Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On September - 10 - 2013

AdultkaratesuitSociety has always held violence in high regard. We say that it is a horrible thing and argue how much we detest it but it is in everything that we enjoy. Think of the last TV show you watched or the last feature film you enjoyed. Was their a fight, a car chase, etc? Even children’s cartoons have been laced with violence from the beginning. Think of poor Wiley Coyote or Sylvester the Cat. The latest form of entertainment are video games. Violence runs rampant in them. With all this violence in the world why would a Martial Arts class be an escape from the violence? Well the difference with martial arts is that the training is not about violence. Especially if you enroll in a style like Shotokan karate that is based in self-defense.
Here are a few benefits of training in a martial art style that many people don’t think about.

1. Discipline – This is what most parents think of when they are putting their children in karate. The problem is most dojos are not focusing as much on discipline as they did in the 80’s. Kids are so spoiled these days that a little discipline causes them to give up on their training. So it is fostered in a different manner. Think of how playing a video game gives you instant gratification upon leveling up. In a martial arts style, you can get the same feeling but it takes real effort. If you can focus you time and effort into your training, you can meet these goals. In essence disciplining yourself into working harder. It also takes self-discipline to get yourself to class each day. If you are tired from work or school you might decide to skip a class. This will only harm you down the road.

164565_172735519432464_506327_n2. Socialization – This has helped me greatly. Before I studied the martial arts, I could not stand up in front of a group of people. It was a disaster if I tried. I would speak to friends or family but I can remember having to be in front of the class when I was in school. I would freeze up! A well planned presentation would crumble before my very eyes. After years of training, I now stand in front of classes teaching the skills that have been passed on to me. If someone had told me in school that I would be doing this I would have laughed out loud and probably had a panic attack. In today’s society, people are forgetting about to socialize altogether. With the advent of this medium, the internet, and other forms of communication like texting, we have forgotten how to speak to each other. Making friends has become a monumental task. It is difficult to meet new people today as most young people don’t even know how to approach another to talk. Martial Arts training forces a group of people with the same interest into a room. Group training activities will force them to communicate and work together to complete tasks.

487639_10151632727440255_1860245799_n3. Getting physically active – In today’s society, we have become lazy. Just turn on the TV for 10 minutes and you will find a program or commercial related to a diet, weight loss system or some “new and improved” pill that will help you shed the pounds. Famous American Personal Trainer, Tony Little sums up all of these as “Pills, powders and promises”. He claims there is only one way to shed the pounds. That is to get up off of you big butt and get to work! The problem in today’s society is that no one goes outside any more. Entertainment when I was a kid was going out and playing with my friends or grabbing the bike and barreling down the street for hours. With the advent of the video game, going outside has become a cardinal sin. But even if you force your child, or youself for that matter, to go outside what are you carrying with you? Let’s see, a cell phone with games, maybe a tablet or an ipod with games. We can not escape them. The World has become so trapped in the game world that games have become exercise. The Wii system was designed to give the gamer exercise. Think about it!Denise Blocking_full

4. Becoming Goal Oriented – This goes hand in hand with the first item on our list. Almost every martial arts form is goal oriented. It teaches you to create goals not just in the grand sense but first little goals that build to the the ultimate achievement. This is very beneficial. A beginner wants to become a black belt like the senior students in the class. They quickly discover that it is a hard goal to accomplish. So it is put on a pedestal and they focus on the smaller goals of passing each belt rank on the road to becoming a black belt. However, that is not the end of the road. Each student realizes upon achieving a black belt that there are 9 more levels of black to achieve. The training has just begun.

5. Self Esteem – Self esteem is all about confidence. I am a security officer with a company that provides services for high end clients and special events.  I have been told that I am cocky but recently a person approached me and said that I carry myself with confidence. That I must know what I am doing. This struck me because I remember as a child having absolutely no confidence in myself what so ever. Where did this come from? I know exactly where it did. I have my instructors to thank for that.  The more to learn and the higher your belt rank becomes the more confident you will become in your abilities. youthyellow

6. Respect – This is a problem that is plaguing today’s society. No one has respect for anyone or anything. Children don’t respect their parents, teachers or peers. In my youth, if I acted like children today, I would have gotten the belt across my butt. Today, that is a taboo and discipline has gone to the wayside. Teaching a someone respect today is difficult. Karate, and other martial arts, require respect. You must respect your instructor, higher ranking belts, peers, etc. We even teach to respect your parents and teachers. Remember in many cases, if it were not for your parents, you wouldn’t be in a martial arts class. Respecting strangers is something that also develops. When you get to a martial arts class, you will see people from your community. Maybe people that you would never have known were black belts. It gives you a totally different prospective on things. I know a 5th Degree Black Belt, karate instructor that is of small stature. Because of her size, she could easily become a target but I would hate to be the person that thought he would try anything against this Internationally ranked tournament competitor.

punchinface7. Non-violence – Okay, I know you are probably scratching your head. It is martial arts, right? You turn on a martial arts movie and what do you see. The hero kick and punching his way to solving his problems. Well that is not the way it works. Master Gichin Funakoshi, the Father of Modern Karate, taught his students to “Refrain from Violent Behavior.” This precept was incorporated into the Dojo Kun, school rules, that are recited at the end of each class. Non-violence problem solving has come into the forefront in today’s society. Bullying has transformed into a deadly activity. When I was a child bullying existed but it was on a totally different level than today. People didn’t die from bullying when I was a child. Today people are committing suicide at an alarming rate due to the bullying that is occurring. Partially from the face that our children do not know how to socialize and have no respect for themselves for each other. We need to curb the violence. Be it the bullies or the physical retaliation.

8. Focus – In today’s world focusing, paying attention, listening are all skills that we have lost. We have so many things on our mind that taking even a second of time to veer off course could cause your whole days plans to come crashing down around you. We often hear of marriages breaking down because of communication issues. Sometimes this is because we don’t take the time to listen to each other. We hear sound and if it is not pertaining to what is in our thought pattern at the time it will be avoided. In martial arts training, if you do not listen to the instructor and focus on the lesson, you will quickly fall behind and not be able to catch up with the rest of the class. Remember, that you need to discipline yourself to not miss a class and you must focus while you are there.

168736_172735199432496_6872943_n9. Team work – Martial arts is not a team sport. So why is team work on this list? Well actually, there are team competitions. I have competed in several team events and have captured some hardware for these competitions. But team work goes deeper than that in martial arts. When you are practicing different skills, we often work with partners. These partners are not opponents or targets, they are like instructors. Most people, when they are doing partner training, don’t see the benefits of having the partner. This is a great opportunity for you to teach each other. Have your training partner, critic your technique and they you will do the same in return. This is very beneficial especially in large classes where the instructor may not be able to make it around to every student. The instructor is often busy with the youth in the class or is working with the students that are having the most difficulty with the technique. This is why team work is so important. It is something that is overlooked so much. You are only competing with yourself when you are training. The rest of the students in your class are your teammates who are helping you improve.  Just as you are there to help them improve. If you go into each class with that in mind, you will become a great martial artist thanks to all of your teammates.

10. Quality of life – It is fitting that our 10th point is the same as the tenth precept of Master Funakoshi’s Niju Kun, 20 precepts. “Put karate into your everyday living; that is how to see its true beauty.” This is a culmination of all of the points that we have made. Karate or any martial arts training is going to benefit you or your child in many ways. You have to remember that these things are not just for the dojo. You must take the respect, focus, self discipline, etc. and take it home with you. These personal skills will help to improve your quality of life. You will not see the true beauty of your training until you can make it part of your everyday life. Once you have achieve an understanding of all of these points, you will be on a journey that you didn’t expect to take. You will be on the path to Senshin, an enlightened mind.

Keep training!



This blog has been based off of an article written by Kenny Myers on why children should take Martial Arts. I liked his ideas but wanted to expand it for everyone.

Categories: Teaching/Training

One Response

  1. Ricardo Kroc says:

    It is really a great post. You have very nicely explicated the 10 benefit of martial art. Thanks for the post.

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