The Martial Arts as a Better Way of Life
You might read the last post and think, “I’ll never have to worry about getting robbed at gunpoint.” Admittedly the odds are very, very small that you’ll have a pizza peel handy when you confront an armed robber –yet it did, in fact happen, as statistically improbable as it may be.
I’m reminded of a teacher of mine who was a student of the late GM Angel Cabales. “You can tell Angel is an eskrimador just by seeing him mow the lawn,” he told me.
This comment shows how the martial arts influence a person’s life for the better, even if he never gets into a fight.
For instance, martial artists know to lift with their legs and hips, not their backs. Yet how many people will injure their backs simply because they lifted something the wrong way?
In gun fighting and building clearing, you are taught to avoid corners. How many people get injured just because they round a corner without thinking?
A recent study on the happiness of religious people credits their greater sense of well-being to the social ties they form with others, who also believe in a common cause. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that people who work out and form friends at the dojo may see a similar boost in their levels of happiness.
I know the one aspect of practicing the martial arts I miss the most is meeting with teachers and fellow students. I remember how excited I felt driving to Stockton for a get-together at GM Giron’s house. I have fond memories of the kindness and generosity shown to me by the Tapado people in Bacolod City, Philippines.
Master Gatdula wrote about helping a lady at his mosque who was being harassed by racists. As a martial artist, he and several of his students were able to stop the harassment, without resorting to violence. It is this sense of belonging and purpose (serving someone other than oneself), that makes for a feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment.
Happy people are goal-oriented and have a belief in “self-efficacy,” meaning a belief that they are capable and in control of their lives. Practicing the martial arts develops these traits.
I know as a teacher I’ve benefited from a sense of calm, knowing that if I face a violent situation in the classroom, I can handle it.
One of my co-workers injured herself when she slipped and fell on the ice. Would a martial artist have been more likely to avoid that type of injury?
Food for thought:
How are you using your martial arts knowledge in your daily life?
How are you using the martial arts to achieve your goals? To serve a higher purpose? To form meaningful relationships with others?