benefits, self confidence, fitness, discipline, flexibility and breathing control are some reasons to name but a few. Any martial art, irrespective of its name and origin, if taught correctly of course, is based on teaching students these benefits to help them as a human being and that is why people still want to learn the martial arts hundreds of years on.
Take the Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do as an example. Literally translated Tae Kwon Do means ‘the way of the fist and foot.’ The most important part of the word is ‘Do’ as this translated means ‘the correct way.’ Learning to kick and punch in any martial art are only physical attributes which unless you enter competitions and fight in controlled surroundings you are very rarely going to use. Do, on the other hand incorporates martial art principles such as etiquette, loyalty, humility, perseverance, indomitable spirit and honour. By learning to put these principles into your everyday life the martial arts help people to become better and more thoughtful human beings. These reasons are why most people practice martial arts so they can discipline both their body and their mind and live their lives cleanly. Being mentally strong is more important than being physically strong in this lifetime.
In 1997, Taekwondo Grand Master Kim Yong Ho, 9th Dan, created the World Taekwonmudo Academy. (WTA) The word MUDO accurately translates to ‘spirit of the martial art’. Even though Grand Master Kim is based in Taekwondo the aim of the WTA is martial arts education regardless of which martial art you study. The most important being education on breathing control and energy movement which is fundamental in every martial art.
If you only practice a martial art for the physical reasons there is only so long you can retain your motivation and energy. At a certain point in time you will either become bored or physically your body, because of age, will not be able to do what you want it to do. In the main when students get to this position they quit and give up. Even people who have practiced the martial art at international level and have been at the top of their game give up. This is inevitable if you only practice the kicking and the punching and fitness work. In any martial art there are maybe only 5% of students wishing to fight competitively. What about the other 95% of students who maybe do not want to fight or are too old or have a disability of some description? Only by education and combining your physical training with the spiritual will you find longevity in the martial arts.
There is no long lost mystical secret to learning a martial art just education and practice and listening carefully to your instructor. If you want to get the most out of your martial art it is vital that you find a good instructor in whatever style you decide to take up. A good instructor with knowledge will know how to get you to achieve your full potential both physically and mentally. So take time when choosing a club and do your homework before hand. This is very difficult as the majority of people have no idea what to look for when choosing a club. Ask to see the instructor’s qualifications and look at the overall standard of the club. The students normally are a good reflection of how good an instructor is both in their behaviour as well as their technique.