Sometimes I wonder (Who comes to the martial arts)

Sometimes I wonder. Whatever happened to me to cause this direction in my life? Maybe the answer comes from other questions.

Who comes to the martial arts? And why? As in why do they come at all?

While discussing this question with one of my black belt students one concept kept creeping into the conversation: These are people who need fixing. In other words people who have personal problems they cannot solve by themselves. In order to seek an answer, I looked inward.

What was I looking for when I signed up for this controlled mayhem? I believe I’ve answered some of that in earlier blogs but I’ll add one or two of those ideas here. First I wanted self defense. Second I wanted to be physically fit. To follow up on the first statement, I wanted self defense but I had no interest in being a fighter. Was there a secret desire to be admired hidden in my subconscious? Do not all share in this desire?

Many who come are not big or strong enough for football, not tall or coordinated enough for basketball, nor fast enough for track or are just not team players. I’d say many are looking to overcome a weakness. But to me the vast majority of those inquiring about these arts are searching but know not what they are searching for. Some of these thoughts and ideas were first mentioned by my teachers and others are the results of my observations.

What is truly significant is the change affected by large amounts of time spent in a more traditional dojo training under a sensei who challenges the student’s mind as well as the body. He or she who exits the dojo after many years is never the person who entered.

Why did you come?

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One thought on “Sometimes I wonder (Who comes to the martial arts)”

  1. I’ve heard that when a man is burdened by a conflict, he reacts with action. This has been true for me and Aikido is the most prominent example.

    I began training after the death of a very close friend because of a hate crime. Overcome with grief, I found it hard to live normally day-to-day. I have always had an interest in looking inwards to discover what I can find, but this time there was such a conflict that I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

    I began studying and training in martial arts because I needed to do something. I needed to discipline and strengthen my mind in order to overcome what I could not. The stain of violence in my memory gives meaning to learning self defense, and I knew that if there was ever a situation like that which my martial arts training could prevent (Given the situation ever arises, god forbid) I would be able to say I did all I could to prevent unecessary violence.

    This was the reason I began. The reasons I continue come from all the wonderful things I found come with the conditioning of mind and body through martial arts.

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