Learning martial arts is not just memorizing a set of systems–it’s also about instilling core values such as integrity and discipline. The discipline taught by learning martial arts systems such as Taekwondo overflows in daily contexts, such as how students relate with others, perform in their work, or do their daily tasks.
Taekwondo Master Instructor Jin Suh elaborates on how martial arts can be a gateway to instill discipline and perseverance in people. According to him, the lessons taught in learning many martial arts sports require students to pay attention and persevere. With this in mind, Jin Suh hopes to share the methods of discipline found in most Eastern martial arts and how these can help people in their day-to-day living.
The discipline of setting goals
A life without an ultimate goal becomes meaningless. One of the core disciplines found in martial arts is learning how to set goals. Mr. Suh states that there are many areas of goal setting in learning martial arts such as Taekwondo:
- Perfecting your form: All students are required to learn stances, kicks, punches, and blocks. Instructors will teach students how to perfect their form from basic to advanced to move to more complex learning levels.
- Mastering movements: Martial arts systems are also comprised of foundations, which are sets of movements that are taught per level. Students will be asked to master these movements both in form and in order.
- Activity-based goal: Aside from systematic learning, martial arts students will also participate in activities such as hitting blocks, having a sparring partner, or even entering a competition based on their capability levels.
In natural contexts, the discipline of setting goals will help people become the best versions of themselves. Whether it’s at work, academics, relationships, or simply forming healthy habits, creating goals and having the patience to work through them is a valuable tool in a better quality of life.
Channeling mental and emotional energies
Another form of discipline taught in martial arts is learning where and how to appropriately channel mental and emotional energies. Often, many people suffer from the ruthless spiral of negative emotions, which is also known as ruminating. They spend excess energy thinking about things that they cannot control instead of working on things they can improve to make their lives better.
Martial arts teach you to channel your mental and emotional energy to achieve a goal, such as hitting a block or a pad with full force, overcoming an opponent, or reaching a bar for a high kick. It teaches students to gather their energies to make one collective force to achieve that goal.
How does this translate in day-to-day living? Instead of mindless multitasking, students of martial arts eventually learn how to focus on one thing at a time and perform them well. They also learn how to drop the unhelpful rumination of worries and negative emotions, which distract them from achieving their higher purpose.
The discipline of sportsmanship
Although martial arts are considered a sport, it is nevertheless a reflection of life. Life is all about victories and losses, which is why developing sportsmanship is so important. We live in a world where everyone is encouraged to feel entitled–statements such as “I deserve this” or “I am worth it” can often be overused even without the individual working hard for what they truly desire.
By learning martial arts, Jin Suh explains that students learn the different aspects of sportsmanship:
- Seeing objectively one’s room for improvement: Students can see what areas they can work on, their next strategy, and what are weak areas of their hand or footwork they can protect against an opponent.
- Celebrating others’ achievements: The success of one person does not mean the belittlement of another. Students learn to celebrate each others’ victories genuinely while keeping their dignity through fair competition.
- Humility in wins: The goal of winning is not simply to take pride but also to acknowledge people who helped you in your journey to success. Through martial arts, you will be allowed to reflect on what you’ve sacrificed to achieve a goal.
Sportsmanship is a trait that is useful for competitive settings and in many areas of life.
Mastering health and wellness
The consequence of persevering in martial arts is mastering the disciplines that lead one towards health and wellness. This is because many aspects of learning martial arts systems such as Taekwondo can kick, punch, block, or keep a stance effectively–you can only perform these movements if you truly become physically fit.
Being physically fit has so many advantages in the natural setting. You will experience more energy, live a longer and healthier life, and have the mental clarity to perform better in daily tasks.
Martial Arts Disciplines: Beyond the Sports and Towards Life
Taekwondo Master Instructor Jin Suh’s necessary discipline methods show us that the things you will master in martial arts are not just applied within the sport. Once these core values of discipline become deeply ingrained through your martial arts classes, you will discover that these positive traits overflow in many areas of your life.