what has the martial arts done for you?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by gojuman, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. gojuman

    gojuman Valued Member

    Aside from learning how to fight or get in to better shape, how has your study of the martial arts benifited your life? School? Work? Relationships? Etc?
  2. Dirk Dagger

    Dirk Dagger I Love Kelly Hu

    I am a Shotokan Karate Practicioner. I'm quite fascinated with the Japanese way of life... The power of KOKORO or "spirit'. I must say, the study of Karate has made me more discipined in every aspect of life.
    I'm from Philippines, and living in a 3rd world country where there's too much politics and disasters, not to mention terrorism and graft and corruption, ... a Japanese Heart can really make a difference.
  3. Em-em

    Em-em I wanna go home!

    Japanese Heart? Bwahahaha. Come on! Peace Kuya Dirk...

    I learned to have pride in what I'm doing.

    I learned that even in karate, politics still happens.
  4. RubyMoon

    RubyMoon New Member

    Nice idea for a thread, Gojuman. :)

    For me, a better question would be, "How haven't the martial arts benefited my life?"

    I was about sixteen or seventeen when I signed up for my first lessons. I can't remember what made me walk into that kwoon, but I am sure I had no idea that I was changing my life forever.

    I was always sort of an outcast in school. A favorite target of bullies, I basically kept to myself. I had a few close friends, but I was basically shy, insecure, and nervous around most people. My family life was rocky to say the least. My father was an alchoholic and my mother was an abused woman in denial. My best friends were mostly boys, but I had never had much luck with romance. I was far too introverted and scared of my own shadow. I was weak and terrible at sports. The only thing I really loved in school was band.

    Then everything changed. From my first lesson in kung fu, I was hooked. I knew this was something I wanted to do. It really surprised me since I never liked sports. It was clear from the beginning, however, that kung fu wasn't just a sport. I recognized early on that there was much more to this art than just moving your arms and legs. Something was happening here that transcended all the stuff they tried to teach in high school.

    I excelled in my new art. In six months I was a yellow belt, and only a few months later I had already progressed to blue. I was learning very fast. I became stronger and more athletic than I ever thought possible. Sifu started asking me to lead the class through exercises and to help with teaching the beginners. I was honored and rose to the challenge. I became Sifu's "right hand" and helped with classes, demonstrations, and other things around the kwoon.

    By the time my senior year of high school started, I was not the same person. I was confident and self-assured. I was no longer intimidated by anyone. In fact, I didn't even seek revenge on the jerks who had bullied me. They just didn't matter to me anymore. I knew if they bothered me again I could handle it. Interestingly, they didn't. My change was so apparent that nobody wanted to cross me. There was something new in my eyes, a calm confidence that showed I wasn't afraid. I never bragged about my training. People just knew.

    Then it all happened. I met someone who helped change my life even more. I met the first real love of my life. From that point on, my world had no boundaries. And believe me, for a time I pushed them ALL. Around that time there were a lot of "firsts" in my life. I'm sure you can imagine many of them. Some of them stuck, but most of them eventually became part of my past.

    My brown belt test was brutal. I will never forget it. I had to fight all my classmates who showed up, and because I was popular as both a teacher and a classmate, there were lots of them. Among them was Rich "Leaping" Lopez. At that time, Rich was the 2nd world rated PKA heavyweight. Gee, thanks Rich!

    I started with the junior belts and worked my way up. By the time I got to Rich, I was already fairly winded. Thankfully, he went "easy" on me...but nevertheless I still found myself flying across the kwoon more than once. Finally, the match was over. But the test wasn't.

    After my bout with Rich, Sifu informed me I would be fighting two opponents at once. He threw two green belts at me. I didn't have too much trouble with them, but by this time I was just doing my best not to get pummeled rather than trying to "win." After I finished that round...Sifu threw three opponents at me at once. My friends "honored" me by fighting hard. I showed my thanks by trying not to fall over too much.

    Finally, I had done it. I had gotten through all of my classmates, including Rich Lopez, including several of them at once, and survived. What a victory! I was utterly exhausted, but I was pleased with myself for hanging in there and making it through to the end. Until...

    Sifu gave me a moment to rest while, to my dismay, I watched him put on his sparring gear. When he was ready, he informed me we would be fighting for a two-minute round.

    And then another.

    Without going into the gory details of my...um, match...with my Sifu, let me just say that I somehow managed to survive. Even more notably, I was actually somehow able to pick myself up off the floor afterwards to receive my belt. My knees were wobbling and I wasn't seeing too straight, but I did make it.

    To this day, that was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and believe me--that is saying quite a lot. That test gave me more confidence, strength, and character, than any other single experience in my formative years. It has carried me through some life challenges I might never have met otherwise.

    Seventeen years and thousands of miles later, martial arts are still a big part of my life. I haven't always trained through all those years, but even when I was away from a kwoon, my kung fu was with me every step of the way. Now, I am again a student...not so young and agile as I once was, but once again eager to learn and advancing quickly.

    I can't even imagine my life without kung fu. I have every reason to believe I might not even be here today if I hadn't walked into that kwoon twenty years ago. In many ways, my life has gone full circle from then to now.

    The only other thing that has stuck through my life the same way is music. Remember how I was so shy and introverted before, just a nerdy little band student? Now I am a professional saxophonist in a funk band. I'm never happier than when I'm jumping over barstools, dancing into the audience, and wailing out a funky solo on the alto sax. I don't think the "old" me ever would have had the confidence to stand up in front of the spotlight and shine like that.

    How have the martial arts benefited my life? In every conceivable way.

    Kung fu isn't just part of life. My life is part of my kung fu.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2004
  5. Seito

    Seito New Member

    For those who Take MA a step further than sport, it not only becomes what you do.......but who you are.
    (Martial Arts is a way of life-nuff said)
  6. toothpaste100

    toothpaste100 Banned In 60 Seconds

    Great post Ruby!
  7. ADam777

    ADam777 New Member

    wow...that was inspiring ruby...thx for posting
  8. TigerAnsTKDLove

    TigerAnsTKDLove Ex-TKD'er 2005.

    made me much stronger, better confidence in myself.
  9. SoKKlab

    SoKKlab The Cwtch of Death!

    With Apologies to JFK.

    'Ask not what Martial Arts have Done for you?,
    Ask what you have done for Martial Arts?'
  10. gojuman

    gojuman Valued Member

    So far the winner of this post goes to Ruby, but don't be intimidated by her story not to tell yours.

    I find that studying Karate has made me a stronger person mentaly and physicaly. The lessons learned and practiced in Karate have benefited my life away from the dojo in my profession and my family life.
    I am a manager in a recruiting company and my martial arts helps me deal with business problems as well as personell situations with my emplyees.
    I also am a musician. I am a timpanist with an opera company. Throughout my musical studies I have always worked on having discipline enough to be a professional player, but the study of Karate has taken my music to what I realize is the next level.

    I find that most people with whom I am around who do not practice martial arts are not very disciplined and in business there is an awful lot of dis-honour that permiates.
    I hold the rules of the dojo from my master swith me always.

    Every one works.
    Nothing is Free.
    Everyone starts at the bottom.

    If you understand this simple concept you will be better in anything you do.
  11. Goju

    Goju Yellow Belt

    This is a cool story dealing with benefits of ma training... some of the higher belts @ my dojo actually met their spouses from ma training. THey then had kids, everyone in the family does karate. ANd after all of this time, they are in way better shape, are more aware, better fighters, have wives/husbands, and a family. Pretty cool, me thinks. Another point is that ma are making $$ for every sensei, dojo, instructer etc around the world, so the ma are a way of life, a hobby, an interest, a job, and a social event.
  12. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    Sorry Goju, can't top that one...
  13. Eero

    Eero Valued Member

    Karate enabled me to harness my own strenght. The newfound abilities I have were always with me, but I just didn't know how to use them. Now with Budo I learned to understand myself and find my own way. I, for example, stopped drinking and my senses are more acute than before.
  14. moondog

    moondog ch'en fake wannabe

    i first started MA when i was about 6. it was taekwondo, which till today still influences the way i spar even though i've stopped going to classes for about 3 years.
    i left home when i was 15 and started getting involved in the streetlife scene. because of a desire to be respected, something i never got at home, and influence of friends who were living the same life, i started streetfighting. taekwondo got me out of a lot of fights were i might have been stabbed or shot, though surviving just blew up my ego.
    after a while i built up a certain reputation and people i didn't know were afraid of me, so i got the respect that i craved. but it was respect through fear, which is worthless.
    when i was 17 i had sparred with a taichi teacher who was also respected in the underground scene, and i found out why. i couldn't touch him, even though i was much younger and had a certain fighting instinct.
    he showed me that taichi was a martial art and started teaching me. practicing taichi gave me the strength to walk away from the life i was living as a street rat, and showed me how the MA can change a person if he really is interested. i've made taichi my life now, planning to spend a few years in china at the chen village to truly understand this MA.
    i hope this helps those who are also living the life i did and are looking for a way out.
  15. Ghost Frog

    Ghost Frog New Member

    Somebody once said that the dojo is a microcosm of the world, where you get to confront all your strengths and weaknesses, and I think this is true.

    Ju jitsu has taught me to be confident, brave and determined. I think it also keeps you grounded to get slammed into the mat on a regular basis- it stops you taking yourself too seriously.Our club has given me a consistent group of friends for the last 8 years, and an interest in common with many people all over the world.

    The only negative points during my training 'career' so far have been a couple of nasty injuries and an unpleasant bit of politics a few years ago. Although both of these stopped me training for a while, I think that they have made me stronger in the long run, and given me a longer term view than I had previously lacked. Overcoming difficulties in my training has made me more resilient in my approach to challenges in my work and personal life.

    Overall I'm a far more relaxed, happy and energetic person now than I was 8 years ago. I do have more bruises, though. And my back isn't in good shape. All positive apart from that, though.
  16. Ghost Frog

    Ghost Frog New Member

    Oh, and I met my gorgeous husband at training as well. How could I forget!!
  17. Rhineville

    Rhineville Valued Member

    The one thing that Karate-Do has helped me with that really sticks out- confidence. I used to be the most shy person on earth.
    Now, although I am still reserved, I have no fear of expressing my opinions or becoming active in conversations.
    Without martial arts, I'd probably have not went to college and have no friends.

    Martial arts saved me.
  18. HayabusaZero

    HayabusaZero New Member

    I just recently started martial arts, to put it simply, its always something I've wanted to do.

    When I was little, I remember I always had this yearning to be a part of some martial art. I remember watching "The Karate Kid" and action movies and then my other friends goof-off pretending to be "fighting" eachother, and thinking about how much I wanted to do the REAL thing.

    But I didn't want to learn a Martial Art so I could beat-up my friends. I wanted to learn it for something more, and to this day, I'm not exactly sure what pulls me to train. Its like a fire in my heart that continues to draw me further and further in.

    But back to when I was a kid. I lived in a very poor, and small town. The nearest school was almost an hour drive, and this school was, in all essence, a mcdojo. I discovered soccer, and became the star athlete of the Junior High team. But still, I knew there was something more.

    Then I moved back to where I was born, and everything changed. I went to a Prep School where the only thing that mattered to the administration was money, and I soon took a backseat to the athletes once I didn't make the soccer team. I felt out of place, alone. I realized that I didn't belong in the school. My grades were dismal, and I failed myself out of the school.

    So then I went to public school, and I made friends, had more fun, you name it. But I still needed something in my life. I missed being as fit as I was when I played sports. Often I would think about going to a few schools, but I never followed through. Then I found this website, and it spurred me to action. I began looking for a school in my area. Unfortunately, I didn't have much luck finding a reputable place. I was pretty downtrodden.

    Then, when I told my mother of my predicament, she mentioned that a new school had opened in the town where she works. I decided to walk-in one day. I met one of the instructors, Chip Quimby, and he gave me a quick run-through. Then I watched a class later that night. I went home, and tried to find information on the instructors. What I found, didn't disappoint me. Furthermore, the style, Uechi Ryu, was a very involving style of karate.

    The next day I went back, and enrolled in 6 months of classes. From the first class in the dojo, I knew that this was what I had wanted all my life.

    So here I stand. A 9th kyu student. I might not have as much experience inside the dojo as Ruby, but I know that I have many more things in my new life of Martial Arts to experience. I have also realized that the "fire" in my heart, wasn't really a fire. It was a very small ember. And just now, I'm starting to fan the flames.

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