May 23, 2024

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Development of the Mind in the Martial Arts

Development of the Mind in the Martial Arts

As one enters a dojo, the expectation is to get in shape, learn self-defense, fighting skills and after years of study earn the coveted black belt. However, as martial art instructors we have an obligation to ourselves and our students to always develop the mind further. Some of the greatest lessons learned are outside of class time. When I was studying for black belt, the Master when class was over would sit at a desk with a chair and welcome students to just talk to him. At the beginning, students would only talk about martial arts. As time evolved, other topics of discussion would come up and the Master would offer advice or would recommend other places for answers. Students would also help other students. This led to an excellent exchange of ideas, problem solving and the development of the mind not just the physical body.

As a student, I have traveled and studied under many different instructors. These men and women do not have doctorates, law degrees or graduate from elite schools. What they had in common is that they were highly educated and very well read on many topics. One seminar was so fascinating that I felt like I was attending medical school. The instructor discussed the human anatomy and the strikes in his art in such detail one would though he was a practicing doctor. In another seminar, the instructor discussed the history and culture of the country with the development of certain weapons and the concepts it made the student wish to hop on a plane and experience it for themselves.

The question becomes what are you doing to further develop the mind?

Martial Art Instructors should always encourage students to read and further educate themselves.

Areas of study.

  • A book on basic human anatomy.
  • A book on the history of the country of the art you are studying.
  • Take lessons on a foreign language (Learn Japanese/Chinese)
  • Travel and visit a multitude of countries.
  • Fiction novels such as Shogun by James Clavell

The most important lesson is to get out of your comfort zone and further develop your mind and that of your students. Display some books in your office and encourage students to borrow them. Ask students of their experiences of travel and have them shared with the rest of the class. Never forget, the greatest teachers never stop learning.

About the author: Grandmaster Timothy Hollywood has been studying martial arts for over 39 years. He is a 7th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon do and holds black belts in other systems. He is a retired Captain from the New York City Police Department.

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