One of the purposes of martial arts is to be a better, more productive human being. There are a lot of lessons we learn as we pursue this lifestyle, and some of the most important lessons we learn are mental toughness, agility, adaptability, and perseverance. While it’s important to develop those traits physically, it’s imperative that we develop those traits mentally. These are the mental traits we’ll take with us into the other areas of our life, and help us to be successful in those areas. The mental aspects of this pursuit should make us better fathers/mothers, brothers/sisters, friends, business owners, employees, and members our local communities. The mental toughness we develop in our martial arts practice prepares us to keep on keeping on when those around us give up, and give in.
Before we get to far into this let’s acknowledge that there has been some debate in various circles on the topic of mental toughness. The debate is usually between the camp that thinks mental toughness aka heart is something you’re born with and the camp that thinks it’s something that can be developed. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I think mental toughness, agility, adaptability, and perseverance are present in all of us to some degree, and can be developed. For some the starting point might be a little more ideal so they need a little less work while for others this might be something they really need to put some concerted effort into developing. Either way there’s nothing to it but to do it. We can spend time debating the subject or we can get busy building our mental game.
In the next post we’ll talk about some simple, easy to implement exercises we can use on a daily basis in addition to our time on the mat or in the ring to develop our mental toughness.