Martial arts is not just a hobby or a sport; for me, it's a lifeline. It has acted as a bridge, connecting the physical and mental dimensions of my life in profound ways. This blog post is my attempt to articulate the transformative power of martial arts in rescuing me from some of life's darkest moments and teaching me invaluable life philosophies.
I took my first martial arts class on a whim, searching for a new hobby to fill my spare time. Little did I know, it would soon become the lens through which I'd view the world. As my feet stepped onto the mat and my fists clenched for the first time, I felt an inexplicable sense of belonging. I had to have more.
Initially, I was drawn to the physicality of martial arts—the kicks, the punches, the agility required for complex moves. But soon, the training became more than just an exercise in physical discipline; it was a mirror reflecting the state of my mind. Every jab and kick were embodiments of my mental state, compelling me to explore my thoughts and feelings on a deeper level. My first true discipline was competitive swimming, a sense of going home, the feeling of fluidity within the mystery’s of water.
Through my father I found resistance training, I harnessed the powers of mind and body overcoming feats of physical strength one never thought possible at such a young age (and the aesthetics to accompany!)
Kung-Fu, Karate, Self Defence, Boxing, Weapons training. I wanted to know more. The lust for improvement and growth was insatiable. The experiences were vast and in abundance, and I wanted it all.
As I delved into the meditative aspects of martial arts, I stumbled upon a surprising realization—I was more stoic than I had ever known. The meditation sessions, integral to my training, taught me to detach from my emotions and to view life’s challenges as mere obstacles to overcome. The principles of Stoicism, such as focusing on the present moment and accepting what I cannot change, resonated deeply with me.
Martial arts has taught me the beauty of 'now.' When I'm on the mat, every fiber of my being is concentrated on the present—the opponent in front of me, the techniques I employ, the rhythmic sound of my breath. This mindfulness has spilled over into my everyday life, making me realize that the most authentic version of myself exists when I am fully engaged in the present.
But life hasn't always been a smooth sail. There were periods where the weight of existence seemed unbearable, pulling me down into a dark abyss of suicidal thoughts. “I had done enough”. At work, at home, the times I was alone were the hardest to resist. How inviting that rafter was, staring at me so high. For we could meet with only the assistance of a ladder and rope. Yet, martial arts became my sanctuary during these times. Each session was a reminder that I could fight, that I had the will to battle my inner demons just as I battled opponents on the mat. For opened arms to such demons, pain for those, that lives I have touched would be president among all else, potentially shaping life outcomes on those I love.
So, how exactly did martial arts save me? It was a combination of the discipline instilled by rigorous training, the wisdom unearthed through meditation, and the sense of community I found among my peers, mentors, and loved ones. It provided me with a toolbox of coping mechanisms that I could employ to pull myself back from the brink. Fake it, until you become it. Now I understand what that means.
Martial arts is not merely a sport; it's a lifestyle, a philosophy, and for some—like me—a savior. Through its manifold dimensions, it has shaped who I am, teaching me resilience, mindfulness, and the art of living, experiencing.
If you're facing challenges that seem insurmountable, consider stepping onto the mat. Whether it's martial arts or another transformative practice, find your battleground and face your demons head-on. Because sometimes, salvation comes in the form of a fight.