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How Martial Arts Help Develop Greater Self-Discipline

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

While practicing martial arts is an excellent way to improve your physical health & learn self-defence, another of its greatest advantages is its ability to help develop self-discipline skills. This is why it is one our key skills within the Beginners programme, discussed in class & expanded upon in the workbook, & why it is also one of Tang Soo Do's Eight Key Concepts (comment at the end if you know which one?). The ability to maintain control over thoughts, emotions and, therefore, responses is of tremendous value, both personally & professionally. It is the foundation for forming a healthy sense of self. Here are three ways that, we believe, martial arts can help promote self-discipline:  Students establish realistic goals Living a disciplined life entails living life according to a set of guiding principles. This is not learned overnight, beginning with your parents, through school & onto employment. In martial arts, your motivation will often include achievement of higher ranks. However, whilst you may set the goal of becoming a Black Belt/Master/etc, you do not aim for the highest rank immediately; rather students will set smaller, more attainable goals - the next belt level; the ability to do a single/10 proper push ups/learning a complex Hyung (Form)/etc. In order to achieve these goals, they must establish a set routine for growth - attending classes, working hard, learning the syllabus, attending Graduations, etc. Success depends on control The art behind martial arts is its reliance on self-control (another of our key skills in the Beginners Programme). While the focus of martial arts isn't on dominance or gaining control of a weaker opponent, it is on centring your body in a fully controlled manner - it should take strategy just as much as strength; knowing how & when to respond in order to achieve your desired outcome. You will have heard us talk of the need to continuously stay aware of surroundings and respond accordingly. Rules are there to be followed Kyo Sa Nim Miss Nelson's motto is 'rules make the fun fun' & whilst this is said with a wry smile on her face, the martial arts rely on following certain established rules & protocols. Being able to follow rules, even if those rules aren't something you agree with or helped to establish, is key to self-discipline. For example, students are taught that when the Instructor says something, the appropriate response is, 'Yes, sir/maam.' A good martial arts Instructor doesn't put up with disrespect or people who refuse to follow the Do Jang rules, so people quickly learn the importance of adhering to rules. When you set out to learn martial arts, your Instructor will guide you through the process step-by-step - you're not expected to know everything on day 1. It is through this incremental goal setting that success is attained, both in martial arts & in life itself. The discipline required to achieve small goals is imperative to your growth. What say you team? 

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