David Lader believes Martial Arts training provides many lifestyle benefits; furthermore, Martial Arts training has been a major contributing factor to his own good health through the years. In addition to training warriors for battle, Martial Arts helps its practitioners to become “centered,” poised, and tranquil. Subsequently, students often develop new skills, confidence, and awareness of their surroundings such that they are more likely to make good choices amidst the chaos of our fast-paced world.David’s passion for teaching Martial Arts began while he was a young martial arts student himself at Cornell University. He opened his own first Martial Arts club in New York in 1986, and went on to open Tae Kwon Do schools in Vermont, Ohio, and Arizona over the next 25 years. His unconventional teaching style combined traditional Martial Arts instruction with his background in modern dance, ballet, exercise physiology, and biomechanics. One of his primary concerns was finding ways to strengthen his students while reducing their risk of injury. He always encouraged his students to become as mentally and physically tough as possible, while still training intelligently and responsibly.
David Lader commented on some of the benefits to his students by saying, “I’ve observed, first hand, how studying martial arts can completely change lives for the better – not only does martial arts training greatly improve our physical health and help us improve our self esteem, it’s also a great way to learn about ourselves emotionally and spiritually.” He also added that long-term Martial Arts training is a great way to prepare for an actual assault – practical self defense skills are as vital as ever, given the steady rise in violence in our society today. In addition, Martial Arts improves strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance in seniors, thereby decreasing the risk of accidents while minimizing immobility, aches, and pain.
Older Martial Arts students are discovering that age no barrier to living a strong and healthy lifestyle. This fact is echoed by David Lader who said, “As a young senior myself, I’m beginning to develop a greater appreciation for having trained as a martial artist all these years. I’m certainly not as ‘tough’ or fast as I once was, but I am certainly more ‘body-intelligent…’ I’m learning more than ever about integrated, functional movement that incorporates every aspect of my being, and I am a more proficient Martial Artist today than I was as a younger man.”
David Lader Highlights How Martial Arts Contributes Health Benefits:
Exercise promotes good health, and Martial Arts helps to achieve this. It can also improve self- esteem and build character – this can certainly add to a positive lifestyle.
Mental awareness benefits: David Lader believes the mental awareness acquired from Martial Arts training can be as important as the respective physical developments. Ideally, and over time, students cultivate the ability to concentrate in a more disciplined and focused manner. In addition, they will also learn to breathe more deeply, relax, and “let go...” This all leads to the wonderful benefit of being able to manage tension and stress more effectively, which can, in turn, lead to the development of greater self-worth, inner peace, and well-being. Best of all, when we learn to value ourselves more, as such, our relationships with family, friends, and associates improve as well. It is common knowledge that the aging process can have deleterious effects on cognitive functioning. This often results in varying degrees of memory loss and confusion. For years, David has suggested that Martial Arts training may slow down the negative effects that aging has on the cognitive functioning of older students. Perhaps this is a function of how students are trained to visualize and develop fast thinking skills in response to imminent attacks. Self-defense training aside, the physical and social engagement, in its own right, seems to have a profoundly positive effect on the mind and mood of older students.
Strength and energy benefits: David Lader stresses that among the physical benefits of Martial Arts are strength, speed, coordination, flexibility, and stamina. A regular training regimen, when combined with appropriate recovery and self-care, leads to abundant energy and a very powerful and functional body. In addition, the intense and mindful workouts that David promotes will have the added advantage of increased cardiovascular wellness.
David Lader suggests that “while muscle strength, in and of itself, is important, authentic and powerful Martial Arts are more concerned with the manner in which muscles ‘speak to each other...’ Just as we are learning how overall weight is not as important as body composition, we’re also learning that true wellness is all about integrated and functional muscle strength – not big muscles, per se...” David goes on to say “In martial arts, this notion of muscles ‘speaking to each other’ translates into the propagation of power when striking. In dance, it can look like grace, efficiency, and beauty. None of this can be ideally achieved if the body is not strong. The muscles must be worked hard and then duly rested.”
Regular exercise also strengthens the body and makes it more flexible to cope with the daily pressures of life.
Impoved character benefits: Martial Arts goes beyond developing physical fitness - it can help practicioners to evolve mentally, emotionally, and spiritually . Students are often inspired to grow in such areas as confidence, humility, kindness, and gratitude. Most important, advanced practitioners develop a greater concern for the welfare of others.
David believes various life skills are acquired through Martial Arts training. He commented, "It's always been a pleasure for me to witness the remarkable transformations of dedicated martial arts students. While the learning pace for each person seems to significantly vary, certain students experience and exhibit dramatic and positive changes in how they move through the world, figuratively and literally, in just weeks of showing up for their first class. I'm continually amazed by these changes, and I'm grateful for the invitation to act as a guide as these courageous individuals find their new way. "
David Lader is an advocate of responsible Martial Arts training. Such training can deliver a multitude of life skills which are the foundation for a lifestyle filled with integrity, vitality, and meaning.