Why would you study martial arts today? Well, first and foremost, I would say obviously to defend yourself. I’ve heard people say that you don’t need regular martial arts today because it’s not a hand-to-hand world anymore, it’ guns, knives, bombs, airplanes, and drones.
I disagree. In my life I’ve definitely been in a handful of actual physical confrontations where martial arts has come in handy. I haven’t won them all, but each one made me realize I need to expand my repertoire to other things. I haven’t lost them all either. I’ve had a knife pulled on me twice. I’ve had to defend my own doorway with a knife one time. I definitely feel that they have a relevant place as far as hand-to-hand combat goes.
Beyond that, I study martial arts for what I refer to as “complete self-defense.” So meaning to defend myself, not just against another person, but to defend myself against what happens to our bodies with old age. To defend myself against an unhealthy lifestyle, to defend myself against laziness, to defend myself against stress, to defend myself against the urge to quit. To me it’s about all those things. Because one thing martial arts does for you, if you’re with the right group of people and in the right mindset, is it keeps you healthy. It keeps you healthy physically if you’re with the right group of people. It keeps you healthy mentally because it gives you something to push for and strive for. It obviously helps you defend yourself.
A beginning martial artist, what should they focus? A beginning martial artist should focus on the basics. No matter what art it is if you don’t have the basics and fundamentals everything else is going to collapse. I feel that you need to work on listening to your instructors, truly listening to them, not just letting them talk and you’re letting them to finish and then you go try to do whatever and not know what you’re doing and then try to fake it. You see that happen all the time.
Be consistent even when it’s not convenient. You see this a lot. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they didn’t come in the class because they needed to mow the lawn. That grass will be there tomorrow. Consistency is what pushes you forward. You may not have the greatest day today and the greatest day tomorrow, but if you’re consistent there are still things that you’re learning in those processes. If you’re hit and miss then you’re going to have the results of someone who’s hit or miss. That’s all there is to it. Be consistent even when it’s not convenient. Consistent, by nature, takes out convenience.
I will say also, train for longevity. Especially in the beginning, beginners want to hit everything as hard as they can. They want to use as much muscle as possible. They do what I call squeezing for no reason. They just get ahold of you and just squeeze to hold on because they don’t know what else to do yet. Their strength ratio and their technique ratio or not proportional. The more technique you get the less strength you need.
I’d say those are the big ones: learn the basics, listen to your instructors, and be consistent even when it’s not convenient, and train for longevity. For advanced students or long term martial artists, I would say the things to focus on would be the exact same things as a beginner. Those are the things, most likely, that got you to be an advanced experience martial artist so why would you stray from that? That’s what propels you forward, that’s why beginners forcus on it, because it propels you forward.