Friday, 13 November 2015

Martial Arts Saved Me

Martial arts saved me from being grumpy, disappointed, lonely, inconsiderate, and unhappy. They saved me from being complacent, mean, stubborn, and bitter.  Because of martial arts, I’ve been able to push the negative from my life and replace it with hope, insight, and positivity.  I can look in the mirror and be content with who I see; not just the physical person, but the one who has overcome, grown, and achieved personal success wholly due to martial arts.

Looking back 26 years, I would never have become the person I am today if it had not been for my journey into martial arts.  Back then I was not as confident, tenacious, or positive.  If I continued being that way, I would be struggling with so many life and health issues today.  I would lack motivation. I would be negative and constantly complaining.  I would be unappreciative and sour.  How do I know this? Because when I look around at some others who are my age, that is what I see. I’m not being judgmental because everyone has a right to live their life exactly as they choose.  I, however, want not of that.  I don’t want to “choose” anything; I just want to “do” whatever I can to make each moment count.

Because of martial arts, I am not lonely.  I have martial art friendships that are deep within my heart.  These are people I trust and admire and role models I aspire to be.  When you surround yourself with others who are exceptional, chances are that you will find the “extraordinary” you.  It is because you rise to the challenge.  The opposite can happen, too.  Surround yourself with negativity and you will find yourself wallowing in it.  I’m going to do whatever I can to cultivate passionate and reliable relationships that carry me through my difficulties and continue to apply a powerful martial art mindset to life. You can do this, too.  Just make the choice to work diligently toward the positive and push the negative aside.

Everything in our modern culture points us in the wrong direction.  There are very few cultural concepts that direct us to be warriors and leaders. A martial art can provide you with the quest for ambition and excellence, and that is what it did for me.  The day before I attended my first martial art class, I lacked leadership and belief in myself. Today, I use whatever I know to help others succeed and find happiness.

Yes, where would I be today?

Martial arts were my saving grace. They helped me walk toward becoming the best that I can be and to strive higher than I ever imagined. Truly, martial arts saved me in more ways than I can ever describe.

Years ago I was diagnosed with a heart murmur and mitral valve prolapse. Neither is dangerous, but when I first learned about them, I was worried.  The doctor told me that there are varying degrees of the prolapse (where one valve in the heart does not close as timely as it should) and it could be serious or not serious at all.  Thankfully, it was nothing to worry about and I live with it and don’t even think about it on most days.

The heart, though, is a very important organ both for physical and mental survival.  I know that it needs exercise to keep it strong.  I’m not what I would consider an “athlete” or a champion martial artist, but I can tell you this. Every year, I receive an excellent bill of overall health when I go to the doctor.  My blood work shows all of the positive benefits of exercise, and I know for a fact without practicing the physical and mental aspects of martial arts, I would not be in as good health as I am.

Practicing a martial art strengthened my heart in more ways than one.  Through my learning and my teaching, I’ve experienced what it means to be humble and to have a healthy appreciation and love for others.  This is the kind of “heart health” that everyone needs.

Exercise, be happy, and do what you love.  It will improve your heart health in more ways than one.

Heart and mind health, along with the physical, have helped me overcome so many devastating barriers. Too many times in life I could have given up.  I could have lost my house and my child.  I was explicitly told that I would lose both, controlled by both a bank to which I owed a loan, and a doctor who believed my pregnancy was over.  If I had not increased my owner personal awareness and fortitude through learning a martial art, I may have believed them.  I may have walked away from years of effort building a house, and abandoned hope of carrying the child whom I can proudly say is fourteen years old today and completely healthy.

I would not have fought nearly as hard through any of life’s obstacles if I did not trust and believe in persistence.  The only way I knew that I could get through these difficult moments was because of the perseverance and dedication I used to earn my black belt.  My black belt is a daily reminder of personal success.  It means nothing to other people. Someone asked me the other day, “can anyone just buy one of those belts?” and  I knew after the words rolled off his tongue that he was right.  Anyone can find a way to buy a black belt.

No one realizes the difficulties and circumstances that surround earning a black belt except those who have earned one. To others, a belt is a belt is a belt; a piece of cloth, an accessory.  I don’t care what it means to anyone else.  There were years of effort behind it and the appropriate life lesson is that if we all put that amount of effort and dedication behind all good things, we could make a huge impact on our world.

I believe that a positive mindset will allow you to live a fuller, more passionate life. When you can flip the negative into the positive, you’ve performed magic.  And, with magic, you can do just about anything, including cultivating an invincible physical and mental strength that can be summoned when you need it.

I’m not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m still working on learning a martial art and getting better at it, teaching, and sharing what I know.  All of this process, combined, has given me an amazingly healthy and positive mind and body.  I don’t cringe when I go to the doctor for a check-up.  In fact, I look forward to it because I want to be reminded that all of these physical and mental work-outs pay off.

Because of martial arts, I am the person I want to be. It takes work, though.  And, life circumstances and who I am as a person always seem juxtaposed.  Always facing dilemmas, issues, and struggles, martial arts has given me one way to continue in a forward moving pattern, to set my own worries and fears aside and also do my best to help others.

Martial arts saved me.  I know that my life would be drastically different today.  I would have never known what it means to make the most of life, or how great it feels to motivate and inspire others, if not for martial arts.

The next step?  I think I will just continue on and see what happens next…


Wow! Beautifully written. Thank you, Andrea, for sharing this article with us!

I strongly encourage readers to visit THE MARTIAL ARTS WOMAN . And please visit it often. Her writing has such a great personal touch to it.

Check out Andrea’s other articles WARRIOR WANNABE  I WANT TO FIGHT and I AM A POWERFUL WOMAN

1 comment:

  1. Martial arts is a very good exercise plus a great practice to protect yourself. I would recommend it to every girl in order to protect herself.


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