Martial Arts… A Journey in Self Discovery.
Why would I Study Martial Arts? What are the benefits of studying Martial Arts? How will Martial Arts help me in my life? These are just a few of the questions that people ask themselves before they enter the doors of a Martial arts School or deciding to do a private session with a Kru, Sensei or Guru.
Throughout my career, people have asked me why I got into martial arts and the answer that I gave to them was; “it was one of the very few things I did in my life where I was totally living in the present”. Almost 25 years later, I still feel the same when training someone and now get the same feeling when I am life coaching. I am a believer that everyone should try martial arts at least once in their life. Over the next few paragraphs, I would like to take you on a journey.
The Power of Culture Shock
Imagine being in a foreign country. The air is different, the sights and smells are something that you never experienced before. Streets are full of people, motorbikes and cars flowing together in a difficult balance. Your alarm goes off at 6:00 am and it is time for you to get ready and embark on another day of training. The sun is up early and it’s already scorching hot. You know that there is 10 km of hot asphalt ahead and your body is aching from training the day before. You struggle and hit snooze once but your alarm clock is relentless.
You jump on your motorbike and head to training camp. You then jump on the back of a pickup truck and it drives away dirt and dust shouting out from the back of the tires. Twenty minutes later it stops next to a lake surrounded by beautiful trees, the scenery is breath taking. You take a moment to take it all in before the other athletes start the 45 minutes running back to the camp.
As you run through the gates you see some of your teammates already starting to put on their hand wraps. You prepare yourself to do your rounds on the bag. The sun is in full force and there is little cover, the concrete under your feet is hot and your legs feel like cement. Looking at the Thai boys’ training, you push yourself and in your mind, you say “this what I want, this is what I signed up for”. You came halfway across the world to be the best you can be at this art called Muay Thai.
The Power of Teacher
The Ajahn (Master Teacher) calls you into the ring and smiles as you climb through the ropes; you know that this is going to hurt. You are going to be in there for 25 minutes and it will feel like an eternity. You hear the popping sound of the pads as he calls out the combinations in Thai. Sweat rolls off your face, you are tired but are determined. There is no quit in you and the end of the round is near. As you kick and punch there is a moment of focus and clarity. You know you will make it, you push harder. You have what it takes, the strength inside you builds, the body is tired but your heart pushes you forward; your soul is happy. As the bell rings, you go to the corner for water and smile at your trainer as he nods his head in acknowledgement.
You have come a long way from the first days of arriving in Thailand and your teacher sees it and feels it in his hands and forearms. Proud, even for a moment you drink the water with satisfaction that all this hard work is paying off. You are growing in ways you never thought you could. Your body, mind and spirit are all at work and you feel balanced and at peace.
The Power of Timeless Lessons
This experience is one that will stay with you forever. No matter how many times your monkey brain questions your why, you know that the training will change your life forever. You are better than you were yesterday and that’s all that matters.
If you have never tried a martial art before. I would highly recommend it. Many people understand the most common benefits of training like; the physical aspects, the discipline. The thing that most people don’t see is how it forces you to look at yourself in the mirror. Are you going to quit when things get tough? It really pushes people to really look deep inside and answer questions about themselves they would normally not ask; Who am I? What am I? What is my purpose?
This has been my journey and as I continue to grow and evolve, there are so many situations in my life that I can relate to training for competition. The pain you feel in training every day can be a trial and tribulation that you may be going through that could be hard on the heart. The hardship of pushing through your injuries could be the deadline you need to keep while under stress. The heartbreak of losing a fight could be so many things, a sale you didn’t close, a business that wasn’t successful or a promotion you didn’t get. This is why I believe everyone should try a martial art at least once in his or her life. We are all just taking life one day at a time and there is a beautiful quote that I shared during one of my leadership classes and it reads, “Take care of each day and the years will take care of themselves”. Learn to love yourself and do what is best for you because if you’re not good, you are no good to anyone else. Give it your best effort each day and listen to what your heart tells you for it will never steer you in the wrong direction.
One thing is for certain; Martial Arts, helps bring some balance back in one’s life. I believe that we are a three part being. We are a body, a mind and a spirit. In order to have balance you must exercise all three parts of your being. I hope you consider trying a Martial Art.
Kru Mel Bellissimo