A few issues back in our Hastings Journal, I shared with you how the martial arts of Tai Chi and Chi Gong are most helpful in gaining a better sense of balance, which in turn is helpful in avoiding …
A few issues back in our Hastings Journal, I shared with you how the martial arts of Tai Chi and Chi Gong are most helpful in gaining a better sense of balance, which in turn is helpful in avoiding falls and resulting injuries.
Tai Chi and Chi Gong have been called the “soft martial arts” because we don’t see the kicking, or punching moves that people often think of when the term “martial art” is applied. Tai Chi and Chi Gong have “softer” movements that seem to flow and appear to have a slow motion pace, but when practiced, we find that both of these martial arts not only challenge balance, but with the high and low, wide and narrow controlled forms of both Tai Chi and Chi Gong, there’s a pretty good workout involved in those patterns as well!
There really are several different types of martial arts. For example, there is Tae Kwon Do, originating in Korea, Karate, originating in Japan, and Kung Fu, which originated in China, along with Tai Chi and Chi Gong.
Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Kung Fu do incorporate the striking and kicking movements, and when performed at higher levels of the disciplines can be quite amazing to behold due to the strength and agility required to perform some exercises. But let’s dig a bit deeper into what all of these martial arts have in common besides the amazing feats of skill involved.
Any martial art requires discipline, patience, practice, and respect. Ask anyone who has obtained the awe-inspiring “black belt” or beyond, and they will tell you this was not an overnight achievement. There were many, many classes and many, many hours of practice needed to get to reaching landmark levels of skill along the way.
Even though there are “competitions” of skills in martial arts, the greatest competition is within the student, and the willingness of a student to “stick with the program” long enough to start to see improvements both physically and mentally. There will always be other students who are levels above or below where any given participant is “at”, but what’s important is to concentrate in the “here and now” of any given movement in any given setting. Careful preparation is necessary to be aware of one’s surroundings, an opponent, and what will be required to perform optimally.
There is also the discipline of the “dojo” or studio where some of the martial arts are practiced. Respect if required for the instructor, the dojo or studio, and fellow classmates. There is an honor to self-regulation and behavior in martial arts, and acting honorably is expected. Some practitioners of the martial arts may say that the respect and self-respect that was learned from studying and practicing the various disciplines was the greatest lesson of all. Also gaining a sense of accomplishment while learning new skills is another plus of participating in martial arts training.
Physically, agility, speed, strength, balance, and endurance are some of the benefits of participating in martial art study and practice. Mentally, concentration becomes sharp, and a greater sense of situational awareness develops. Martial art practice can help us become more disciplined in other areas of our lives, such as developing habits geared toward taking better care of ourselves and our loved ones.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of the martial arts discussed in this article, I would most certainly suggest checking into instructors and schools in our area. Chatting with an instructor or observing a class or practice is a terrific way to see if this type of study would be a good match for you. Martial arts practice has something to offer almost anyone, truly in any type of physical condition. If you have health or safety concerns, a knowledgeable instructor will be able to advise you and answer your questions. As the saying goes, “The longest journey begins with the first step.”. If your “first step” leads you to taking up a martial art practice, then I wish you a fruitful journey ahead! Cheers and be well.