Episode 2: What Is Your Relationship To Martial Arts? – Part 1
In this episode of Martial Art of Self, we explore the question: ‘’What is my relationship to martial arts?’’
Working with your own personal definition of martial arts can assist in understanding how you interpret this art form and whether it supports you completely or not. I find to truly understand your relationship to martial arts, you must be brutally honest with yourself, with no suppression of the truth.
In this episode, I share how my definition of martial arts made me tunnel-visioned and fueled my ego. This damaged me and my mindset because I used it for comparison and competition. I decided to challenge my current relationship to martial arts and created a new definition that turns martial arts for me into a process of self-inquiry, self-understanding, and self-actualization.
I share glimpses of how I walked that process of re-defining martial arts for me, and some of the methods, steps, questions and points I looked at, and tested.
Music by Fidelis Spies
[00:00:00] Welcome to the Martial Art of Self podcast, a podcast about bringing the essence of martial arts back to self.
[00:00:12] My name is Aldin, and in today’s episode, I will be talking about my relationship to martial arts.
[00:00:22] So, what I would like to discuss and cover within today’s podcast is my relationship to martial arts. Particularly my– one of my older definitions and relationship I have had towards martial arts, and then from there kind of talk about the redefinition that I have been going through in regards to who I am towards martial arts and how I see martial arts, and what martial arts has become to me, or is becoming for me.
[00:01:11] So– and I’m– I’m pretty sure that you have had your glimpses, if you will, into your personal relationship towards something. Towards a sport, towards a person, towards a thing, such as for example towards martial arts, and–
[00:01:36] I find it very important that oneself really comes face-to-face with and confronts oneself with ones– and investigates one’s personal relationship toward something such as martial arts in this case.
[00:01:54] Because getting to know your relationship ‘as is’ without any suppressions of the truth – based on either positive feelings or negative emotions, like shame, or some forms of beliefs that something is wrong or not right about your relationship or your perspective towards martial arts, or something – will allow you to understand yourself and get to know yourself much more and much more intimately, which in turn is going to lift the veil of ignorance that you have placed upon yourself, and through that lifting of the veil of ignorance is going to equally give you the opportunity to become so much more, to see so much more, to expand your awareness, to encompass so much more that you can become, that you can realize about something – about an art, about a sport, about a passion, about a hobby, such as in this case martial arts.
[00:03:06] So, my– What I have realized for myself by investigating my relationship of martial arts is that I had a– That I saw martial arts – because I grew up with martial arts from a very young age. I was very intrigued by the art itself, by the movements, by– by the kicking, by the punching, by the mentality of it, if you will, by the spirituality of it, if you will as well– That for me martial arts became kind of this ultimate goal, this ultimate thing that I would be tunnel-visioned on that, I would be thinking of constantly, 24/7 all year round, and I would be dreaming of it, I would be daydreaming of it, I would be having internal conversations about it towards– within myself, I would be thinking about it, I would be having memories and remembrances and walking down memory lane about my movements, about movies I saw, about techniques I read about, or I saw in videos or on– or from– from instructors, from demonstrations, and so on and so forth.
[00:04:30] And– So, martial arts thus became something that has really taken over I would say like 99.9% of my mind space, if you will. I was thinking about it, I was also physically doing it, I was practicing, I was exercising. My mind and myself and my physical movement, if you will, were always doing something in alignment to martial arts.
[00:05:06] So, it took over my world almost completely. And, what started slowly but surely emerging when I realized in investigating and understanding my relationship to martial arts ‘as is’, as ‘has been developed’ – is that a– If you will – a natural comparison and from their competition with other martial artist and people emerged from it. What I mean with comparison and competition, in this case, is not a competition in terms of participating in competitions of– of martial arts, of fighting, of sparring, of points, of just general fighting and stuff like that – but more a competition in terms of the mental mind games. A competition within your head, if you will. A competition inside my head where I would be comparing myself with other martial artists, with other people, I would see – be it on Instagram, be it on video, be it in movies, be it in the exercise or the martial arts classes.
[00:06:20] And, I would start comparing myself to these people, and I would be in this mindset of wanting to win this inner mind competition and comparison that I participate in. Meaning that I was developing the– I was developing jealousy, for example towards the people or martial artists that– that I perceived would be better than me at some attribute or some characteristic. Be it speed, be it power, be it strength, be it technique, and so on and so forth.
[00:07:04] And– So, from there it made things much more hard and much more difficult because my– my motivation would be fueled by this comparison and competition and desire to want to win this inner competition and create the– the feeling of assurance within myself that I am the best, I am really good, I’m the best at speed – meaning I have– I am the fastest, I’m the most powerful, I can generate the most power with the body, the body frame that I have, I can– I’ll outdo anyone in terms of fighting IQ – fighting intelligence, I would be top-notch in my techniques, able to generate super hard and powerful punches and kicks, and so on and so forth.
[00:08:12] And– Because I was fueled by– because my motivation to train, and become better was thus fueled by this comparison and this competition inside my mind – it– You might not realize it, but it places a lot of emotional and feeling and mental stress on yourself and thus on your body. And, what happened is that once I started– I started isolating myself from other people more and more, from other martial artists, so to speak, so that I did not have to be confronted constantly with this– with this inner reaction of– of seeing someone and then within my mind going through these processes of comparison and competition and assessment and judgment of whether or not I am better or worse than them in some form of characteristic or attribute when it comes to the martial arts, or the martial arts practice. And, so I started isolating myself and going away by– to– to– by for example not watching anymore Instagram, any– anything related to martial arts, by going less and less to the classes, by watching less and less movies and focusing and putting my attention on other things, on other hobbies, so to speak so that I– that I did no longer have to be constantly and continuously confronted with this– these inner mind reactions of mine that I would have of competition and comparison and from there that would lead to jealousy, and really taxing my body because my motivation to train, my drive to train would be fueled by this jealousy and this desire and want to win based on this inner competition and comparison with other people and other martial artists.
[00:10:22] So, Isolation was thus a– a side effect, a consequence of this comparison and competition mode that I was in and was participating in.
[00:10:35] And– What– what I thus further realized in investigating my relationship with martial arts ‘as is’ was that I was– I had somehow developed my– My focus was too much on martial arts as being this thing out there, this external thing, the practicing, the movements, the physical movements, the punches, the kicks, the techniques, the exercises to increase speed, to increase agility, to increase flexibility, to increase kicking and punching and hitting in general, power, increase fighting intelligence, and so on and so forth. And, I was in that process forgetting and neglecting myself, the ‘Self’ part, the ‘Being’ part within.
[00:11:45] And– and what that meant was losing touch with the self, if you will. Losing touch with who I am, and by too– Being too focused and placing too much attention and focus on the external ‘Out There’-Martial Arts and never bringing the martial arts back to me, back to self. Seeing but– and asking myself, “But what is martial arts to me”?
[00:12:15] “What can martial arts do for me”? in the sense of “What can I, myself through the application and practice and usage of this tool that is martial arts, what can I do for me to assist and support me to understand myself, to understand my inner self, to understand my processes within myself – meaning my– my emotions my feelings, my– my reactions, my patterns, my fears; to understand courage, to understand how can I assist and support me? How can I help myself to build these characteristics and tools and– and– and attributes within myself – like courage, determination, discipline… How can I build these things with the assistance of martial arts”?
[00:13:13] Because martial arts is a very physical application if you will. It’s a very physical thing. It’s– it’s– it’s using your body and by using your body, you are being very physical. So, how can I use my physical body through this thing, through this tool that is martial arts to in turn, through the martial arts assist and support myself, help myself to understand myself better, to understand my fears, understand my mind, understand how I function and understand– and– and inquire Who I am, and How have I created and become who I am and how can I in this inquiring and peeling layer by layer of who I am – How can I find ways, methods, methodologies, applications, practices that would help me, that would assist me, that would support me to practically change, to practically have this tool-set, this application-set, if you will that is actually really practical and that I can apply at will when I decide to when needed to get me through a challenge, get me through an emotion, get me through a certain pattern that I have always participated in, that I’ve always been known to ‘be in,’ if you will.
[00:14:58] And, how can I assist and support me thus with finding tools, methodologies, applications, certain movements in the physical to support my general self-change, and I’m placing the emphasis on self specifically, because I think, I– I– I feel like, if you will, that we have – at least in my case – I have placed too much emphasis and made martial arts this thing out there that I’m just doing as this external application and only in glimpses here and there moments would open up where I would bring the martial arts and what it actually is, and what it is to– for me and to me, and I would bring it back to me, back to the ‘Within’ and– and if you will, train my inside, train myself, my ‘Self’-Part.
[00:15:58] Not just the external, the ‘Body’-Part, but the ‘Self’-Part, and my relationship with myself, my mind, my body through that within. But it would mostly be martial arts as this external ‘out-there’ application, and this external ‘out-there’ thing that I do, that I perform the exercises for, that I build the physical strength, power, technique, fighting intelligence for, and so on and so forth. And, rarely, as said, would it be bringing it back to me, within myself, inside myself and making it about self, about me, about using it as a physical– as a very physical and very awesome tool and application to assist and support the ‘Within,’ the ‘Self,’ the ‘Being’ part, and understanding the self, understanding my relationship with myself, my relationship with my mind, my relationship with my physical body.
[00:17:09] And, seeing, and understanding how can I use the physical body, and how can I move the ‘Being’, the ‘Me’, the ‘Self’ within and through the physical body that I’m inside of, that I am in, that I am as, if you will – How can I use that? How can I move and use it to complement, to support, to facilitate self-understanding, self-change, self-awareness, and living, and what it means to actually live in and through my physical body.
[00:18:04] Okay, that’s it for this episode. I will be continuing with this topic of my relationship and– and the relationship in general towards martial arts within my next episode as this is quite a– it’s quite a– it’s quite a vast topic and a lot of points to cover, and that I need to incorporate and– and– and not leave out, because they are very important points that form the whole or assist to form the whole understanding of the point that I’m– that I’m sharing or trying to make if you will.
[00:18:50] All right, I will see you in the next episode of The Martial Art of Self Podcast. Thank you.
[00:18:56] Thank you for listening to the Martial Art of Self podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. You can also follow this podcast on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about the Martial Art of Self, please visit martialartofself.com