This article has been written to shed light on the multitude of other life enhancing benefits martial arts and, in this case, karate has on any individual who commits themselves to training.
Translated from Japanese to English Karate-Do means “the way of the empty hand”.
The important word here is ‘way’.
The Japanese believe that training in or following ‘the way’ can lead one to a more enlightened state.
This is not necessarily a religious meaning either but rather an overarching philosophy of self-improvement.
The rigors of training over many years teaches students many lessons that are transferrable to everyday life. Lessons that can help them become better parents, children, friends, workers, leaders, athletes and so on. The following is a list of benefits attained through karate training and how they can be used in everyday life for anyone of any age.
Discipline / Self Discipline:
Traditional karate has a deep respect for maintaining discipline. In the dojo (training hall) there are many rules and traditions that students need to follow. There is an expectation of following the order of things to maintain harmony and encourage progress through following the rules step by step. Stepping outside the dojo rules can bring consequences for the student which they will either take on board or not and this will determine their success in their endeavour of the art.
The aspect of self-discipline is trained over many years and becomes habit. Training when you don’t feel like it, ironing your uniform before every class, preparing all your equipment before class, being on time, practicing in your own time. These are all things the student must do on their own without being told in order to be successful in karate.
Combining the two aspects of discipline in training and transferring them into everyday life is very powerful. Learning to follow rules and follow a certain path to ensure success is important. Doing the necessary things in life without being told to do them makes for an independent and capable individual.
Focus / Concentration
In order for a student to master the techniques of karate it takes years and years of committed focus and concentration. Not only concentration on their instructor but concentration and focus on their own body. It forces the student to go inside their own mind, to think about what they are doing, their relationship to their own body grows and they can begin to see and feel improvement.
We know these days with the likes of social media that peoples concentration spans are much shorter than they used to be. Developing the ability to focus and hold your mind on a certain task for a long period of time is a valuable skill and one that employers and leaders will look for.
Fitness / Health
There is no doubt that karate training in the traditional sense promotes a healthy body, mind and spirit. The link between the mind and body and health has long been known by ancient people. Karate, which developed from ancient times has certain exercises that promote oxygen intake, breath control, cardiovascular exercise, and muscle conditioning, strengthening, and stretching. All these exercises not only help the practitioner with their karate but enable them to lead a healthier lifestyle and promote longevity.
These are just some of the many benefits karate practitioners enjoy every day. There is a reason why karate has become so popular and is practiced in nearly every country on earth. It has timeless principles of self defence combined with exceptional health promoting exercises which make it beneficial for anyone of any age.
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