“He who gains a victory over other men is strong, but he who gains a victory over himself is powerful.” – Lao Tse
It took me almost 30 years to truly understand what it means to train your Body, Mind & Soul. Oops, did I get this correct? Isn’t it Mind, Body & Soul?
In the Western World, it is, however in the Asian world it is Body, Mind & Soul.
All three parts are vital elements of your human form. A lack of coordination between them will lead to negative outcomes. Little wonder, the first astronauts who went to the moon were subjected to numerous psychological tests to prove that they were mentally strong enough to withstand the rigors of space, because NASA came to understand that the brainpower is not enough, mental conditioning is also essential, and that is why this is a part of their selection process for astronauts till date.
My name is Sensei Marcus Hinschberger, and I am the owner of Tokon Martial Arts. Some consider me as an authority when it comes to self-development for children and adults alike. I teach the traditional Japanese Martial Art called Shotokan Karate, and I have been a practitioner for over 30 years.
I teach my class 6 times a week, and it amuses me that most parents sit on the sideline criticizing their child for lack of coordination. They yell (not that I let them, but sometimes they do) from the sideline that it is the right (or left) arm or leg they are supposed to move and wonder why they can’t get it.
This all stops IMMEDIATELY if I ask the parent to step onto the mat and try it themselves. They either get silent because they lack the confidence to actually get on the mat – where is all their zest now? Or they confidently give it a try, which is something I ALWAYS welcome and encourage.
I explain to them the very same move that they have observed from the sideline many times, and they eagerly acknowledge, ready to show off the skill they imagine they have mastered in their mind. At my count, they move swiftly and some even with great power not realizing that with their first or second move, they already have the wrong arm or leg in front.
Because I am very encouraging, I give them a second chance and even a third and fourth chance, and suddenly their critique goes silent.
I tell them that even though intellectually (i.e., in the mind) they understand the requirement to move the left foot, or whatever limb needs to be moved, their body does not follow their mental instructions.
And then I smile and let them know that their Mind and Body are NOT in sync and as such they have no Mind-Body connection.
Those who lack confidence go back to sit. The wise ones ask for a uniform and decide to become students.
Now, a long hard path of endless repetitions, sweat and tears begin. Within 5 years, they will learn to make their body follow the orders given by the mind and how to coordinate their movements at will.
Once the first milestone has been accomplished, the individual is awarded the first-degree black belt.
But hold on, there are 9 more black belts (let’s not consider the 10th because that one usually gets awarded to you when you are dead so let’s not go there).
You may wonder, what more could possibly be learned after the first black belt. Well, you can get stronger, faster, more accurate and that is usually awarded the ranks of Nidan (2nd black belt) and Sandan (3rd black belt), but these are pure physical aspects and many times are determined through the gift of nature.
Your speed, power and maybe even grace might just be gifted to you naturally, and not necessarily by your own personal accomplishment. Those gifts are also only secondary. They might be important when it comes to self-defense, but for self-development, they sure are secondary.
In the midranges of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-degree black belt, you should come under the correct guidance of a true master and work intensively on controlling your mind. Learning to control fear, anger, anxiety, self-doubts, and other such thoughts.
Let me be clear, this is trained and practiced from day one as a white belt, but as with so many things in life, there are layers. I am talking about getting your mind and body so connected that you slowly start to learn how to control those emotions within your body.
Let me give you a little example: Imagine you being back at school, taking your most feared examination. Math? English? Literature? Whatever it might be. Anyway, you get the exam paper, and there are only 3 questions on it, and you have no answer for any of those 3 questions. In fact, it is so bad that you don’t even have a clue what the question is all about.
Tell me, how will your body react now? Will your hands start to sweat, for sure, they were sweaty already. Will your heart begin to race? Will your stomach begin to cramp up? Will you feel like you need to puke?
Whatever physical reaction your body will show – it will shake you at best, and at worst it will paralyze you or even make you do things you usually would NEVER do.
We all know this feeling. The one above is an example filled with anxiety, fear, and panic but there are positive examples as well. The butterfly feeling you get when you see for the first time “the love of your life.”
What if I tell you that high ranking black belts train to reduce those negative reaction in their body while improving and increasing the positive body reactions.
It is interesting that if you train this for long enough, you can get to a stage where nothing can shake you anymore but everything can excite you, and you see, feel, smell, touch and hear only the good, the positive, the beautiful.
You find absolute inner peace and happiness. This is the ultimate goal of the higher black belt ranks.
Now you probably can understand why I believe that there are NO better activities than traditional martial arts where you train your full body indeed: Body, Mind, and Soul – no gym exercise can compete with that.
If you want to reduce your workout to just ligaments, cardiovascular endurance, and muscle fitness, then join a gym.
For everyone else, who wants to learn how to master their body and mind and build inner confidence, Tokon Martial Arts in Sacramento, CA is the place you want to go to. Enroll yourself and your family today and begin to tackle the challenge that is before you.
What are you waiting for? The best time to grow is NOW.
Procrastination is a loser’s game!
About Taitoku Training:
Sensei Marcus is also the CEO of Taitoku Training. A coaching company that teaches self-development and self-transformation, team training & leadership. As a result of his coaching as a martial arts expert, CEOs increase their productivity, improve their efficiency, confidence, focus, and potential in a sustainable way. Through his teachings, companies can improve their communication, productivity, teamwork, profits and expand their market share. If you know a CEO or corporation that wants to take it to the next level, please visit Taitoku Training or contact Sensei Marcus directly at [email protected]