"Why Practice Martial Arts?"

A discussion of the benefits of martial arts

There are many reasons why I practice karate and the first one that comes to most people's minds is probably the least important one in mine. Many people think that the purpose behind studying karate is simply to learn to defend yourself in a physical confrontation. This is not true. Martial arts, like meditation, has practical applications on a daily basis. Martial arts is about establishing harmony between your mind and your body. Any good physical discipline will require this.

For example, in snowboarding it is necessary to become one with the board. All thoughts stop and your mind, body and board all work together to descend the mountain fluidly. Of course, to do this requires a great deal of practice.

The same is true when I am sparring in karate. My goal is to become one with my opponent so that I can respond to their actions in an appropriate manner. This is a very difficult goal to achieve. It means that I must overcome all of my preconditioned responses such as fear or anger. Through martial arts I am learning to overcome the emotions that get in the way of dealing with other people so that I can respond to their actions in an appropriate manner. This is something that I can take with me to work on a daily basis. It is a skill that applies to my life right now even if no physical confrontation is present.

Of course, there are all of the other really good reasons for practicing karate. It is after all, a great way to work out my day's frustrations and it is great aerobic exercise. I have also learned a great deal about my body and its limitations (and removed a lot of limitations that I thought that I had). And in the end, it provides me with the ability to defend myself if I am ever faced with a physical confrontation that I cannot avoid.

© 1999 Eagle Eyez




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