warfare has long since eclipsed the need for martial
arts. Roundhouse comparison to the
destructive power of Abrams heavy tanks, B2 bombers, and
Tomahawk cruise missiles. But the principles
behind martial arts still offer many benefits on a
personal and group level. While theoretical
physical, mental, and spiritual concepts and teaching
play an important role within human life, spiritual
liberality in actual hands-on training enables
partners to exchange martial techniques and concepts
without apprehension or intimidation, knowing that as we
better those around us we are bettering ourselves.
These ideas are hard to learn out of a textbook.
the dawn of recorded history, the martial arts
principles of honor, respect, and free idea exchange has
formed the bedrock of free civilizations and served as
insurance against tyranny. Honor is simply the
trust that the person you are dealing with will back
their word. In a perfect world there would be no
need for lawyers or contracts because everyone would act
honorably. However, since this is clearly not the
case it shows the need for martial arts-based
instruction to promote and keep alive the idea of honor.
Respect is simply allowing another person to have their
own ideas without trying to change them by physical
force or might of arms. Martial arts training
actually teaches people to NOT use force to change the
behavior of others and instead of fosters tolerance and
patience. When we train, we allow our training
partners to operate how they want. Although we do
offer suggestions it is their ultimate choice how they
build their "game."
respect during training builds a mutual camaraderie
between members of an academy or dojo. This is
because if I make someone better, then the people
I am training with will work to make me better as well.
In other words, the good I extend towards others will be
expended towards me in return. It is common in
martial arts to see people get a greater joy from the
success of others than from their own success. It
is a small step to transfer this principle from the dojo
to everything a person does in life.
there is an emphasis now on winning in the cage and
becoming a champion, a win-loss record is probably the
least important aspect of MMA training. While
these things are important as a test of skill and
effective functionality, they are very ephemeral in
nature and come and go like the wind. The
camaraderie and friendship that we build with others
during our training will be our true legacy. These
are the living achievements that will be transmitted
from generation to generation and never become,
stagnant, rusty or old.
Lee, arguably the most influential martial artist of our
age, never won an organized martial arts competition,
but yet his influence, built on friendship, honor and
trust, survives and flourishes to this day.
same benefits that a champion gets from their training,
is the exact same benefits that someone who never
competes will also get. Training is an end unto
itself and is independent of any external rewards.
recently had a training session at my dojo in Pensacola,
Florida with Carlos Machado, Quinton Jackson, and his
manager Juanito. We all had the opportunity to
roll, hit the pads and bags, and share our concepts and
ideas of the martial arts. When we were done, we
had built up a far stronger connection than had we just
had a business lunch at a fancy restaurant. The
spirit of camaraderie and agreement permeated the gym
and was punctuated by laughter and jokes. My wife,
Dr. Robin, in observing our antics, made an observation
which I'll paraphrase and which sums up the essence of
martial arts training: "The character formed in us can
be transferred through us. Since everyone is
transmitting the best part of their character in
training, everyone is getting elevated by everyone
else." I couldn't have said it better myself.