As a martial artist we spend a great proportion of our lives putting our bodies as well as our minds into uncomfortable situations and positions.
Take my favourite exercise for example, the low horse stance (those who know me will not be surprised!). It’s the perfect example of physical discomfort and stress.
It takes strength, flexibility, as well as a determination and fortitude of mind to make yourself stay in that position for a prolonged period of time.
Your martial arts training should be tough and it should develop a strength of character that extends beyond the walls of the training hall.
If you are not tested, challenged, humbled, and pushed further than you think you can go, how are you going to develop in your chosen art?
More importantly, how are you going to use your training to develop the strength of character to deal with unpredictable events and situations that life throws your way if you are not training with such a mindset.
An instructor over the years hears a myriad of reasons for why something isn’t being done correctly – too hot, not warmed up, too tired, floor is an uneven surface, the clothing isn’t right, too cold, slippery floor…the list goes on.
What do I say to all of that?
I’m glad the situation isn’t perfect. I’m happy for you it is uncomfortable, challenging, and hard. It should be.
Your training hall is a microcosm of life, it’s imperfect. You are not supposed to be comfortable. How are you going to develop real resilience and strength without developing the determination to get through whatever that lesson is throwing at you?
I’m not just talking about hard physical training either. It’s equally relevant for someone pushing out of their 50th press up, as it is for another student whose particular challenge might be balancing on one leg for 20 seconds without wobbling too much – our challenges are unique to us.
Kung Fu Beats Coronavirus
In addition to washing your hands and social distancing, Boris Johnson should be telling everyone to take up martial arts. (Online, of course!)
After years of struggle to improve and develop our own physical and mental abilities in our Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Kickboxing classes, we should be more equipped to deal with the challenges that life is throwing at us now.
Sure, it’s great learning forms, and techniques, sparring and grappling every week, relaxing with qigong and meditation, swinging weapons around…but what’s it all for?
I can tell you now, it’s for NOW.
It’s for being calm in a time of crisis, it’s about having the wisdom to look after yourself, and follow up with this by eating well, sleeping early, staying healthy, boosting your immune system. It’s about giving you the humility to go and check that your neighbours are okay. Being kind and not cramming your kitchen cupboards full of food and medicine that will end up being wasted anyway. Not being selfish by ignoring the best advice and going about your day as if nothing is happening, potentially spreading the virus to others.
A true martial artist should set an example for others in all of these areas. I know my students will be and that is why I am so proud of the community that we have developed over the years.
And that is how Kung Fu beats Coronavirus.