When one considers martial arts, the first image which comes to mind is self defense. Undoubtedly, every culture has some form of martial art within its society that was originally created out of necessity. Many point to Asia as the beginning foundation of martial arts as Chinese Emperor Huang Di was known to have practiced Shuai Jiao, a form of wrestling in 2000 B.C. Boxing, which in fact is a martial art, dates back to 4000 B.C. as discovered in paintings within the pyramids of Egypt.
Unimaginable violence can be noted within the history of martial arts dating back thousands of years. In 770 B.C., tribesman of the Mongolian period introduced a martial art known as Ssirum, another form of wrestling which focused on the "lost" art of skull-bashing. Ssirum was also the first form of martial art to be practiced in Korea, introduced by the Chinese.
From Subak to Taekyon to Kwonbeop and eventually modern-day Taekwondo, the arts of self defense are internationally woven together among China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and into the Western world. Even today, the dynamics of martial arts continue through publications, social media, television and of course, the silver screen.
There is however, much more to the martial arts than just self defense; a concept which has grown in time from the early days of combative warriors. A far greater side to martial arts exist within the philosophical aspects which have proven to be beneficial to many modern-day practitioners.
In a world that continues to explode in fits of rage and violence, within the teachings of many martial arts are the elements of hope and inspiration. Martial arts can teach one control, respect, honor and dignity. Along with self defense, martial arts can teach those the meaning of accomplishment, personal self respect and respect for others. They can be used for building up instead of tearing down.
Traditionally, martial artists are a tight-knit family, focusing on bringing together rather than dividing. Many across social media outlets share their thoughts, opinions, ideas and philosophy of various styles of martial arts, all focused on the final goal of sharing what has been a rewarding journey for their lives:
- Known as 03alwi, this martial art practitioner of 25 years shares stories of hope and inspiration covering various topics related to one's body, energy and mind through his blog: The Zeit. With over 5,200 blog followers and nearly 4,800 followers on Twitter, it is clear that many seek words of encouragement and aspiration.
- Ando Mierzwa is founder of Martial Arts Training for a Happy Life and holds black belts in Kung Fu San Soo, Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan Karate. A popular social media favorite, Sensei Ando shares his knowledge and skill through his blog posts, as well as his podcast: Fight for a Happy Life, combined with an energized sense of humor.
- Based in Washington state, the Northwest School of Martial Arts share their enthusiasm by spreading a passionate message on the life-changing aspects of martial arts, largely via their Twitter page, with a profound focus on the importance of martial arts among children.
These are just a few of many that are dedicated in showing that training in martial arts can teach us to laugh and to discover a sense of well-being and inner-peace. Most importantly, martial arts can lead one to what seemingly has become a lost form within our society; a "form" that many have forgotten its truest importance for a civilized population:
The simple, yet powerful concept of "joy."