I come back to it time and again, but I’m often asked why people should learn martial arts when they can just buy a gun.
What those people are missing is that the martial arts aren’t just about self-defense. They’re a culture, an attitude, a way of life.
In this post, I’ll give you three reasons that are benefits of martial arts training. I’d encourage you to add more to this list in the comments below.
How To Defend Yourself
The most important thing you can learn from a self-defense class is how to defend yourself.
I don’t necessarily want to hammer the gun control issue here again, but guns are only part of the answer (or problem, depending on your perspective). Guns only work if you know how to use them, have enough time to use them, and are within reach of one. The same can be said of knives, pepper spray, pipes, broomsticks, or any other item that can be used as a weapon.
You always have your body parts available at your disposal, no matter if you’re sleeping, walking, driving, in a school, bar – the list goes on.
How To Think Differently and Effectively
One of my personal favorite martial arts benefits is that I’m able to think differently and effectively to solve problems.
In our kata, we work applications (bunkai). We take the series of techniques that comprise a series to dispose of a would-be attacker. In The Pinnacle of Karate, Master Trias describes each attacker’s moves, and the defender’s techniques to save himself/herself. In other words, Master Trias outlines our problem and gives his solution to it based on his knowledge.
You might be asking yourself at this point: “But Mr. Bockler, if we know the problem and the solution, aren’t we just doing rote memorization exercises?”
Actually, you’re not.
Using the same series of moves that you do in the kata, you can come up with an almost infinite amount of self-defense applications. Generally, these interpretations (extensions) are reserved for advanced ranks who are familiar enough with the moves and know the basic applications in order to expand upon them.
“Kata is our library of movement,” Mr. Hawkey often says.
How to Persevere
I was told recently that our requirements for promotion might seem too intimidating. My response was that becoming a black belt is not easy.
Karate teaches people how to persevere.
Though it depends entirely on each person, style, and instructor, the general rule of thumb is that it takes three to five years to achieve a black belt.
Think about school. High school takes four years (generally) to earn a diploma. College takes four more. Graduate degrees take longer.
Neither diplomas nor black belts are guaranteed. Some take longer to graduate than others. Some don’t even make it to the finish line.
When I think about that statement, I think about all the martial artists that have passed through Metamora Martial Arts since Mr. Chianakas opened the program in 2002. Hundreds, I would say, came to check it out. No matter what rank they achieve, only 11 students in 10 years could say they earned a black belt as a result of taking part in this program. Only five of those students were promoted to 2nd-degree black belt, or nidan.
Only one – me – is actively pursuing promotion to third-degree.
I don’t say that to brag or with any bitter intent geared toward to my martial arts brothers and sisters. Eleven of us have a special bond that we’ll carry with us as long as we live.
I say that to show that black belts and subsequent ranks are not easy to earn. It takes time, dedication, practice – and most importantly – perseverance.
Contact For More Information
Metamora Martial Arts is a karate and self-defense program for students children 8+, teens and adults. Contact Mr. Adam Bockler for more information>>