Martial arts all teach a philosophy

Rise to challenges: There's a philosophical aspect to all forms of martial arts that can teach you how to be a more complete person. Photo: Shutterstock.
Rise to challenges: There's a philosophical aspect to all forms of martial arts that can teach you how to be a more complete person. Photo: Shutterstock.

Martial arts are a great sporting activity to learn and be involved in, and the ability to fight is way down on the list of excellent reasons why you should participate.

A desire for competition comes in a bit higher, but that's still not at the top.

The potential to improve your self-esteem, your self confidence, your desire to rise to challenges, your fitness, your motor skills, agility and spatial awareness, your ability to think quickly and anticipate the actions of others, your discomfort threshold, your resilience in the face of adversity, and your respect for others, all rate much higher.

Enthusiast, participant and fan Steve Hurst of Canberra points out that many forms of martial arts are based in Eastern cultures, and they focus on three key things: mind, body and soul.

"You need to address all three aspects to be a whole person," Steve says.

Elaborating on that, mindfulness can incorporate "the desire for knowledge and wisdom, body is the physicality aspect, the fitness, and soul is the love. Its a loose term [in this context], but it's the ability to give and receive love," he explains.

Having come from a weightlifting background before finding his passion for martial arts, Steve admits it "taught me I had a problem with my pride." As part of the philosophical aspect of training "I was taught how to lose. It's unreasonable to expect to go into every situation and come out on top. The training was how to deal with defeat, loss and failure, and through that experience you improve as a person."

Whatever form of martial arts you decide you or your children would like to try, there's a school or training centre near you quite willing to teach not just the moves but their way of approaching the art itself.

Since they all come from a martial background, they also have a level structure similar to the rank system.

You therefore respect those levels, and your senior participants, for multiple reasons, not just because of what they can teach you, but because they've worked to earn it and you can aspire to earn that level too.

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