For me, Martial Arts is not just a hobby, it is a way of life. I started my training when I was eight years old, and it took me until I was a teenager to fully understand all that the Martial Arts has to offer. Yes, Martial Arts teaches you how to protect and defend yourself, but it also teaches you the focus and mindset to perform well in school, and how to set goals.
Believe it or not I am still in school, but I would not be without the Martial Arts. The discipline and determination we learn and utilize in the dojo has helped me stay focused with my studies. Think of studying for school like practicing your requirements. You do the move for numerous repetitions, but not every time is easy. There is struggle, frustration, and emotion involved, but you stick with it, and eventually learn the move and get your mark or stripe. Just think of those marks and stripes as the grades you get in school. You may not like the journey, but you like the end result.
Going back to earlier, the Martial Arts does indeed help you set goals. I had a goal when I first started training, and that goal was to earn my black belt. I earned my black belt back in December 2005, and later earned my second degree black belt in 2009. Those black belts however were in Kung Fu. I do hold a black belt here at Maryland Martial Arts, and my current goal is to obtain my second degree under Sensei Jon.
I have been working on this goal for almost two years now, and I am about at the halfway point. Learning many new moves every day is no easy task, but taking those moves and using them to build off other moves is three times as challenging. This is where the determination, focus, and patience come into play. You have to stay positive, and no matter how hard it gets just stick with it. If Martial Arts were easy everyone would have a black belt.
Think of the Martial Arts as your building a house. In the beginning you learn the skills you need to build the foundation, and over time you obtain the rest of the items to finish building the house. My house is not completely built yet, but it has been a very rewarding and fun process seeing it progress over the years. I hope everyone here at the dojo earns there black belts one day, as all of you are excellent Martial Artists. I learn the most from teaching all of you.