I’ve practiced martial art for a while now. I’ve seen people of lots of different sizes and shapes train. I’ve seen very fit, athletic people who definitely looked the part of the martial artist, and I’ve seen men and women who would be considered obese do amazing things that almost defy reason.
As a society, we are struggling with an epidemic of obesity. Obese people, who by definition fall outside the range of “normal” are hesitant to take part in any activity that seems tailored for those who are fit and athletic. Fear, of course, is what keeps them away. Fear of failure, ridicule, self-loathing, etc. keep people from activities that could have life-changing benefits.
My school is made up of outliers. There are almost no students who fit the stereotypical image of “Martial Artist”. We’re all too heavy or too light, too tall, too old, too shy, too smart, too clumsy, or too whatever.
I have a lot of love and respect for Asian cultures. The Confucian ideals of putting the self last and elders and groups first gives them many advantages. One strength that we have here in the West is that we embrace the individual. In traditional martial art training, we walk a knife-edge of balance between honoring ourselves as people and honoring our teachers and the groups to which we belong. I think that understanding this duality is what makes American martial artists some of the best in the world.
Likewise, embracing the duality of beginning an activity that requires fitness when one is not fit requires delicate balance. Using martial art training to help meet fitness goals is smart, but also just a bit dangerous. We have to stay aware of limitations until we overcome them. Martial art training, like other physical pursuits, can help with problems like anxiety, anger issues, depression, and social awkwardness. The trick is in knowing how to train to overcome those problems. A good instructor will be able to help you with those things.
A bad instructor will have no idea what you are talking about and tell you to “Suck it up and get back to work.” Or something along those lines.
We are NOT the right school for everyone. If you want to find out if we’re right for you, we offer a free, one week introductory course. You’ll learn about us as instructors, our martial art Kuk Sool Won, and meet and train with people like yourself. If after a week you want to walk away and try somewhere else, that is perfectly ok with us. After us, I suggest you try the Karate school that trains at the YMCA. They are good people.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, please don’t act out of fear. Joining a martial art school is an act of love. Love yourself and your family enough to explore that choice.
Agree? Disagree? Want more information? Let me know.