During a time of fellowship this week with my Martial Arts family, I was asked a difficult question. What hobbies do I have outside of martial arts? In fact, people who see me up at the gym all the time often ask me what I do to separate myself from Martial Arts training. They generally receive an eyebrow raise. Martial Arts is not a hobby. I don’t have “hobbies.” Hear me out.
What I do, I do for a reason. I train martial arts for two reasons. One is a love for the art aspect itself. I think that there is nothing more powerful than expressing yourself through personal growth and training. However the other reason I train is to increase quality of life for myself and my family.
By training in the martial arts, I am able to:
-protect myself and others
-remain calm under pressure
-handle my emotions
-be confident in any situation
-develop a desire to learn and grow
-strive to improve myself
Here’s the thing: Martial Arts training is the method by which I learn to love the things that make me a better person. Going out in the weekends to shoot, fish, and hunt? Makes me a more capable person. Cardio and strength training? Keeps my body healthy and my mind sharp. Spending time with family and friends? Strengthening the relationships in my tribe. All of these things I consider martial arts. In fact, if something is NOT making me a better person, it is probably not worth doing.
When I was 10 or 11 years old, Coach Epps gave me some advice that will last my entire life. He asked, “Are you a karate student, or a Martial Artist?” A student comes to class. He does what he’s told, he might even train hard, but when class is over he goes back to who he was before. But an Artist is different. An Artist lives and breathes his art. He cannot be separated from it, because it is his essence. He is constantly striving to improve and evolve.
I am an Artist, and my canvas is my life. What does your art say about you?