Strengthen Your Mind and Body
by Practicing a Martial Art
Martial arts are basically a set of physical and mental
skills that are gradually taught, developed and polished by
a trainer usually called "sensei" for Japanese arts and "sifu"
Martial arts translate as "the arts of war", and they consist
of a multitude of weaponless combat techniques, focused primarily
on self defense.
Based on ancient wisdom and philosophy, martial arts not only
strengthen the body of the adept, but they also fortify his
mind and his spirit. In Eastern culture, self control, discipline,
patience, awareness, are considered to be the traits of a
true warrior, and martial arts mainly focus on developing
these skills to practicing students.
In ancient times, martial arts were kept secret and practiced
in silence; being an apprentice in these skills was a great
privilege. However, today there are various schools that perpetuate
the traditional teachings of the great ancient masters.
Martial arts are divided into many different styles, linked
together by the omnipresent oriental mentality. If you wish
to begin practicing a martial art, you should choose a style
that best satisfies your needs and potential. Some martial
arts focus more on physical strength, while others focus on
technique and reflex. The best thing to do before choosing
the appropriate style is assisting to a few training classes
and asking the trainer whether you fit in or not.
Another important aspect you should consider is that martial
arts require a lot of ambition, dedication, perseverance and
practice. You should keep in mind that the skills are learned
gradually, and it takes time to achieve higher ranks.
When you have discovered the style that fits you best, make
sure that your trainer is qualified and that he teaches in
an approachable manner. Regardless of experience or rank,
not all martial arts masters have the ability to teach! You
should look for an instructor that stands as a true "raw model",
a person whose teachings match his ideals and beliefs.
Having found the right instructor and training gym, all you
need is equipment. Martial arts equipment is sometimes optional
and it mainly consists of a uniform or sparring and protective
equipment such as boxing gloves, head gear and chest protection.
You can either buy these traditional uniforms, or make them
yourself. Consult your instructor and find out his requirements
regarding the appropriate training outfit.
The martial art equipment also includes a belt. It is made
of a certain textile material and its purpose is to distinguish
the ranks of the students. The black belt marks the highest
level of experience and it can be obtained through years of
learning and practice.
Whether you choose to practice martial arts as a sport or
for self defense, its benefits are substantial. Martial arts
improve your physical condition, as well as your concentration,
attention and ambition. They strengthen the mind and body
altogether and help you achieve self-respect, confidence and
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