Using Martial Arts as Meditation

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of meditation – wiping away the day’s stress, controlling your anxiety, improving your mental and emotional health… But lots of people find it hard to apply meditation in their daily lives. If you’re one of those people, this article is for you! I’ll try to help you understand how you can enhance your meditation practice with the help of martial arts, drawing upon my experience of over 15 years in various different traditional and modern martial arts.

First off, I think that being mindful and living in the present moment is the most important thing you can do to improve the quality of your life. It can help you identify potential problems and defuse them before they’ve had a chance to become a big burden on your life. Over the years of my practice, I’ve always looked for ways of improving this very aspect of training.

The biggest mistake I see people make is having a very limited view of what meditation is. When most of us hear the word “meditation”, we imagine people sitting in a room filled with incense and chanting like they’re in a cult or something.

And while breathing exercises are a form of meditation, they’re by far not the only way. To me, the most important thing is to find meditation in the everyday things we do. Drinking your morning coffee can be meditation. Driving to work can be meditation. Talking to your colleague can be meditation. 

How, I hear you ask? “I do these things every day, and none of them is even close to meditation!” Well, that’s the problem  – we may do these things every day, but we never pay attention to them. We’re never mentally present for them because during the entire time our mind is somewhere else – constantly jumping from one thought to the next. 

While having our morning shower, we’re thinking of all the work we’ve got piled up. When drinking our morning coffee, all we can think about is the job interview we’ve got coming up in the afternoon. Even when we’re supposed to be relaxing, all we can think about is our problems.

Instead, we should look for meditation in the everyday things we do by trying to be more mindful of them as we’re doing them. I’ve found martial arts to be extremely helpful in that regard. 

There are two reasons for this. First, is the inherent danger in training martial arts. Now, any martial arts teacher worth their salt will make absolutely sure you’re training in a safe environment. They should make sure that beginners are doing their drills safely, and that the more advanced students aren’t getting ahead of themselves during sparring (which should always be done with proper protection).

But even with all of these measures in place, training martial arts always carries a level of controlled risk. And that risk is the thing that keeps you alert and doesn’t allow your mind to drift into irrelevant places. In a way, martial arts training forces you to be mindful and always be in the present moment.

The second way martial arts help with mindfulness and meditation is by improving your focus on details. There are lots of things you need to pay attention to during training – your form, your partner’s attacks, making sure you don’t injure others or yourself… Just one of these aspects requires paying attention to more than three things at once. All of them put together give you a problem you can happily devote the rest of your life solving. 

Not only does this help with being more mindful, but it instils a sense of calm inside of you. A sense that you’re walking down a long, winding path, and no amount of rushing is going to help. The slower you take it, the better off you’ll be.

But how does all of this translate to meditation and everyday life? Well, quite directly, actually. Paying attention to multiple things at once is immensely helpful with any sort of meditation technique. If you’ve ever found yourself getting easily distracted during breathing exercises, training martial arts will do wonders for your mindfulness and concentration.

And as for everyday life, that same mindfulness is going to help you in every aspect of it. Whenever you’re arguing with your partner, you can take a back, centre yourself, and talk calmly, without letting your emotions get the better of you. 

How do I know this works? I’ve done it myself. And while I still have a long way to go when it comes to mindfulness and self-improvement, I’ve already started to reap many of the benefits. 

There have been times when I was overwhelmed by work, and I felt like the world was suffocating me. But after a brief 5-minute break, I was able to find my centre, and I felt as refreshed as if I had rested for an hour. Then, I was able to get back to my work with a fresh perspective.

Sometimes, during heated arguments, I’ve been able to set aside my emotions, keep my calm, and help the other person do the same. 

As I’ve become more mindful, I’ve started to identify the problems in my life more quickly. And this has helped me in solving them.

Like everything in life, this is going to take time. Especially when it comes to meditation, the amount of methods and techniques is staggering. Naturally, some are going to work better for you than others. But no matter what techniques you’re learning, training martial arts can make a big difference in your life.

You might also like:
Types of Punching Bags
The Best Double-End Bag
The Best Heavy Bag Gloves
The Best Outdoor Punching Bag
Cleto Reyes Training Gloves Review
The Best Sparring Gloves