Training in martial arts builds both skill and character
Aside from the fact that regularly doing exercise and seriously engaging in sports improve health, getting involved in martial arts training may give the practitioner several essential benefits.
Martial arts training is a commitment that requires the discipline to attend training sessions regularly and to practice the techniques again and again to fully sharpen their skills. They learn to persevere and to overcome complacency and physical limits because training, inside and outside the gym, demands patience, and mastery does not come overnight. Just like what a famous martial art expert said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
One of the most basic lessons learned in martial arts is respect. Almost all the books I have read that pertain to arnis and other martial arts start with lessons in salute and courtesy. In fact, formal trainings start and end in salute. Whenever practitioners meet their instructors outside the gym, they would perform some specific rituals as forms of greeting and courtesy to them. An arnisador (a practitioner of arnis) feels the need, out of respect, even if outside the gym and without the stick, to place his closed fist near his chest and bow down to his instructor. Through continued training and years of propagating the art, someday he will also get the same treatment from his own students.
An arnisador does not train to bully or intimidate other people. If he intends to impress them with his skills and forgets the value of humility, then he defeats the purpose of the art. If other people get impressed with the blinding speed of his hands and sticks, it must only be a product of his hard work. He must not be after their applause. Being a form of self-defense, the primordial intent must be the preservation of life. A practitioner maintains peace and order. His skills must not be used as a tool to cause fear and inflict harm.
Being an arnisador and a practitioner of some other martial arts, I am impressed with the speed, timing and techniques—developed through years of training—of fellow practitioners. They have spent precious time and exerted tremendous effort just to acquire those skills. However, these are not everything. I admire those who maintain the highest standards of character inside and, more importantly, outside the gym. Trainings become more meaningful only if the practitioner learns to love life, peace and harmony.
—JEEZER A. REYES,
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