First and foremost is mental development. So when I talk about that, I talk about having a focused mindset, being able to set and achieve goals are both from a physical perspective but also from a mental perspective. Martial arts training at its highest level is arduous and it’s designed to be that way to challenge yourself personally. And it’s rising above those challenges and overcoming fights. That’s one of the most important parts.
The second part I talk about, of course, is the physical body and physical fitness training. So of course you can get physical fitness from many different methods of training, going to the gym, running, weights, swimming. And the second aspect important is obviously the physical aspect, and that’s the general fitness and overall self-development.
What I think’s great about martial arts as a practice as opposed to any other sporting type endeavor, is that it works on whole body movement and it works on functional movement. And by saying that, what I mean, you can go to the gym and you can lift weights and you get very strong in a particular area that you’re focusing on development.
Martial arts focuses on developing the entire body as a whole throughout your training, so you develop a great structure, good balance, good coordination, good speed, good footwork, and increased strength as well.
The third important factor I think that you develop from martial arts is resilience. Why do I say resilience? Martial arts at the highest level, it’s extremely arduous training and those that dedicate their lives to the practice will understand what I’m talking about. Those who may be starting out may not understand it as much. Traditionally, to earn your black sash or your black belt, or the highest level of martial arts requires a lifetime of practice. And I think you learn a lot more from your failings than you do from your successes. I’ll be the first to say many times throughout my martial arts life and career, I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve wanted to pack it all in because it just feels too hard. There’s something inspiring about reaching that next level of self-development, of reaching that next goal that you have to attain. And regardless of how small it is, it just keeps you coming back for more. Also, the depth of the knowledge and the things that you can learn will be far more than you can possibly imagine when you’re first starting out.
The fourth and final practice of martial arts is to reach a higher level of spiritual development. When I talk about spiritual development, I’m not talking about religion per se, but connecting to oneself internally, being comfortable with yourself as a person, and also trying to strive to reach that enlightenment within yourself. Now, I’m not talking about some godly level of achievement. What I’m talking about is reaching a level of self satisfaction and development to a point where you’re so happy in your own skin, you’re happy with your life and those around you, and you realize that true wealth is nothing to do with money. True wealth has to do with becoming the person that you’re meant to be.