Martial arts has been touted as an excellent strategy to enhance physical strength, improve overall health and enhance the well-being of practitioners especially the children and teens. As an after-school, extra-curricular or recreational activity, it remains one of the perennial favorites for families because of the valuable lessons in discipline and self-esteem that are at the core of different programs in this field. Programs such as taekwondo, jujitsu, aikido or other forms teach various strategies to defend yourself and are rooted in values that have to do with developing your sense of self-worth and confidence while building up your inner strength and physical abilities. 

Setting Realistic and Real Goals

Every program provides guiding principles geared toward meeting very specific goals. Learning to live a life driven by discipline means upholding these guiding principles. The ability to follow a well-defined pathway or practice does not happen overnight. It takes careful planning and respect for each of the steps required to move up to the next level. This is how it is done in every program as participants undergo rigorous training and pass certain benchmarks to achieve higher ranks. In most cases, joining these classes entails a personal commitment to abide by the guiding principles as you move from one rank to the next. There is an established pathway to move up the ranks. All aspiring members are made aware of the step-by-step process, defining a route to success for those who are committed to the cause and determined to reach the top rank, which may be a black or red belt, depending on the program.

Developing Control in Different Aspects

Martial arts combines the science of movement and physiology and the art of self-control. It may seem like these defensive strategies focus on dominating the situation or gaining masterful control of the opponent or attacker. These programs instill the value of controlling yourself and channeling your inner strength for a reaction in a fully controlled manner. This is the core strategy. Instructors emphasize the need to remain aware of our surroundings at all times, keeping our instincts sharp to read developing situations correctly and responding in an appropriate way. This means developing the ability to control our thoughts, emotions and responses. 

Following the Rules and Living by the Principles

Success in this endeavor is marked by progression through the ranks, which can only happen if you stick to the established game plan. There are no shortcuts to success in this field. Additionally, all students must comply with the guiding rules in terms of relationships between master and student, senior students and junior students as well as students and their equals in rank. Complying with rigorous rules teaches discipline and respect for seniority. Students learn the value of adhering to rules because this is part of the evaluation criteria for promotion to a higher rank. When the master maintains a respectful atmosphere in the class, much can be accomplished. This is especially important in multi-age training groups that would most likely include very young children and adult practitioners doing their training side-by-side. 

Training Consistently and Continuously

Practitioners who are dedicated to the art of self-defense are constantly practicing in class and at home. You learn new techniques even as you hone what you have already learned. The master or instructor makes sure of this by checking form and movement in group and individual sessions. You will be shown the correct form, how it is achieved and why it has to be done in a certain way. It is up to you to practice on your own to perfect these techniques that will be the building blocks for more advanced techniques. Practitioners of various arts of self-defense emphasize the need for consistent and frequent practice to develop muscle memory, reactive skills and muscle strength to demonstrate the move perfectly. Dedication to practice and learning your forms will help develop the self-control skills needed in life. 

Learning Self-discipline as a Life Skill

When you make the commitment to join one of these self-defense programs, you are making a commitment to abide by the guiding principles, the rules and the instructions of the master or instructor. Experts in this field will require mastery of each skill before proceeding with the next steps and levels. It is a well-planned journey that does not make room for workaround strategies or easy shortcuts, forcing you to focus on the present with an eye on the next goal. It takes a huge amount of self-control to stay the course and remain motivated for the next steps because there are bound to be difficulties and disappointments along the way. However, this is good practice for the rest of life as well. Having confidence in what you are capable of achieving and the self-discipline to remain committed to your goals applies to everything else in life. Your journey as a practitioner and believer in various arts of self-defense prepares you to reach the highest rank in the program, which is a lifetime achievement. The skills and values learned from the practice of these guiding principles are useful in overcoming obstacles in life. 

Importance of Self-discipline

It bears repeating that learning self-discipline at an early age can set you up for success at all stages in life. You become more productive and creative, achieving more of your goals as you move through the inevitable hurdles that are part of every life. Your self-confidence and self-esteem improve with every goal met and every achievement gained. In the process, you build ga reater tolerance for frustration and disappointments, often viewing them as new challenges to meet rather than permanent impediments to progress. You have better control of your emotions, your thoughts and your actions. As a result of being goal-oriented and achievement-focused, two of the most important principles of self-defense programs, you develop a strong work ethic, driving you to greater heights in terms of better health, finances and quality of life. 

Learning and practicing martial arts teaches perseverance and integrity while developing your capacity for inner calmness. For practitioners of these ancient arts, the more disciplined you are, the greater your achievements and the better your life becomes.