What you learn while practicing and studying martial arts can go way beyond the dojang. Learning a martial art may appear to focus on the physical side during class, but there is so much more you are learning.
All of us have had a technique or new form we did not think we could learn, but we stuck with it and eventually learned it. We learned to overcome challenges and continue on to the next one. And as we overcome each challenge, we have gained more confidence and mental toughness to overcome the next challenge that came our way. This is life. Life is filled with challenges and adversities that we must face and overcome to move forward.
In Gichen Funakoshi’s The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate, his tenth precept is “Apply The Way Of Karate To All Things, Therein Lies Its Beauty”. He states “One blow or one kick, give or take, can mean life or death. This concept forms the soul of karate-do. If all aspects of life are approached with this seriousness, all manner of challenges and hardships can be overcome.”
Another skill practiced inside the dojang is maintaining control both physically and emotionally. Hardships and challenges in life have the potential to provoke one to react physically or emotionally. Martial arts should never be used as an emotional reaction, only if your physical safety is at risk.
This is why the mind-body connection and body awareness are critical to learning a marital art. In learning this skill in the dojang, it can ensure you stay in control outside the dojang and choose how and when to respond.
And each time we overcome a challenge, practice maintaining control inside the dojang, it helps us with the next challenge outside the dojang. And every time you utilize the skills outside the dojang it will help you inside the dojang. The value of learning martial arts is far more then protecting oneself…it can help you through life.
I think Funakoshi tells it best in his finishing statement of his tenth precept (in reference to practitioners of marital arts), “They will come to see the wonderful power that stems from polishing the mind and body through the Way of Karate, and will recognize the exquisite beauty of this path.”
“Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better.“ ~ Mr. Miyagi, fictional Okinawan karate in The Karate Kid saga.
“Put Karate into your everyday life any you will find its subtle secrets.” ~ Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957), founder of Shotokan Karate