We are all looking for ways to level up our lives
Figuring out how to access our potential, that’s the tough part. Martial arts is a pathway to a deeper sense of who we are because it’s grounded in our most fundamental relationship – the one we have with ourselves.
People sometimes have the false idea that self defense training is learning to duck away from a punch or grab a weapon out of an attacker’s hand. These are only a small part of what happens when learning self defense, but there is so much more. Martial arts training is a holistic way to improve ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child in school who needs to improve your self confidence, a white collar professional who is seeking balance in your life, or someone who has struggled with physical limitations and wants to improve your body. Martial arts offers everyone the chance to grow towards the best version of themselves mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Self-defense is a whole person pursuit
The basic idea in self defense is that it’s you against another person, keeping your body safe should someone come up and try to attack you on the street.
In reality, when we’re training for self defense, the vast majority of the time is spent with us in a room with fellow martial artists practicing movements. We repeat them over and over again until they are automatic, until they live in our bodies and we do them without thinking. Our instructors give us changes to make, show us new ways of thinking about potential situations, and guide us in becoming more confident in the way that our bodies move. The hope is that we’re training for an event that we’re not going to ever face in real life. Why train for something that is so unlikely to happen?
The reason is that you’re not training for some stranger that attacks you with a baseball bat in a parking lot, you’re training for yourself. The techniques we teach at Academy of Self Defense are effective in a real fight, and that is critically important. However, where we find the most value is in the whole person development we experience through martial arts training.
Physical, mental, and emotional health are all enhanced when we step onto the mats regularly. The body is shaped from tips of the toes to the top of the head, increasing both awareness and control. Muscles grow and agility increases with training. Reflexes get faster and stamina lasts longer with training. Mentally, we find clarity through repeated movements and the constant problem solving exercises we unravel as we train for potential situations. Instructors have almost endless ways to think about body movement and to open our eyes to how we can counter potential opponents. Here we find better focus and a clearing of that fog that tends to seep in with the distractions of modern life. As for emotional regulation, martial arts gives us control over our fear and allows us to release baggage that’s been holding us back.
Our instructors view our training through this lens of comprehensive personal growth. It’s what keeps everyone coming back because it’s worthwhile and deeply fulfilling.
Small changes equal constant development
In martial arts, there is steady movement through the cycle of self improvement. It does not matter if you are throwing your first punch or have been training for a decade – the drive for continuous growth remains the same. There is always a way to get better, whether it is refining a technique you’ve practiced for years or learning something new.
It might be that you adjust the angle of your elbow in a block to be more effective, or maybe widen your stance slightly to bring more stability. Form improves and we chip away at bad habits. Learning to embrace the flow of development is what makes a master, much more than any specific technique. No matter where you are on the spectrum of skill, there is always opportunity to find another level. It’s one of the most fulfilling aspects of training.
Often, it’s not a physical challenge that improves, but a mental or emotional one. Refining our minds and developing our psychological wellbeing, these are key components of the constant cycle of learning. Martial arts training releases stress and vents those frustrations that we experience daily in a healthy way. It’s not that you’re trying to stop the flow of emotions, rather that you’re learning to harness it in a way that you want to and direct it in the places that you want it to go.
This kind of personal development allows for a more positive outlook on life. It doesn’t happen in a single class or with some massive revelation. We learn through consistent, constant, compact changes that are easy to access. Transformation is a long term process with both short term and long term victories.
Rising to meet challenges
In every single class, whether it’s Krav Maga, Muay Thai, or a fitness boot camp, there is a new challenge to face. There are obstacles thrown up by instructors, by training partners, and from within ourselves. The mind learns to adapt and react in conjunction with the body, pushing us to conquer more and more of ourselves.
Those skills don’t stay in on the mats, they come with you when you walk outside and into the life you’re living already. You walk away from class with the ability to kick ass and take names, but that doesn’t come from learning to hit harder or kick faster. Instead, we’re teaching you to face what comes your way with confidence because you know you’ve done the work. There isn’t anything you can’t do, but you can only do it if you push yourself. Whatever the challenge might be in life, martial arts training is a boost that will help you conquer that challenge.
Every individual is unique, and every individual has a way of moving forward. Self defense training gives us a holistic path to get there.