How Martial Arts Changed my Life
How martial arts changed my life!
Martial Arts has been a major part of my life since I was 7 years old. I can still remember to this day my very first class. The weather was breezy, the sun was coming down over the horizon and I had no clue what I was doing. The very first block I learned was a rising block and I remember my instructor attacking me with a hammer fist to the head. Sounds a bit scary but I remember I never got hit that day. I was super focused and blocked every single technique he threw at me. When it came to push ups however I was not as successful. The day was filled with triumph as well as failure, but I came back to the next class. If never would have continued and I wouldn’t be here right now writing this story.
Martial Arts over the years has taught me so many life lessons and I’d love to share these with you.
- Self Confidence
As young boy I was the “fat kid”. Somehow I always got picked last for every basketball or kickball game. When we played dodge ball I was always the first kid to get hit in the face. There was always that one kid who thought it would be funny to make fun of my last name rhyming it with Cheetoe, Burrito, Dorrito or anything else that rhymed with Guido. So, obviously my self confidence was at an all time low. Martial Arts taught me to believe in myself. I’ll never forget running into a childhood bully at the local Vons. He made his way toward me with that arrogant look in his eyes. Only this time something was different. I was different. He began his normal pushing routine, only this time I looked him in his eyes and told him to “Back off!”. He began to make a move to attack me and I though a roundhouse straight to his mouth. The look of shock on his face was priceless. It wasn’t a hard kick. It wasn’t meant to harm him but to make him lose interest. Mission accomplished!
From that day on, I never got picked on again. I believed in myself!
After I received my Black Belt, whenever I was faced with an obstacle, I reminded myself that I can accomplish anything. I’m a Black Belt!
2. Self Control
This area is always a work in progress and is practiced daily. As an adult, we are faced with moments throughout our day which test our patience. Moments where anger and frustration can take over our emotions. Martial Arts has taught me to treat those moments like the movie FROZEN. “Let it go! Let it go…” There are many moments of frustration during a martial artists journey. Failure is easy because martial arts is challenging. This is the main reason why so many people quit before achieving Black Belt. It’s during these times of struggle where we learn as martial artists to keep picking ourselves up and to keep moving forward. Learning how to control ones emotions helps us through these crazy moments in our life.
From the time we’re able to walk, we all have to focus on the task at hand. Whether you’re a 3 year old having to look both ways when crossing the street with mommy or an 8 year old taking a multiplication test in school, focusing on the task at hand is a skill which must be learned and developed over time. In Martial Arts class growing up I had to pay attention to the instructor, focus on my target when kicking and most importantly stay focused on my partner when sparring. Developing this high level of focused has made me a better driver, has allowed me to stay focused on the task at hand and stay focused on my goals in life.
4. Goal Setting
One of the first major goal in martial arts is achieving the rank of Black Belt. I remember as a kid, all I ever wanted was to finally reach Black Belt. This was no easy feat. Martial Arts has a built in goal setting structure unlike any other program. The belt rank system is designed to keep students focused on small goals (yellow belt, orange belt, blue belt etc.) in order to reach that major goal of Black Belt. Now, as an adult, setting goals isn’t something different. Setting goals is just part of my DNA. Set, make a plan and execute
5. Self Defense
This is by far the coolest skill martial arts has taught me. Talk about confidence! I can humbly say, “I fear no one”. Now please don’t take this in an arrogant way. I am just confident enough to walk down the street with my family and know that if someone tries to harm us, we WILL be coming home that night instead of going to the morgue.
6. Character Development
There are times in our life when we are faced to make a decision. It’s those decisions which take our lives down different paths. Since martial arts is NOT an activity but a LIFESTYLE, we are reminded daily of the importance of Integrity, Respect and Courtesy. Growing up in my early years, these principles were not taught to me. I made many mistakes as a young man because character wasn’t reinforced. As I grew older and I began to learn from many different martial arts teachers who reinforced “Character over technique”. That principle is what has catapulted me into the instructor I am today as well as every student and Instructor at Guido’s Martial Arts Academy
As you can see, there are so many lessons to be learned in Martial Arts. Here at Guido’s my goal is to be able to pass down these lessons to our students and the next generation of Guidos instructors. Inspiring our community to strive and live their best life.
Please visit our Academy anytime. Try a class or just pop in for some positive vibes!
~Mike Guido, Renshi