Saturday, April 23, 2011

Martial Arts, Buddhism, and Violence

Many associate martial artists with being violent.  This is so untrue.  True martial arts is a practice of self discipline and control.  As always, a true warrior can make a friend of an enemy.

So why would a peaceful Buddhist want to practice martial arts?  Well, there are a many factors.  Martial arts is a great way of teaching oneself self discipline, and training the mind.  When training the body, we also train the mind. Constantly focusing and being mindful of the body has many benefits not only in a martial aspect, but also of health.  The ultimate goal is achieving 'No-Mind."  Zen or mushin.

Martial arts, at an advanced level, incorporates the involvement of Qi or Ki.  The energy believed to be within us all, that also binds us all together.  Martial arts is an excellent way of focusing Qi (Chi), into various parts of the body for healing, balance, and strength. Being mindful of our bodies and our Qi gives us better communication with that "inner self," as well as others.

As far as action movies loaded with lots of violence, even involving martial arts, I'm not a fan.  Though I do collect rare Martial Arts movies from China and Japan, I tend to stick with the ones that have a good moral message or a message about training.

It is my hope that folks don't associate martial artists as violent people, (the ones who truly practic The Way), but rather as peaceful people who know when to act upon a situation when called for. Whether it be something as small as making a decision, or as important as saving your life.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Martial Motivation

One of the best benefits I have gained from practicing martial arts is self motivation.  I'll be honest, in my early 20s, I hated working.  I called in all the time, didn't show up at get the idea.

But since my martial training has become more serious in the last few years, I always find myself "testing myself, " to push through that laziness or lack of motivation.   And it really has paid off.  My current job is physically demanding.  Plus it's helping me with strength training, building muscle, and I'm secluded, so techniques can be practiced on my downtime. ;)

But why would practicing martial arts make you more self motivated?  Self Discipline. A true martial artist doesn't just practice when he's at the "dojo."  He tempers his mind and body daily, at every chance possible.  Whether it's against the rigors of daily life, the heavy bag, shadow boxing, or real confrontations (mental and physical).

The discipline of motivation doesn't only apply to work either.  It applies to the training itself, to the home, the family, anything really.  If one looks deep enough, virtually any activity can be used to train oneself, be it physically or mentally.  There are no waves without a wind.

The following video is of Shaolin monks training in a variety of techniques.  Enjoy.  Amituofo.