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  • Writer's picturePSBN David

Why you should consider Martial Arts

Now, I’m going to go against common sense and not try to just pitch why you should join Kuk Sool Won specifically. That can come in a later blog!

Martial Arts can be seen as a very “Eastern” or foreign thing in the Western world, and this can intimidate people. However, Martial Arts have also seen the effects of globalization. Western influences have come into the East, just as Eastern influences have come to the West. Martial Arts have modernized and fit quite nicely into our daily lives.

Let’s start with the very basic question: what is a martial art, at its core?

It’s a study of the body. It’s studying how your body moves and how you can train it to move differently, more efficiently, better. It’s also a study of how you can affect the bodies of others, most commonly by exploiting weaknesses in human physiology (though there are often aspects where you go into healing later on).

So how do people accomplish this? I like to split martial arts into two categories: Traditional, and Self Defense. I won’t talk too much about Self Defense here (as that’s a topic for another post), but I will try to contrast the two.

Martial Arts vs. Self Defence: What's the difference?

Traditional arts are what you probably imagine when you think of martial arts cinema: Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and those terrible old kung-fu movies. They can vary in intensity (i.e. violence), but you can see the underlying skill and practice. It’s a methodical study of the art that gives rise to the skills.

Self Defense styles are more military or competitive in nature. It’s not so much about the finesse, it’s about making the technique simple enough to do in a high-pressure situation. This is true for an MMA match just the same as in being attacked at night. You build these into your muscles so they can act even when your brain can’t. When adrenaline goes up, your fine motor skills are one of the first things out the window, so self defense styles train with larger motions and attacks. As you get more training, you can add or hone in more complex movements, but it’s always building off of a solid foundation of a small number of moves that work.

Now here’s the trick: at a certain point, the two start to meld. “There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.” As you train in a traditional art, you practice over and over, getting every detail as correct as you can. A White Belt doing the technique will look totally different than a Black Belt doing the same technique. As KJN McCondach likes to say: “If you train at 90%: if you have to ever use the technique, you’ll only get it 70% correct, but it will still work. If you only train at 70%, you’ll get it 50% correct and now it WON’T work.” That’s why it’s so important to train correctly. This also hints towards the concept above: in a high-stress situation, you won’t be moving perfectly. Now compare this to a Self Defense style: you are still training with the same end goal in mind, but from the opposite end. Instead of starting with the details in a slower-moving environment, you’re starting with large motions in a fast environment. You’ll still encounter the same issues, though. If you move too quickly, too largely, you can miss important details which will make the technique work. Take all of this with a grain of salt. Of course, there are exceptions on both sides where this won’t apply. A shin kick is going to be pretty much identical on both sides of the coin.

But of course, I still haven’t answered my original question: why should you consider Martial Arts?

Over the course of my Martial Arts career, I’ve noticed most people have a very flawed vision of what martial arts truly are. It’s either the mystic kung-fu master, or it’s a room full of (usually) guys beating on each other. This is a spectrum, though. You can definitely find either one of those if that’s what you’re looking for. But there are also many schools out there where you can find an instructor who focuses on the fitness and health aspects, stretching and meditation, study of body motions. Suddenly, Martial Arts can be more akin to taking a dance class, a yoga class, a cardio class. Oftentimes, you’ll find a school that combines all of these aspects.

Martial Arts are just that: Arts. It’s not just a Monet compared to a Van Gogh compared to a Banksy. It’s also including sculptures, carvings, performances, and every other art. Martial arts is a blanket term for a whole world of schools. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it in Martial Arts.

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