True martial arts teach both self-defense and self-improvement. Teaching one of these without the other doesn’t produce a complete martial artist or a true warrior. Teaching martial arts skills without instruction in character training and the skills needed to move towards self-perfection, only produces someone who has the skills to be dangerous, but not the character to be a complete martial artist – a true warrior.
On the other hand, teaching someone the ways of self-perfection, without teaching them self-defense, produces a wonderful person, but one who leaves his own personal safety, and the personal welfare of his family, to fate. Again, this is dangerous because it leaves this wonderful person open to being attacked and being unable to defend himself or his family.
Martial arts training is about balance. You have to have a balance between the skills of self-protection and the pursuit of self-perfection. Balance is key in every part of your life. A good martial arts instructor will focus on balancing each part his student’s life – spirit, mind, and body.
There are many people, in the martial arts world, who disagree with the above statement, but ask yourself, “Where would a martial arts student be who has great skills, but doesn’t have the courage to use them when needed?” Or, what about a student who is a fantastic fighter, but who doesn’t have the self-discipline to control his temper? I could give you many more examples, but hopefully you get my point.
What good is your physical training without the wisdom to know when to use it and when to walk away from someone who is pushing you to fight? And, if you do have the wisdom to know when to use your skills, and when to refrain from using your skills, what good is it if you don’t have the courage to use them in the first place? Complete martial arts training gives you the skills, the wisdom to know how and when to use those skills, the courage to use them when you need to, and much more.
There are so many aspects of the martial arts that must work together in order to find the balance between self-protection and self-perfection. True martial arts produce warriors, not fighters. Anyone can be taught how to fight, but that is not what makes a complete martial artist or a true warrior. Martial arts are about more than learning the skills needed to prevail in a fight; they are about pursuing perfection in every area of your life.
You see, all of these areas, spirit, mind, and body, actually work in unison. When they are out of balance, you have a chink in your armor, an opening for those who would come against you. But when spirit, mind and body are trained, balanced and working in perfect unison, they stop being individual parts and merge together to make a complete martial artist – a true warrior.
Modern Bushido: Living a Life of Excellence
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