Friday, February 17, 2012

Kenpo Karate: 5 Intangibles

With all the hype that mixed martial arts brings to the martial arts community, many individuals are led to believe that kenpo karate is just another sports. The truth is that often schools forget what the core of the kenpo karate training is.

A dojo is not a gym. It is not a place where kenpo students can get a vigorous workout and just mark another tally off their to do list (though that can sometimes happen). The dojo is a classroom where students learn more than just how to defend themselves.

There are five lessons that a kenpo student learns when immersed in a martial art: discipline, perseverance, integrity, courtesy and intelligence.

Discipline sounds like a naughty word. The world equates it to a punishment, but the truth about discipline is that it is a way to learn control. The kenpo student disciplines their mind to focus on the task at hand. They discipline their bodies through practice and the their minds through study and asking questions. Discipline also teaches a student to quiet their minds, bodies and souls to achieve a sort of internal understanding which develops as the student progresses.

Perseverance is a very important lesson. No one should believe that the obstacle is too big to defeat. They should realize that there is always a way to solve every problem and a different perspective for each lesson. It is through perseverance that a kenpo student grows and blooms into a martial artist.

Integrity is a word that had more weight than a fist or foot. With integrity a kenpo student earns respect from their peers as well as those above them. It also keeps those more aggressive from striking out at one out of respect.

Courtesy is a great way to treat everyone. Be kind, gentle, thoughtful and respectful. It is an art that is often discarded as weak, but in reality it is a hard path that only those with true discipline can travel.

Intelligence is something that a kenpo student gains through constant practice and study. Some students are gifted with vast intelligence while others struggle to understand the more complex matters of life. True intelligence is earned through study and a student who does not study is not a martial artist.

Though kenpo karate is written off as a sport, it is much more than that and to believe that it is just another way to shed some pounds is ignorant. Now most sports strive to teach these intangibles, which they should, but often they are not as easily absorbed as with martial arts. The difference here is that through kenpo karate study a student focuses on the internal and not so much on the scoreboard.

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