I started my training in the Adult class at Maryland Martial Arts in 2008 and it has taken me down this amazing journey of self awareness and self discipline. I have noticed that Martial Arts has encompassed my entire life. I am not only a Martial Artist, but I am a portrait artist too. My portraits are called "Pointed Portraits" are done one dot at a time using a style called Pointillism. You might be asking yourself, "how does this relate to martial arts?" Well, it's pretty simple. Focus, Confidence and Discipline.
Let me explain further:
Focus - Believe it or not, anyone can draw a portrait, with enough focus. Think about your Kata as a portrait. It takes many steps to get to the end of the Kata, and you don't learn it all at once. The entire Kata consists of many intricate pieces and you must focus on each one individually until it forms a larger piece. Portraits work the same way, especially Pointed Portraits. With practice and focus, your portraits will get better and better, just like mine did. The same goes for Martial Arts.
Confidence - As I said before, anyone can draw a portrait, but most people say, "Oh no, I am horrible at drawing." Well, you're not. Think about something you are great at. Were you always great at that or did you have to work at it to become great? Did you learn to walk before you were crawling? The truth is, I was embarrassed of my portraits at first. I didn't think they were good enough to show anyone else, but after practice, practice, practice, everyone wants one of my portraits. The more you work hard at something, the more confident you will become. This is something that I've always known, but now I truly feel it. Martial Arts has greatly improved my confidence and it shows through my portraits.
Discipline - Discipline is not something that comes naturally to all, but don't worry, as your focus and confidence builds, so does your self-discipline. Just look at our black belt students! When it comes to pointed portraits, discipline is extremely important. First of all, how could I do anything if I wasn't healthy? If I was unhealthy, then I wouldn't be able to do the things that I love doing including portraits. I was pretty healthy when I first started Martial Arts, but I'm even more healthy now, and Martial Arts is what gave me that kick to improve my health. As for portraits - they are a long process. Some of my portraits take over 100 hours!!! I must have discipline to finish each and every one.
So what's the point? The point is, Martial Arts isn't just about punching and kicking. Both Kids and Adults alike learn many important life lessons training at Maryland Martial Arts. It doesn't matter if you're 5 years old or 50 years old. Training at Maryland Martial Arts will improve your life as it has mine.
How has Maryland Martial Arts helped you? Please comment below!
~ Sempai Greg
_ Wow! Saturday’s ceremony was one of our biggest and best belt promotions ever! It is great to see so many students working hard and making so much progress. The outstanding techniques, sparring, and board breaking reflected the focus and dedication that our students have put into their training.
We started using more challenging boards for the board breaking portion of the test, in an effort to challenge our students even more. I am extremely proud to write that even though many of the breaks required numerous attempts, all of the students that broke boards were ultimately successful in doing so, never giving up until their goal had been achieved. These students were completely undeterred if the board didn’t break on the first 5 tries, realizing that each kick or strike had the potential to be the one.
It really is amazing to see what our youth students have accomplished at such a young age. Two of Maryland Martial Arts’ first youth Black Belts achieved progress stars towards their 2nd degree Black Belts. We have been very fortunate that so many of our first students worked so hard to develop their skills to such a high level, which has set the bar extremely high for all the new students coming in, and those new students seem more than up to the challenge. No matter how advanced they become, the senior students maintain and attitude of modesty and respect, always willing to help others reach the next level.
If our students were just a wonderful group of kind and compassionate people (as we discussed in last week’s blog) that would be pretty great. However, make no mistake about it, our students possess some serious skills. Watching two students spar, giving 100% effort to gaining an advantageous position, yet with no animosity towards their partner, (on the contrary) pushing their partners to reach the next level, is really something special to watch.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a part of such a great martial arts family.
Several of our adult students were also promoted to their next levels, and their techniques were equally impressive. It was hilarious and fun to listen to the youth students call out techniques and tips while our talented adult students demonstrated some stellar sparring. Our adult program has grown rapidly over the past several months, showing that any age is a great age to begin martial arts.
Finally, I want to give a big congrats to Sensei Ines on earning her Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blue belt. As you know, Sensei Ines has already achieved Black Belt levels in Kung Fu and San Shou. To be able to start over as a white belt, in an art that she decided would complement the skills she already possessed, reflects a deep understanding of the martial arts and humility that makes her such a great instructor. A blue belt takes a long time to earn in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and, in my opinion, reflects a level of skill and training that is actually higher than Black Belt in most other styles of martial arts. She has worked extremely hard in preparation for her Blue Belt test, all while studying hard during her final semester of law school. We are all very proud of you, Sensei Ines!
_The other day a mother called me inquiring about lessons for her son. She asked me the question, “Why should I enroll my son at YOUR school?” That is a very good question and I believe that everyone asks him/herself some form of that question before beginning the martial arts. However, I had never had anyone ask me so directly before, so I was a bit surprised. I explained that I felt the real strengths of our dojo (martial arts school) were the carefully organized curriculum and lesson plans, designed to help the students learn and grow as efficiently as possible, while ensuring that the student is always learning something new, and the experienced instructor staff. We have recently brought on several new instructors, and all of them have had a huge positive impact on our school and we are very excited to have them here. Sempai Nan, Mr. Tucker, and Mr. Casey are all talented martial artists and dynamic and effective instructors.
However, I’ve been thinking a lot about that question (“Why should I enroll my son?”) since then, and I think I would give a slightly different answer now. I believe there are many, many reasons why people of all ages should study martial arts. Training to kick a bag or block an attack at a precise time has profound effects on the students’ ability to focus. Learning how to defend one’s self and even how to fall properly can save a person from serious harm. As students make progress through the ranks, they learn the value of goal-setting, and they start to realize that with hard work, dreams that once seemed impossible become very realistic goals.
_There are many reasons to study the martial arts, and if I listed all of them this blog entry would be as long as War and Peace.
Nevertheless, if I had to give just one reason why someone should study at our school, it would be this:
When we ask the students to partner up, and a student is having trouble finding a group to work with, either because they are new to the class, arrived late, or simply can’t find any more people without partners, several students will always go up to them and say something like, “We would like for you to work with us.”
When I have children, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather have them than at a place where everyone understands the meanings of teamwork, respect, and compassion. I think that kind of attitude is rare to see at any age, but amongst our youth students I find it particularly moving.
When evaluating a martial arts school, I think there is a real tendency to want to judge said school based on the instructors. Do the instructors care about their students? Are they capable martial artists, and perhaps more importantly, can they effectively pass those benefits on to their students?
However, I think an equally important question to ask when evaluating a martial arts school should be: What are the other students like? What are their attitudes toward their classmates?
In that regard, it’s very easy to see why so many people start and continue to train at Maryland Martial Arts: We have amazing students. If you don’t believe me, watch closely the next time we ask the students to partner up.