When you think of martial arts, what comes to mind? Is it kicking and punching, jumping and the occasional shouting? Is it controlled breath, proper posture, balance, and accuracy? Oftentimes, martial arts encompass many of these things simultaneously, but towards a goal. For some, that goal is a sense of safety through self-defense technique. Some simply want to attain a level of fitness. However, martial arts almost always offer something that people don’t necessarily expect: focus.

This month at Karate West, we celebrate the Life Skill of focus.

It’s no secret that the ability to properly focus our efforts is an invaluable skill. When we set our minds to accomplish something, it is focus that ensures we see it through to the end. Without this skill, our actions might not amount to much at all. Although anyone can make use of learning the benefits of proper focus, those benefits increase exponentially for those who have learned it at a young age.

Some parents might worry that enrolling their children into martial arts could encourage violent behavior, but it’s actually just the opposite! Martial arts aim to teach self-defense, but more importantly they teach responsibility and control. To correctly execute martial arts, one must perform with precision, controlled breath, proper posture, and balance, all of which are vital elements to focus successfully.

Like many physical activities, martial arts require that its students command multiple elements simultaneously in order to continue seeing improvement. Of course, that doesn’t come without regular concentration. We never expect that a beginner student to be able to perform a kata after his/her first session, but through practice these individual elements become easier to manage and an overall life lesson begins to take shape.

The important thing to remember is that martial arts demand mental acuity as much as physical prowess. However, it’s not necessary that any student come to Karate West already in full control of these skills. With time and practice they will form and you will inevitably find the lessons learned in the dojo lending themselves to all aspects of your life.


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