In the ancient traditions of martial arts, wisdom is hidden in how the body and mind can collaborate in harmony to gain control and overview in stressful situations. The many dozens disciplines and traditions were designed for the practitioner to act on behalf of the welfare of self and others while staying true to one’s authentic values and integrity.
In Japanese and Korean traditions the addition ‘do’ (eg in Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo) indicates that it is an infinite path to tread. In Chinese, this is known as ‘tao’ or ‘dao’. The practice of any art is not in itself to achieve a goal. It is a way of life that is a continuous process of creating awareness that exposes patterns and blockades in mind and body. This awareness offers the opportunity to change engrained patterns in thinking and acting. With every step on the path the understanding deepens and blockages dissolve. Body and mind are gradually purified.
During training of martial arts skills are taught that are applicable in conflict situations. Conflicts are simulated by for example sparring, to test whether the pupil still has access to the learnt techniques in challenging situations. By frequent repetition the body learns what to do if the mind under stress fails you. This requires a lot of practice, because it’s the human tendency to be taken over by engraved patterns that once were useful, but don’t serve you anymore in the present.
Everyday life is no different. You may consider yourself a calm, civilized person when you feel safe in good company. To what extent, however, will you react from the same calmness in a situation where you feel threatened or put under pressure?
In order to respond in a way you would prefer to see yourself in these situations you don’t need years of training. However, it will take some dedication to grasp the easy yet not so simple exercises. With some effort you will experience more calmness, creativity and appreciation, for yourself and others.