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What does Martial Arts mean to you

Is it a flurry of bodies, fists and feet?  Is it ancient culture to be explored, enjoyed, replicated and preserved for history?  Do you learn discipline, respect and how to build a stronger body?  Is it current and adaptive to daily use?  Yep!

There is nothing like the confidence of a person walking down the street who knows a martial art.  They generally look relaxed and aware.  If accosted, this person knows there are options to take.  But a person who looks capable is not generally perceived as a target to be accosted - therefore a double bonus to the person knowing a martial art. Fighting isnít required daily, but physical agility and awareness can be heightened by learning a martial arts.

Wouldnít you also like to be able to quickly recover if you step on something slippery?  You learn how to balance in all the martial arts.  In some of the martial arts you learn how to fall properly so that you donít get hurt.  I have also heard commented that a person, who has a black belt in a martial art, has a very high concentration level.  They can focus and not be distracted. (Hmmmm,  is this a fix for Attention Deficit Disorder?)

It is true, if you donít like martial arts, you will find out within the first month of lessons.  You will either love it or totally not understand it.

I watched martial arts for a long time before I got onto the mat to learn.  I have taken Judo, Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Chi-gong, Tai-Chi and Yoga.  In the process I have come to understand more of the Asian turn of mind.  The most important thing a martial art should teach you is respect for others.    

Martial arts has also taught me patience and humbleness.  Character traits I was dreadfully short of when I was a teenager.  (Unfortunately, I still have more to learn.)  I have also learned that you must approach learning slowly.  Something quickly learned is not appreciated.  Something learned, relearned and then taught to others, is perfected and better understood.  When you practice it a thousand times, then you truly know it.

While things must go slowly in order to be appreciated, progress in a martial arts also brings happiness to parents, students and instructors.  The learning process binds people together and makes the school an extension of your family.  Learning a martial art strengthens the family and the individual in mind, body and spirit.  If I could convince every child to try martial arts, and every parent that martial arts is not a fast road to macho aggressiveness, I think there would be many happier people wandering this earth.

So, if personal agility, patience, respect and an increase in well-being arenít needed in your life, then you must already be a martial artist with a black belt!

Diane L. Kerekes

Black Judo Uniform

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Revised Last 1/09/08