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Cultivating Resilience

In martial arts, building resilience is a fundamental goal of training. With dedicated practice, training in martial arts develops capacity for resilience that extends throughout our lives.

Resilience refers to our ability to go through difficult circumstances and emerge able to recover, sustain, and grow.

During the course of life, struggles and crises are inevitable. We only need to look back at the past two years to be reminded of this truth! For some it will be health issues, for others bullying in school, or money problems, or several challenges arising at once.

While it can be stressful or painful, a crisis usually transforms us through the experience. Our reactions determine not only our situational results, but also the consciousness we bring to the next challenge.

“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.” - Dean Becker, the president and CEO of Adaptiv Learning Systems
How to build resilience
  • healthy practices: eating, sleeping; exercising and keeping fit

  • mental health: managing stress; improving focus; self confidence and self belief

  • gain skills: life skills help us adapt to change, and provide the basis for livelihood

  • learn to improvise: improvisation allows us to react creatively and effectively in times of crisis or difficulty


Resilience in the Martial Arts

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." - Japanese proverb

The central focus of martial arts practice is preparation for a future challenge. By design, training tests and exercises our resilience in direct ways. Like a muscle, resilience can be developed and influenced by our martial arts training and other life activities.

Let's look at some of the ways martial arts enhances our ability to handle adversity. Martial arts training:

  • Develops strength, conditioning, endurance, and flexibility.

  • Teaches skills that help us react to difficulties.

  • Routinely tests and develops persistence and willpower.

  • Builds self confidence and awareness.

  • Helps diminish fear and anxiety in relation to challenges.

  • Strengthens discipline.

  • Connects you with a positive and supportive community.

It's important to note: in people, resilience is largely determined by mental outlook! Awareness, self confidence and belief, acceptance of reality, compassion, and gratitude all contribute to the stability of our boat as we sail through rough waters.

Meanwhile, remember: tomorrow's battle is won during today's practice.

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