On a martial arts journey, one’s initial goals are simple: Learn to fight, toughen yourself up and be the bad arse on the street.
We have all been there. We watch movies like Jason Bourn and James Bond. We see how being the tough guys wins all. So we go to our local martial arts schools hoping to learn the skills and techniques that will get us to this level of immortality.
Where does it go wrong?
Most guys at local martial art schools are not as tough and cool as the fictional action heroes they set out to be; they are simply a collection of men and women trying to build their self confidence, to better their lives.
Toughness is not defined by how many punches you give or take; it’s defined by character. Neanderthals could throw punches. But could they endure pain and sacrifice their own well being for the benefit of others?
Many martial arts leaders seek a god-like presence, desiring to be revered and worshiped like a cult leader. They run their schools based on secrets and “superior” techniques, leading to closed off cliques in the greater martial arts world.
But toughness isn’t made through exclusivity.
Toughness is made from being one with a community, the opportunities to meet people from all walks of life. Fighting should not be done with the intention of raw aggression; you will get the most out of martial arts by using it as a tool to improve yourself through collaboration with others.
How to Continue Your Journey
Have you ever watched an England vs. Ireland rugby game? They go to war for 80 minutes, then after end up in the bar as friends. To improve as a martial artist, take a similar approach in your fighting. Open your mind to the concept that your martial art or combat skill isn’t “superior” to any other style or way of fighting. Treat the people you train with as brothers and sisters; they are your friends and are the reason you will improve.
The Buddha thanked people who treated him bad, so we should do the same. You will meet arseholes along the way, but you can control your ego and not let them disturb your path. Thank them for making you stronger.
Own your journey.