Why do You Practice in the Martial Arts?

Zenjael

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I began in ballet, and martial arts at about the same time. Left ballet way behind when I turned 5. I mostly got into martial arts because of military parents, bullying problems where I was the victim, and a love of the power rangers. It was about 1994 when I began formal instruction in TKD, even if at a Mcdojo.

two decades later (Many schools later, kwans, and styles) I practice so I can improve myself, gain greater harmony between myself, my actions, and others, to stay in shape, and for spiritual reasons. I guess I'm one of the cliches who does look for, and find deeper meaning in the martial arts. But I think you could do the same for anything creative, I just think MA offers a different way to do so which works best for me. Like they say, if it makes you happy...
 

oaktree

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Sometimes my ridiculously good looks,
Sparkling personality are not enough to impress
The ladies. But my manly martial art of taijiquan helps
out in those difficult encounters.
 

kungfu penguin

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i grew up with a lot of hate this was an outlet to calm my temper and just be myself went to a lot of dojos did a lt of cool things and now i have found a home where i hope to be for a long time. in a sense it like a church to me i exercise the demons out of me when ever i go and train it calms me down to prepare for another day in this hell hole we call life--tom
 

francium

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I started because I was done with dance and needed serious cardio and discipline back in my life. I'm still at it (six months later, that is), because my plan worked and I love every minute of training, sparring, and learning. I'd move into the dojo, if I could.
 

seasoned

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Many years ago it was to learn how to fight better. Now, as I look back, I have learned and teach how to avoid it.
 

wingchun100

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I started learning because I was bullied a lot in school, but over time I like how it has changed who I am. I am able to apply lessons from martial arts into everyday life, and it gives me a unique perspective on things compared to people around me who AREN'T into it. Not only that, but I focus heavily on the "art" half of the term "martial art." Long before I got into wing chun, I was into writing and playing guitar for the purpose of self-expression. To me, wing chun is an extension of that.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I apologize if there is anything like this already existing in the forum but I have not seen anything of the sort.

I've been introspecting more than usual lately and came to the realization that I don't really know why I strive to better my fighting as much as I do. I know I take great enjoyment from it but I still don't know the answer to that. I figure that it doesn't really matter right now and the answer will come in due time and at the right moment.

This thought provoked a deep curiosity in me, though. Why do you all practice martial arts? Why did you start and why do you continue it? I'm interested in your story, as I'm sure many others are.

Good to see this thread, although it is from 2012.

Why do I practice martial arts? Good question. The reasons have changed over time. Initially it was to lose weight, gain some kind of physical conditioning or strength, and to learn some self-defense.

Now, I train to train. I don't have a reason anymore. I am simply on the path. No idea where it leads, and no concern about not knowing.

When I started training, I was all about learning technique and trying to apply it properly. I liked to do it, I liked to talk about it. I recorded my kata and played it back to try to see where I could improve, I shared it with others and asked for criticism.

I went to tournaments and seminars. Not a lot, and I wasn't a kid when I started training, so it was only as I had time, money, and desire to go.

Over time, I began to worry less about seeing everything and experiencing everything. I don't know why. No deep significant reason, it just happened.

I also joined a lot of discussions on MT and on Facebook, tried to interact with other martial artists. I thought it was important to share techniques and explain them and have them explained to me. To demonstrate, to learn from others...

I thought of this art as 'good' and that art as 'bad' and this one as 'legitimate' and that one as 'phony' and I laughed about bad training and bad teachers and bad technique and generally felt good about myself because I was getting good training from good instructors in a real style...

Over time, I grew dissatisfied with that as well. I met a few 'first generation' students and watched how others interacted with them and tried to curry favor from them, played political games, traded on their presumed closeness to great martial artists, invested their egos into everything they did with regard to martial arts. And I realized that although I wasn't in a position to do those kinds of things, I wasn't immune to the call of ego either. I stopped pretty dead in my tracks. I quit all the FB discussion groups, and I stopped posting on MT twice; both times after allowing myself to be sucked into arguments where my ego drove me to prove the correctness of my point of view.

Now all I want to do is train. I do not know why I train, I just train. I don't know why techniques work or don't work, I don't know if your way or my way or any way is a better way, I only know that I need to train. I practice kata (not enough) because I have a strong feeling that it is the key to doors I have not yet even approached yet. I spend more time trying to tamp down my own ego, and failing with regularity, than nearly anything else.

I feel that my martial arts training is also a key to how I should live my life. I feel it builds character, strong, morally correct character. I feel it burns out the badness in my own being if I let it, it purifies as it burns.

I practice martial arts because I do not transcend, but I sense that true martial arts does transcend, and I like that. And by 'true' martial arts, I mean no specific style, technique, or master; I mean a true relationship with the heart or core of what the training is (undefinable). I hesitate to use words like 'budo' or 'warrior' because it is both more than that and at the same time, nothing like that. It is a calm mind and astonishing energy at the same time. Motion and no motion, mind and no mind. Yeah, it starts to descend into mushy poetry and symbolism, I can't seem to help that.

I have stopped trying to become anything. By training, I simply am, but I become without trying to become, and there is no final form of becoming until death brings training to a halt. And this is not to say that any of this grants me any advantage as a martial artist. My kata; still sloppy and ugly. My sparring still stiff and uncoordinated. Time and change produces flowers, but some flowers are prettier than others, it seems. Still, when one is on the path to becoming a flower, that is what one does, no matter what the final result may be.

It is, at last, a 'do' for me. Again, I hesitate to use the word, primarily because I have difficulty enduring never-ending arguments about what the word even means. Suffice to say that what I find myself doing is my interpretation and understanding of the word 'do'. A way. A Path. And for no reason other than for itself and because now I can do nothing else.
 

Koshiki

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No reason, really. It's just what I do.

I started Karate at 11 because my parents decided it would be a good thing for me. I was a physical kid, I liked play fighting, you know, makes sense, right?

I had. Zero. Interest. Zero. Less than zero. I distinctly remember my dad driving me to my first class, me desperately playing mind games to try to drag out the last few feet of road before the parking lot, anything to delay stepping into that class. I'm not even certain why I didn't want to, except that it wasn't something I particularly, well, wanted to do.

I think about five minutes into my first class I had decided that when I grew up, I wanted to be a martial arts instructor. From then on, it's been the most defining aspect of my life, the last thing I would give up, after music, after stability, after comfort, after everything but the people I love.

There's no deep reason. I mean, I like that it keeps me strong and fit, I like that it has made me move better in the rest of my daily life, I like that it's a long and twisted tradition, I like the culture, I like the people I've met, I especially like sparring, and I like knowing that it's a functional training, when the need arises.

I suppose you could say I do it because it's the one thing I really know much of anything about, it's the one thing I really have developed much skill at, it's the one thing I'm learning to do well.

But really none of those things are actually why I practice martial arts. I just do it because I enjoy it.

I like it.
 

Buka

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Because what the hell else am I going to do with all these gis?
 

Balrog

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I started twice. Looking back with the proverbial 20-20 hindsight, I know now that the first time was because I was bullied horribly throughout high school. I wish something had been available to me then; I wasn't able to start training until I started college.

I had a long layout, then started the second time because I remembered what good exercise it was, and I really needed it then. As I continued, Taekwondo grew on me and in me to the point where I can't see myself not doing it until I die. I love the constant challenge for self-improvement and I love being able to pass on my knowledge to others, especially kids. If I can stop even one kid from being bullied like I was, I will have accomplished something very worthwhile.
 

Buka

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I just reread this whole thread. You know what? It filled me with joy. That may sound corny, but it really did.
And people wonder why anyone would do Martial Arts. All I wonder is how people don't do Martial Arts.
 

wingchun100

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I just reread this whole thread. You know what? It filled me with joy. That may sound corny, but it really did.
And people wonder why anyone would do Martial Arts. All I wonder is how people don't do Martial Arts.

I remember telling people that I was into it when I first started, and people would say (with a look of disgust on their face), "Oh, so...you like to fight?"

Uh...NO. I like to defend myself.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Because what the hell else am I going to do with all these gis?
You, too? I have a bunch of them I can't use in my regular training (I chose to switch to black uniforms), so I only get to use them when I visit other schools. So I visit other schools.

They also make nice loungewear, but it seems odd to some of our houseguests. Maybe it's the fact that I can't help kicking on the light switches when I wear them.
 

donald1

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I practice martial arts cause I like learning forms. They have all sorts of techniques and movements. Its interesting seeing them all.

Also you cant leave weapons out! Cant forget them. Weapon forms and weapon sparring. I like weapon sparring. Especially that moment when you smack the weapon out of their hand. After that its go time!

Also the philosophy stuff too (I liked learning about philosophers like socrates, plato, ren矇 descartes, immanuel kant.. ect) but philosophy and martial arts?? IMO that seems like something entirely different. I dont' understand it and I get confused. However its a subject I plan to learn more of.
 
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