Martial Arts is a rich art full of potential to enhance one’s life for the better. But to achieve that we must live what we learn from it everywhere in life. Living the principles of martial arts, or any other discipline or thing we are practicing is a vital fundamental. To take a discipline, be it martial arts or anything else, and expand it, and integrate it in the other areas of our lives is going to have some major positive changes in ourselves and life.
I understand self-investment as committing you to you; to understand you, to transform you, to actualize your Self for the better. I find this is one of the best investments you can make in life. The time and effort you put in towards bettering you and your life is a decision you cannot go wrong with.
I find that when I commit myself to my process of self-investigation, self-introspection where I actively strive to understand more parts of myself in mind, body and being, and to find and apply the solutions and corrections I see fit that all the times of sleepless nights, tired days, ups and downs, struggles and challenges and any other experience of ‘struggle’ and ‘hardship’ in the end are worth it.
You simply cannot lose and go wrong with investing in yourself. You can only learn and improve under the premise that you want to indeed understand and improve, and not perpetuate your status quo by blaming and justifying.
It is a very rare type of investment where you only win in the end.
To Live Martial Arts Is to Live It’s Principles and Essence Both in and out of the Gym
If we only live the principles and words that we learn and apply in our martial arts path during the hours that we spend training, we are not living and embodying its essence fully.
I believe that true training happens in the small moments of everyday life that are primarily outside ‘gym hours’.
Balance, power, strength, softness, … All those principles and words are truly trained in real-time moments of everyday life: During work, walking, interacting, speaking, thinking, running, doing business, teaching, studying, eating, drinking, our relationships, etc.
The ‘gym hours’ are focused and dedicated times for learning and discovering principles and words and finding ways how to apply them. Outside, in the real world of our everyday life is when it’s important to map and apply these principles and words we practiced during ‘gym hours’ to all relationships and parts that make up our reality.
I believe that that is the meaning of embodying martial arts fully.
Martial Arts Is the Art of Self-Mastery
Martial Arts is the Art of Self-Mastery, and Self-Mastery is to Know Yourself As Mind, Body and Being in Absolute Detail.
If we know and understand who we are and how our minds, behavior, feelings, emotions, and thoughts operate and where they started in our life, then we have a chance to find solutions to them.
We can then live those solutions we find the next time we have the same or similar thoughts or emotional/feeling reactions.
To understand oneself gives room to discover other ways of being and living. To apply and live those other ways gives birth to self-change.
Self-Mastery goes way beyond just the mastery of physical aspects and attributes in for example martial arts. We may perfect our kicks, punches, and techniques, but none of that ‘perfection’ means that we in any way understand our Self more and better as the Being we are within and in relationship to Life.
You Cannot Take a Break or Pause From Living
We are at all times living something. Just that that something we live is either a way that supports to bring out the best we can be as beings/individuals, or it is a way that we already know and have lived for a long time such as old habits and thinking patterns that constantly only reinstitute and strengthen the experiences of for example fears and judgment.
When we want a ‘break from life’ we are only doing ourselves a disservice because we just let loose inside ourselves and give in to old ways of being that reinforce the self-experience and life that are problematic and not the best for us.
And since we live at all times, we should rather repetitively choose to live the ways that serve the best in and of us as beings and our relationship to life.
As a martial artist, you apply your discipline and focus towards making that choice to live the way that brings out the best in you and your relationship to life.
Inner Self-Work & Physical Workout as One Unit
To confront and work through our inner self is possibly the hardest thing any of us could ever do in life. No external workout or exercise comes even close to the toughness of such inner self-work.
You can do the test yourself: Start writing daily for example with the objective and starting point to investigate some part of yourself, such as a judgment or blame you have towards someone or something in your life. Then daily push yourself to face those points and will yourself to change your usual behavior and way of thinking when you find yourself in the same or similar situation that triggers you or that point you are trying to change. Now keep that self-change application up, plus keep on opening up and investigating more and more good, bad and ugly parts of yourself.
You will soon find resistance beyond anything you have ever faced during a physical workout or training, such as in martial arts. Doing a physical workout or training sessions becomes quite preferred over doing a session of inner self-work.
The inner self-work though brings through unparalleled strengths and characteristics that you can not create like that through just external/outer physical exercise and training.
I believe working out within and workout out physically are parts of one unit, but inner self-work should be prioritized much more than it’s given credit at the moment.
The toughest things usually bear the sweetest fruit. Inner self-work is indeed a toughy. It is challenging. However, the fruit of its labor is unparalleled.
What Is Martial Arts for You?
You need to find the answer to that question inside you, for you. Do not follow someone else’s conclusion and definition of martial arts. That is theirs. Let theirs be theirs and yours be yours.⠀
Do not blindly follow someone else and adapt their definition and view towards something like martial arts as your own just because you find them cool, or they are successful and end up never doing the self-inquiry yourself and digging deep within to find or create that relationship to martial arts (or something else) that is truly Yours. Tailored to Who You Are. Not tailored to Who Someone Else Is.⠀
A person who dedicates and commits themselves to find and create their unique self-expression is far more respectable than one that hunts for successful personalities in the world trying to copy them. The price for that is a high one: Your Own Unique Self-Expression.
Live Life Instead of Conceptualizing Life Only
Live Life instead of conceptualizing life only. Life is meant to be lived and not squeezed into concepts and containers of knowledge and information only.⠀
While life is certainly much more than we currently understand and there are many parts and relationships to it, I believe that the essence of life is to live it. ⠀
Too often we only think about life in our minds and construct mental containers where we try to squeeze life into, saying ‘Life is this’ and ‘Life is that’. Creating the finest and coolest of sayings and philosophies around it, but never really taking the next step: To live it. ⠀
Living is a full-time activity; a never-ending, never-stopping flow of actions from moment to moment. And we are the person that must be the one who takes that action of living continuously. Every moment anew.⠀
Discovering, coming up with, realizing or being introduced to a principle or way of living, the next step is to make a commitment to oneself to actually live those through action, mapping them to our life accordingly and, not only think about it.