When learning martial arts either for self-defense or competition, it can appear aggressive and destructive to some people. So how can martial arts teach compassion when it seems like every lesson is based on the ability to stop an opponent with force?
Here a few ways that martial arts actually teaches compassion:
At some point, defeat is a circumstance you will face no matter how well you are trained. While the loss may seem like a failure at the moment, it is a mechanism that teaches humility and compassion toward others. It’s easy to feel powerful when you’re the victor. But having the power to accept defeat without allowing anger to rule your thoughts and actions is the essence of your practice.
Facing an opponent on the mat is never easy and comfortable. Managing the anxiety of how you will perform is an act of courage, even if you’ve done it over and over again. Courage is a connection to a deep sense of belonging. When you feel like you belong, you feel others’ pain or joy as your own. When others see you working through doubt or uncertainty, they are inspired and comforted. They see an example of what is possible for themselves through you. Your courage becomes an act of compassion.
“I understand” are two of the most powerful words in our language. They are often used as a quick answer to someone else’s expression of discontent. But when you genuinely try to understand what someone else is dealing with, you immediately tap into compassion. Martial artists understand victory and defeat. They understand that each match is a test of humility, trust, and courage. They know that by showing compassion in victory, they will more likely be shown compassion in defeat.
Are you interested in the benefits martial arts can bring to your life? Contact us at Ascendant Martial Arts in Regina to learn more about the programs we’re currently offering.