Most people begin taking martial arts classes for one of two reasons…they want to get into shape or they want to learn to defend themselves. But what most don’t realize is that while getting your butt kicked you learn alot about yourself and what you are made of. You end up leaving your ego (along with some blood, sweat and tears) on the floor and it is just you in your raw form trying to not to get punched, pushed or kicked. Yes, it sounds a bit brutal but no worries, you’ve got gear on. A good partner won’t be trying to take you out and I am surrounded by good people at my school luckily for me. In fact, my teacher emphasizes “partners not opponents” but I digress.
So back to getting my butt kicked…you see I am new to sparring and am working on my defense while trying to figure out how to get in a few hits of my own. During the process of this early learning stage I get a bit pummelled sometimes. So feeling like I am back in grade school with a bully on my back can be a bit frustrating. But that is part of the point. You need to learn to keep your head, your wits about you and not get all emotional over it. You see, there lies in the difference between doing yoga or pilates and doing kung fu. It pushes you to your physical and emotional limits and forces you to tap into inner reserves to keep going.
Martial arts, taught by a good teacher, is about destruction of the ego and at the same time teaches you to face adversity inside the safe walls of the dojo (dojang). So when you get out into the real world, you take with you the lessons you’ve learned and are able to apply them when things get tough.
And if you are over the age of 10, you know how tough life can get. Why not be prepared?
Originally published September 8, 2008