Way of Life
To now put the group of articles written together, Martial Arts is very much a way of life; it feeds into what we do, how we do it and the attitude in which lead our lives. For instance, there is a big emphasis on discipline, physical, mental and spiritual development. The training for self defence and fighting becomes less of a priority, yet still remains an important part of the practice. Many Martial Artists train only practice the movements. Unfortunately, any Martial Artist who only practices without any form of physical contact is simply an artist. Martial Arts is all about application. Not just how it applies into street situations, but all situations. If you cannot apply it, then either it is redundant, or more understanding of it is required to be able to apply it.
It is essential for Martial Artists to have a zen-like approach where the solutions are focused on as opposed to dwelling on the problems. That being said, it is advisable for all people to have such an approach, where it is objective and well-grounded; this way, people do not act in anger. Acting out in anger, especially if you are a fighter may cause long term issues. For instance, dealing with a situation with your fists when it is not the last resort, may end the situation quickly, but have long term implications, whereas being diplomatic where possible may take longer, but resolves the situation peacefully.
Having control over all your faculties allows you to be in control of yourself when you do not have control over the situation. In having a cool and calm equanimity that is objective will enable you to have influence over the situation itself. This is to say that most of what we experience in life is up to how we act and react to it. Much of the time, people look back at our collection of memories and have regrets over what they did and what they should have done. It is therefore better to have a calm, informed and objective composure where one chooses to act with reason, without ego and with a retrospective, multi-dimensional approach that takes into account consequences that will ultimately remove future regrets. For the most part, people get very caught up with things that ultimately do not matter and will not matter after a period of time; a simple phrase to go by is 'this is not the hill I want to die on' and move on.
If you remove the ego, you will remove the desire to get involved with disputes in all respects of that word and attract less of those experiences. Putting this into context, if you are able to walk away from a situation that may elevate into a physical confrontation, then you walk away knowing full well that you did not need to raise your fists to resolve it. Of course, there may be confrontations that happen unprompted and unexpected; this why is awareness and the faculty of attention are so important.
Taking yourself and life too seriously simply results in a harder more pressured life. It is therefore essential for us to accept ourselves unconditionally, the free will of others whilst understanding that we are accountable for everything we do past, present and future. This is a good lesson and an excellent way of being, not just for the Martial Artist, for people as a whole.