Dec 26, 2013

Dec 1, 2013

Fan created "Best Kid" poster

(artwork by Terence Shek)

5 reasons why martial arts are better than other sports

(by Ashley Davidson 12-9-13)
As a martial artist, I'd always recommend anyone who is serious enough to pursue sport to give a try to martial arts. Here are the reasons.
Like anything else, martial arts would be a lot better developed when started from an early age. This doesn't mean you can't start later in your life though - all you need is to take is seriously and be patient.

Now, the key element for a real benefit from well, everything, is balance. What people of all ages need to learn, is how to create this important equilibrium in life, which is pretty hard to do in the daily adult life.

This is where martial arts come.
  1. Good health. Yes, where did the exercises go with all this computer work and sitting life-style? The less we move, the more stressed we get. We need to think about our health, do some daily exercises and let out the steam. It would improve both your physical and mental health. Of course any sport would do the trick, but we're just getting started here. Martial arts have a long warm up (about 40 minutes), followed by the actual training, which takes about an hour and a half (normally). To get really good results from this, one should train at least 5 days a week. I'm speaking of personal experience here, going twice a week is just not worth it.
  2. Group activity and socializing. Unlike boring fitness, it's very easy to make friends in the martial arts dojo. For a child this is also a big benefit. Lately, kids can't seem to make friends in school and are often bullied. But when it comes to an activity they go, because they want to, it's much easier to make friends. Sure, there can be a bit of competitiveness, but it won't even come near the bullying problems kids have in school these days.
  3. Learning self defense. People put little value on this. It's true you can't always apply what you've learned. You shouldn't expect that you'll be a fearless fighter when someone attacks you on the street, just because you learned a few things for a few months. People need years to truly learn to defend themselves in real situations. But even if you learn all the movements step by step, there is always the fear factor. Knowing every detail doesn't mean you won't panic in the heat of the moment and forget everything. You also need psychological preparation. Martial arts can give you that with breathing exercises and meditation, however, this takes a lot more time. And not because the instructor doesn't do his job. It's because when one is used to living in a safe environment, especially when they never had the need to defend themselves, getting into combat on the street for self defense is the most unnatural thing ever. Still, this doesn't mean there is no need to even bother get into martial arts. If you're patient and giving your all, you'll eventually reach the state of mind and body you always wanted and the feeling is incomparable. Never underestimate your ability to achieve something grand. If you do, then you just have a low self-esteem.
  4. Learning organisation and discipline. Yes, even an adult can learn a lot about organisation, respect, patience and discipline with all the traditional etiquette. It's not just the obvious things like keeping your cellphone off during training, or not talking to others, while the instructor is talking. Training would take two hours of your day and it needs one to be fully concentrated into it and not thinking of anything else. There is an actual ritual when going into the dojo, you bow at the entrance and bow again when exiting after the training. The first boy literally means "I forget everything that happened outside of the dojo" and the second bow means "I forget everything that happened inside of the dojo".  It's a way to preserve what you learned and go back to your day, only stress free. The same goes for kids. The moment they take this behavioral habits at home, a parent knows this is the right activity for their child. I just wish parents didn't expect their children to magically get educated, when they don't give the same example at home. I've noticed how some kids are really serious and organized in the dojo, but when their parents come to pick them up, they suddenly turn into a screaming police car siren with feet. Having such a big difference of life at home and in the dojo makes the whole process useless.
  5. Cultural enrichment. The other thing is the cultural education everyone get from the Japanese way of thinking and Bushido (the way of the warrior). A girl from my dojo passed an exam for brown belt (2nd kyu), while she was ill and this made her character raise a lot in the eyes of the instructors. I don't think there is a person who doesn't admire people who give their all, even when they're at a disadvantage. And lets not forget we learn a bit of Japanese. The Japanese form of fighting differs depending on the type of fighting style - one can choose KarateAikidoTae Kwon DoJudoJu Jitsu. They all have their own personal taste and behavior and anyone can choose the one they can relate to.