In our busy day-to-day lives it can be difficult to find time to focus on ourselves. Lifestyle pressures like work and family commitments can reduce our motivation to engage in physical exercise. Sitting at a desk all day, relaxing in front of the tv, drinking too much, not eating correctly…all of these factors have an impact on our health and well-being. While we are not suggesting these vices need to be completely eliminated, moderation is best and just a few hours a week of physical exercise has been shown to have clear benefits.
Martial arts is a great way to improve physical fitness and well-being. Healthy living is not just an important part of any martial art, but is critical for a happy life. Fitness is best achieved through sweat and hard work to improve physical conditioning.
One of the real pleasures in training (though it may not feel like it initially) is growing both mentally and physically. Martial arts is a terrific opportunity to do both!!
From a martial arts point of view, the benefits of physical conditioning are obvious.
• Mental focus
But building a strong body should not be the sole motivation. Developing a strong mind/heart is equally important:
• Better sleep
• Stress relief
Training is more than just kicking and punching. It’s also about footwork, balance, cardio, dynamic stretches and dynamic movement.
Martial arts is combative by nature, but the values it promotes extend beyond the physical actions. Martial arts is a fantastic vehicle for getting in touch with your own personal values/moral standards:
• Cultural/History appreciation
As people are training in what at times can be a confronting environment, it is imperative that all students feel safe and have trust in the person they are working with. It’s vital that ethical behaviour and moral standards are of the highest order. Sydney Koshinkan is focused on creating such an environment.
In addition, training in a group, observing your colleagues overcome their own mental and physical challenges and sharing in their sense of accomplishment, forges bonds of friendship. It’s good to look over and see you team mate putting in the same of effort, overcoming obstacles and achieving fantastic results.
In the words of that great martial artist Yoda
There is a Japanese concept of “kaizen” which translates to continuous improvement. Kaizen is focused on achieving small, sustainable improvements, continually moving forward. It’s important to continue to learn and grow. Sydney Koshinkan strives to help people grow as individuals.
Self-awareness is a critical component in all aspects of life not just in martial arts. This is based on acknowledging one’s own strengths and weaknesses both in mental and physical aspects. And while it’s beneficial to have a teacher or peer giving advice and tips, the ultimate aim is self-evaluation – being able to critique one’s own performance, acknowledging achievements, progress and also identifying areas for improvement.
This is not about building your ego rather being proud of your strengths, balanced by an awareness of those areas that require further improvement. This will help formulate personal goals to focus on those areas that actually do need improving and its worth remembering that all of us have them.
Setting personal challenges is important in all aspects of life. It’s not about comparing yourself against others, rather striving to the best you can be. The greatest battle is not with an opponent but is with oneself!!
The importance of practice and repetition can’t be understated. Famous author Stephen Covey refers to repetition as “sharpening the saw”. Improving ones skills requires discipline, patience, diligence, commitment and hard-work. These ingredients are the secret to success in all aspects of life.
What a terrific way to be a role model to your kids, setting an example of hard-work, discipline and commitment. Kids will mimic this behaviour.
The importance of eating the right foods with a balanced diet is well known (I’m the last person to give tips here). Also drinking enough water to remain hydrated during training is essential.
In recent times martial arts has introduced yoga techniques into its curriculum. Yoga’s focus on stretching, core strength, balance and controlled breathing (who would think you need to practice breathing!), are all components that complement the world of combat.
Most of us won’t end up as Arnie but why wouldn’t you want to be the best that you can be?
It’s time for you to invest some time in yourself!!