Martial arts training provides an amazing journey on how to grow and develop as a person.
It tests our very fiber and teaches us important lessons about ourselves that are unavailable any other way.
Here are 8 core qualities we strive to embody as martial artists:
Self-discipline the is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. Being responsible and accountable to yourself are bedrock principles of martial arts training. Without discipline, overcoming the status quo of our lives isn’t possible. We make the time and do what it takes to accomplish our goals. We don’t let excuses get in our way and vanquish distractions that get in our way trying to stop us from achieving what we want most for ourselves.
“The first and best victory is to conquer self.”— Plato
Perseverance is your steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. It’s a steady course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles or moments of discouragement. You never give up. Throughout your training, you will start to understand that you will have ups and downs and sometimes you will wonder if the sacrifices you’re making to continue your training are worth it. You will be challenged, pushed, and stretched past your self-imposed limits. You will learn anything is possible with the proper mindset and desire to do so.
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. As a martial artist, you learn to uphold ethical principles with a soundness of moral character and strive to become a person of honor. A person with integrity is someone who acts honestly and does what they say they’re going to do.
“Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.”
— Maria Razumich-Zec
Decisiveness is having the power or quality of deciding; putting an end to controversy; crucial or most important. Acting with swift and deliberate purpose while displaying little to no hesitation is an important trait to acquire. Whether in the boardroom or in a self-defense situation, being decisive has merit.
“He who hesitates meditates horizontally.” –Ed Parker
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. This is something we all need and want, but few achieve. You must frequently and regularly work hard to achieve your goals and understanding that simply showing up is not enough. Becoming a proficient martial artist takes time and can’t happen overnight.
“Be like the spider who weaves its intricate web then waits for its food knowing in time, it will come. It’s very survival depends on patience.” – Unknown
Spirit is what drives a martial artist and is a key ingredient to their mastery of the martial arts. Spirit is the fuel that drives a martial artist’s technique. You see it in their eyes and in their action. And, it is very easy to see when someone has it and when they don’t. When watching a seasoned black belt execute a technique, words can’t even begin to explain the grace, power, and fluidity of their movements. However, what most people think is just good form is really their ability to harness and channel their martial spirit. Developing the mind, body and spirit is of great importance of every martial artist. Without spirit, the martial artist’s techniques would be lifeless and far less effective. There must be intent behind ones actions.
“Sword and mind must be united. Technique by itself is insufficient, and spirit alone is not enough.”- Yamada Jirokichi
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Life is full of challenges and things don’t always go as planned so being able to overcome them with courage and patience is key to our training. When things don’t always go according to plan, it is resilience that will help you to focus and keep motivated to push ahead. We must remain flexible and adaptable in our lives as well as in our training. Having motivation, direction and purpose will help you to dig deep when necessary to overcome challenges.
“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bern Williams
Balance is the condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Finding balance through the martial arts is important. By finding balance in your actions and thoughts, you develop harmony in your life. Extremes do exist and are easy to reach. You should absolutely go to the extremes in your training. However, it’s wise not to stay there for any great length of time as it can take away from your inner balance.
“You are a weapon. Stay sharp and seek balance.” – Colin Wright
These qualities are attainable and can be enhanced in time with the proper instruction. Of great importance is to know that these qualities are not to be learned and perfected only in the studio. Rather, they should be carried into the world with you, everywhere you go.
So, I’d like to know your thoughts on the subject. What other qualities would you add to this list?