The martial artist commits to the discipline out of love for it. The practitioner is beyond fighting. The true meaning of the martial arts lays in the student’s personal quest to evolve into the best martial artist they can be.
The martial arts take the student on a lifelong journey toward self-improvement of mind, body, and soul. The practitioner is challenged mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The sport is all-encompassing and leaves the student with a profound sense of belief in self.
The Literal Meaning
Fighting is not the aim of the martial arts, although the word “martial” has linguistic roots in the Latin word “Martialis” (which refers to the God of War in Roman mythology). Upon closer inspection of the Chinese character “mu” that is translated into the word “martial,” a different conclusion arises.
The Chinese character “mu” literally means “to stop fighting” or “to put down weapons.” The word “arts” in martial arts points to skill, expression of beauty or creativity. The combination “martial arts” may be interpreted to mean ending conflict skillfully. Peace is the ultimate goal of the martial arts.
Improve the Mind
Practicing the martial arts takes the student down a path toward mental improvement. We grow confidence, attain mental strength, and develop courage, tenacity, humility, compassion and kindness. The student enhances their character, developing honor, discipline, integrity, a work ethic, and respect.
The martial arts student forms bonds with fellow students. Working in a team environment, the martial artists build friendships and reach their full potential together. Despite titles, social status, education or wealth, all martial artists are equal when they face an opponent.
Conquering adversities in life lays behind the true meaning of the martial arts. Students develop a type of “warrior spirit” that empowers them to face life’s adversities without breaking. Weaknesses are transformed into strengths, and fears turn into courage through the martial arts.
Martial arts students embrace four guiding principles that enhance their daily lives. The principle of non-resistance, the principle of accommodation, the principle of balance and the principle of natural order give practitioners a definite path to follow every day of life.
- Non-Resistance. Rather than passivity, the principle of non-resistance promotes working in harmony with nature. Students cultivate sensitivity and discernment to naturally flow with life’s forces. In applying this principle, the martial artist’s opponent becomes a teacher who reveals the student’s weaknesses.
- Accommodation. The principle of accommodation embraces progressive overload, which simply means challenging oneself further after each accomplishment. Students push themselves to attain larger life goals. The martial arts student recognizes that growth is gradual and takes time. Rushing toward progress risks failure.
- Balance. The principle of balance also lends to the meaning of the martial arts. The student moves neither too fast nor too slowly; is neither aggressive nor tentative. They understand the reality of both good days and bad ones, which helps them to realize a balance in life.
- Natural Order. Many natural processes have an order, and this is the central concept behind the principle of natural order. Summer always follows spring, for example. Similarly, the martial artist recognizes that progress cannot be rushed and learns to avoid forcing his body to perform more than what it is capable.
Train the Body
The martial artist’s physical body undergoes rigorous training as equally as his mind. The athleticism developed through martial arts training is a result of engaging the entire body to build incredible strength and endurance. Speed and flexibility are also enhanced.
Martial arts students who commit to training jump higher, kick harder and punch faster. Hand-eye coordination improves. The clumsiness of the beginner student turns into deliberate, pointed actions in the intermediate and advanced students. Physical movements become smooth and effortless.
Physical power is a great equalizer and can be the difference between a triumphant win or crippling loss. This is true whether the martial arts practitioner is combating an opponent in the ring or handling a real-life scenario outside of it. The martial arts increase a student’s overall power.
Wisdom and patience is necessary to end conflict, and this is true especially for the martial artist. Making good decisions and consciously applying the appropriate techniques and learned skills to end conflict is a hallmark of the experienced martial artist. Students learn to think before they act.
Summoning bravery in the face of fear is at the heart of being a martial artist. Confronting fear leads to confidence in the martial arts practitioner. Without having the need to prove oneself, the martial artist encourages acceptance and peace.
Life-threatening situations are easier to handle for the martial artist with confidence. Rather than remain frozen and helpless, the practitioner is calm and thinks with clarity in order to arrive at solutions. The student with confidence knows he can either reduce the conflict or make it worse.
As is apparent, the true meaning behind the martial arts is less about fighting and more about developing oneself to one’s ultimate potential. The philosophies and practices that drive the martial artist are lifelong; the student benefits from all that makes the martial arts the discipline it is.
When you or your child are ready to experience the many advantages of learning and practicing the martial arts, look to Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts for group classes and personal training. Students develop mental and physical strength and learn invaluable self-defense techniques.
Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts offers a range of martial arts for kids and martial arts for adults to meet the preferences and interests of students. Our internationally certified instructors teach karate, kung fu, tae kwon do, hapkido, judo, kumdo and ancient weapons, along with other disciplines.
Martial arts students train to become their best. By taking self-defense classes at Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts, you will continuously challenge yourself and develop your potential.
Families and individuals living -in the communities of Oak Park, Illinois, are encouraged to contact us for martial arts and self-defense classes at 708-383-3456.