Benefits of Martial Arts – Building New Habits
We seem to understand building habits in other settings so much better than we understand how to change habits in ourselves. There are a couple of analogies I use all the time when it comes to building and changing habits.
I’ll talk about taking a snowboarding or skiing lesson. Living in Canada, most people seem to understand at least what those look like. I’ll ask students if at their first ski lesson they were handed skis and taken to the top of the mountain, and pushed down a run with trees, moguls, cliffs and rocks? Of course they weren’t. In fact, for the first 10 minutes they spend just standing on flat ground, and probably fell over a couple of times when they were just STANDING there.
In your first driving lesson, the instructor probably didn’t take you out into rush-hour traffic. You probably spent it in an empty parking lot, country road, or residential neighbourhood with no other cars around. And even then, you probably spent the first 10 minutes just sitting in the car without moving.
When you were learning to play piano, the teacher didn’t pull out sheet music for Mozart and demand that you play to at the correct tempo. You probably sat at the keys and learned their names, and learned how to just use 3 fingers to play “Mary had a little lamb”, and even then you probably made mistakes.
These are the settings we learn other skills in. As our skills improve, the setting becomes more challenging. We go to more challenging runs on the ski hill, into more traffic at higher speeds in the car, and play more elaborate songs on the piano.
But in martial arts we often get taught that if we aren’t practicing at ‘real’ speed then we are wasting our time. That is false. Build the habit to go slower but with lots of detail!
Slow and Control becomes Fast and Steady. As you get comfortable you will naturally speed up. A good marker to look for is ‘openness’. When you speed up your body, mind and spirit should feel open and free – these are some of the benefits of martial arts.
Form a new habit and just slow down for 30 days and see if it opens news doors into your Systema training.