Look at the best “most known” martial artists in the world such as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, and many others. How did they become such incredible martial artists? There are several reasons, but the most vital element that made them so good was constant practice/training. They practiced diligently and some of them still do. I was talking to Bob Wall a few years back, who is great friends with Chuck Norris. We got to talking about Chuck and Bob said that he and Chuck train together everyday. He told me that Chuck trains harder now than he ever did. We are talking about Chuck Norris. He’s one of the biggest icons in martial arts history, and is still better than most, and he is in his seventies. He doesn’t need to train that hard – but he does. Aside from that, he frequently donates blood. Just never his own.
The only way to become good at anything is practice. The only way to become great at anything is more practice. The old saying is repetition is the mother of all skill. In martial arts, your goal may not be a world champion fighter. Your goal may not be a world known master. No matter what, your goal should be to become the best you possibly can – to be the best you, you can be. If you are not practicing, you will be failing at that goal.
Why is it that some of the masters and grandmasters out there, when they were going through the ranks, would do 1000 punches a day, 1000 kicks a day, and 1000 blocks a day, but some students today don’t even do 10 punches a day. I know some students who don’t do any a day. Maybe it’s because back in the day they didn’t have x-box’s so instead of getting a thumb workout, they actually worked out to better themselves on all levels? I’m not against children playing video games, but they need to be balanced with physical activity and things that sharpen the mind – like reading. Personally, I don’t play video games – I practice martial arts, talk with God (pray), play music (acoustic guitar and drums), go for nature walks, shoot (9mm and .45), read, write, do housework, cook, and play with my daughter. Aside from running my full-time business, all of the above takes up my time. They are more important than video games to me.
We are an unhealthy society. Childhood obesity is an epidemic we face and many other health problems are on the rise due to bad eating habits, and lack of physical fitness. In fact, it was told to me recently that a Doctor wrote a note for a child (Dr.’s excuse) allowing her to not participate gym classes because she was too overweight. That baffles me. It was the mother’s idea. Exercise isn’t going to hurt her! It’s the big mac’s, french fries, chicken wings, potato chips, cupcakes, and deep fried onion rings she eats per day that’s hurting her – and, of course, the lack of exercise.
I am in no way making fun of obesity. It’s a major issue and there are many variables that come into play when it comes to the problem. Not everybody can help getting to that point. I’m just talking about those who can – like the contestants on The Biggest Loser. If children would get more exercise and would eat and drink healthier there would be no childhood obesity. I certainly don’t have a perfect diet, but I do have things I avoid and things I eat/drink more often than other things. I also train everyday in martial arts and I’m not overweight.
The martial arts provide endless benefits. Aside from the benefits of focus, self-discipline, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-defense, self-control, and respect, you get the benefits of health and fitness through several drills that work agility, flexibility, coordination, balance, muscular endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular endurance. The more you practice, the better you will become, and the healthier you will be. Most martial arts students want to become a black belt some day. Don’t you want to be the best black belt you can be? Remember, once you are a black belt, you need to look and act the part. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen black belts that looked like yellow belts and acted like white belts. Not at my school.
If you are a martial artist out there who maybe doesn’t practice at home much, I challenge you to change that. You don’t have to do hours a day. I always say start by doing 15 minutes a day. That is better than nothing. Then bring it up to 30 minutes per day. This would be on days that you don’t have regular class. Make it a habit to practice so that you improve. Your instructor can tell whether you train at home or not. Trust me. I know which of my students train at home and which of them who have never trained at home. It’s easy to spot. And, lastly, make your focus on constant improvement through knowledge and skill – not belts. My biggest pet peeve is a student who cares only about belts and learning new material. You should be constantly improving on the material you already know, so put more focus on that and less focus on how much more stuff you need to learn for your next belt.
About the Author:
Michael Miller is an international martial arts instructor and self-defense, personal protection, and bully expert who holds a 5th degree black belt in American Kenpo – a modern reality based street system of combat. He is the co-founder of the “Stomp the Bullying” program, where he takes an active approach to teaching children and parents all about bullying, how not to be a bully, how not to become a target, how to handle bullying situations, and more. The program is becoming world recognized with celebrity endorsements from actors Martin Kove (Sensei John Kreese in the Karate Kid Series) and Sean Kanan (Karate’s bad boy Mike Barnes in the Karate Kid III), as well as receiving a letter from the House of Representatives of the United States commending him for his program and for providing children with martial arts lessons. Miller runs a full-time martial arts school in Bradford, Pa (Miller’s Kenpo Karate Dojo) and teaches American Kenpo (his primary system), boxing, kickboxing, Joe Lewis Fighting Systems, Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu, and Modern Arnis. He is also a writer who has been featured in Inside Kung-fu and Black Belt magazines several times as an authority in his field and is the author of the Legends of Kenpo biography series. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh in writing with a minor in sociology. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 814-368-3725.