When you think of karate, most people think of words like kicking, black belts, and fighting. What most people fail to realize is that there is a real emphasis on the word “art” in martial arts. Students must learn discipline, control, and focus in order to perfect their techniques. This ancient art form takes thousands of hours of practice to master and is a skill that is valuable for more than just people who wish to learn to defend themselves.
Karate teaches discipline. It teaches you how to have complete self-control over your mind, body, and emotions. This control is developed slowly and is what enables people who practice karate to be able to fight effectively while maintaining a sense of non-violence. This discipline carries over into daily life as well and can help with quickly learning other skills.
Practicing discipline can happen in many ways. Students practice by controlling their movements in a karate lesson, but they can also practice discipline by participating in activities like meditation or reading about karate. In a book called “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell states that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master a skill. These countless hours usually take approximately 10 years to complete. It isn’t as much about the quality of the hours as the quantity; just committing to doing something every day is a major key to success. This, of course, is not to say that the quality of your practice does not matter. Practicing discipline is one way to help achieve mastery of karate.
When practicing karate, it is incredibly important that the student’s focus be 100 percent on karate. While this may seem obvious to some, it is important to note that we all get distracted at times. Practicing meditation, as mentioned above, is a great way to learn to minimize distractions and focus on the task at hand. When you spend time practicing with focus, it helps you achieve goals faster. Actively engaging in a task increases the efficiency of the time spent in karate class.
The sense of focus needed for karate is much greater than many other sports, because it involves hand-to-hand combat. The focus that must be learned is critical because of the possibility of causing injury to another person. Learning this focus and discipline over one’s own body will help in other aspects of life as well. Keeping your practice mindful of and focused on the present will help ensure you get the most out of each practice session.
What We Know
Learning focus and discipline as we practice helps our training become more beneficial to us. Spending hours immersed in martial arts will inevitably help each student grow in their art, and the discipline and focus learned in the art will help students take their karate to the next level and grow in many aspects of their lives.