Character development – building the ability to handle life challenges when they come at you like storm troopers ready to overwhelm you.
All of us have had the experience of feeling completely overwhelmed by things and people in our lives. And many of us have not handled that feeling very well. We may have said or done things that weren’t right and hurt others. Along with those kinds of responses comes guilt.
When that happens, guilt is a normal, natural feeling.
What happens next is often not good. Even if we face those we hurt, apologize, and ask forgiveness, we may not forgive ourselves. We may focus on what happened, what we did, and add to our stress. We may also focus on what may occur in the future because of what we did.
All of this kind of thinking leads to increased stress.
The character development that comes from studying and practicing martial arts can help you build the skills you need to combat this stress and change your focus. Worries and concerns hit us throughout life. Staying focused on them increases the impact they have on your life. Martial arts training helps you learn to focus on now, the only time you really have.
How do you learn this focus?
Through consistently putting out the hard work needed to learn any martial art form. And by adopting the “growth” mindset. This growth mindset is very much like the Chinese phrase kung fu, which basically means “a skill cultivated through long and hard work”.
The opposite of the growth mindset is the “fixed” mindset. Believing in the fixed mindset simply means you either have the skill or ability or you don’t. Learning and practicing are not needed; and neither will they help you acquire the skill or ability.
This fixed mindset requires you to be continually praised and to see failure as a personal characteristic. On the other hand, if you have the growth mindset, you are more resilient, more able to take failure as a learning experience, and more likely to continue improving.
Adopting the growth mindset aids you in character development. And character development brings with it the ability to face uncertainties and challenges when they flood your life threatening to be more than you can possibly handle.
Character development is an essential aspect of martial arts. It is much the same as yeast is to making bread. Without character development, practicing the martial arts would be the same as practicing any sport. This focus on character development is what leads to students being trusted to learn the dangerous skills in martial arts and to use them only as a last resort.
Just as learning the moves, blocks, and other skills of martial arts is a lifelong pursuit, so is the development of your character. As you learn to focus and concentrate, two skills necessary for success in martial arts, you begin to understand how to manage energy and emotions.
Rather than allowing emotions to rule your responses to things in your life, you become better able to use that same focus and concentration to bring calm to your responses. And the more calm you can remain in the face of challenges, whatever their origin, the better you can handle them.
You become better able to influence the behavior of those around you, also. You become a positive role model for others.
This is why we study and practice martial arts.
Shifu Ahles is highly trained with over 30 years of experience in martial arts. He stands ready to help you reach the character development you need in life. Call or contact him today.”