The history of martial arts is traced to 527 A.D when emperor Wu Di invited a Monk named Bodhidharma from India. Bodhidharma was invited to assist Chinese monks improve their physical and mental health. When traveling across China, the monk stumbled upon a Buddhist temple that was under attack. The monks were too weak to defend themselves. Bodhidharma meditated for nine years on what he could do to assist fellow monks.
Bodhidharma decided to salvage the situation by teaching the monks synchronized defense techniques used by Indian warriors. This marked the beginning of martial arts as we know it today. Most people erroneously think martial arts is all about kicking and punching. On the contrary, martial arts is about developing fighting skills to defend yourself and others.
Most people have never considered the spirituality of martial arts because of the combative nature of the sport. Martial art is a philosophy that assist people harness their innate powers and strength. True martial artists with a strong spirit and mind avoid all unnecessary fights. Some of the commonly practiced martial arts include:
- Tae Kwon Do
- Muay Thai
- Wing Chun
Most martial arts classes normally begin with meditation. Students are expected to concentrate on some thought or object as away of clarifying their mind. This is deeply spiritual practice that includes relaxation and breathing. These acts as mental preparation before training.
Studies have shown that learning proper breathing techniques is crucial for physical activities. Similarly, meditation is now used in curing mental and physical ailments. The most notable benefits of practicing meditation include improve immune system, enhanced confidence, and emotional wellness.
Martial arts help practitioners build mental skills by teaching them how to focus. Before executing certain moves, students are instructed to focus and enter a Zen-like state. This state allows maximum physical performance. Martial arts teach humans how to use their mind to the maximum. A calm mind focuses more and is effective compared to a distracted one. This type of focus is beneficial in all areas of life, for example, in school and work.
Focusing with a calm mind enable us to finish what we’re doing quicker. It trains our mind and teaches it to work in collaboration with our body. Martial arts teach practitioners the connection between the mind and the body, and the connection between the physical and the mental.
Lastly, the meditation practiced in martial arts enable people to have conversations with their inner selves (soul). This is important because in the modern society many young people struggle with self-identity. People who don’t know what they are capable of physically and mentally are likely to have identity issues. Most people live and die with significant potential because of the disconnect between their minds and body.
Meditation in martial arts serves as the bridge channeling communication between the mind and the body. This enable students to evaluate and observe themselves from a third-person perspective. Attending martial arts classes mean connecting with your soul on a daily basis.
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