Patience and Martial Arts


We all need more of it, and we need to show it more. But how do we develop patience?
If you don’t make it to the end of the article….you need to read to the end of the article 🙂 

One of the biggest social movement organisations, AVAAZ, has initiated a campaign of self development as one of its main campaigns for 2015 called 3 principles. As part of its campaign it is asking people to pledge these three things:

Show Kindness and Respect: We will show kindness and respect towards ourselves and others whenever possible. And it’s always possible, because everyone we meet is fighting a battle we may know nothing about.
Strive for Wisdom: We will seek to be wise in our decisions, listening deeply to ourselves and others, and balancing our heads, hearts and intuitions in a harmony that feels right.
Practice Gratitude: We will regularly reflect on what we’re grateful for, because it brings perspective, dissolves negativity, and grounds us in what’s most important.

And although I personally believe that gratitude is the most necessary virtue for any kind of personal development, I will leave that for another blog and focus on patience.

All positive personal virtues are interconnected. You cannot have patience with someone if you are not grateful for your connection or interaction with them. You cannot be patient with someone if you do not feel kindness and respect towards them.

So in order to grow patience we need to work at developing ourselves in such a way that we create an internal harmony, which allows us to embody and feel positive virtues on a such a deep level that they can interrupt and change our pre-programmed thought patterns.

What do I mean by pre programmed thought patterns? These are our normal reactions. How we react when someone says something to us, or cuts us off in traffic. These are reactions that burst forth from our subconscious, and are reliant on programming that may have happened when we were small children. Would it make you proud to know that when acting in frustration or anger you are probably using emotional thought patterns that were developed when you were a child, and that emotionally you have not moved past them?

So how do we develop patience? Meditation is the easiest way to improve all positive virtues, but there are other ways you can make a conscious effort to change your thought patterns. The bad news is it takes work, the good news is it makes you feel really good when you try.

As most of you reading this article train in one of our Kung Fu schools I will continue to frame the development of patience into techniques that you can learn and practice while training in our classes. And I will start by saying this.

If it weren’t for the patience of my teachers, but more importantly the senior students and other students I trained with when I was a white sash, I would not have had the rewarding and great learning experience that I did when starting out on my Kung Fu journey.

An important part of training kung fu is working with another person. Performing applications or drills, doing pad work or merely training with someone for the shared experience is essential for improving. You cannot learn to block if someone is not throwing punches at you.
So it is during these times, when training with others, that we can exercise our patience. During pad work drills, during hand to hand drills, when showing someone a technique, all of these opportunities present themselves during nearly every class that you will attend.

So ask yourself this every time you finish class
“Did I leave a positive impression with everyone whom I trained with today?”
“Did I do my best to help my partner improve their Kung Fu?”
“Was I unselfish in my training?”

If you can answer yes to each of these questions after a class my bet is that you will have enjoyed that class immensely, and you probably learnt a lot yourself.

Finally on patience. Have patience with yourself. Allow yourself the space to grow and improve both in your kung fu and in life without the negative self talk and demands that our ego makes upon us. Enjoy learning and growth no matter how small or slow.

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