Martial Arts in Traverse City - Helps Students Step Outside Their Comfort Zone!
"You are your own nemesis." A famous martial arts saying. It is so true. Kids, teens and adults living in Traverse City, just like everywhere, are constantly battling themselves. They are limited generally not by society but often by the limitations they themselves have erected in their own mind. Sometimes these limits are founded in fear, habit, past experiences and even from watching others fail. Martial arts is the perfect vehicle for allowing students to go beyond their comfort zone.
In Traverse City, students from all over Northern Michigan are learning to over come these limitations with martial arts. Martial arts at its core is "warring arts". Simply put, people are learning in classes such as Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Programs to use their body to defend themselves from an attack. But martial arts is more than just physical -- the true achievement is often gained in the mental realm.
For instance at the Seung-ni Martial Arts Academy in Traverse City where I am the Master Instructor, I witness first hand my students becoming empowered in many areas of their training:
"New Students Syndrome" - it takes guts to walk into a group martial arts class and be the new person. You are anxious and concerned that you will not fit it and worried you will easily be recognized as the newbie because your lack of training. At the Seung-ni Traverse City Martial Arts Academy -- new students realize very quickly that is not the case and there is no reason to be anxious. All the other students come up and introduce themselves. Everyone is so willing to help and show you new techniques. The instructors are patient and helpful. You learn that you are not slowing the class down but actually enriching it with your presence and your energy. After that very first day you have learned a huge lesson for the rest of your life that you can call upon whenever you are in that situation again of being the new person - be it at new work, class, school, college or neighborhood. Your fears play it up in your head - but those fears are just that, unfounded and only capable of holding you back if you let them. So lesson one, martial arts helps you because it gives you a real life experience of where being the newbie turned out okay!
Public Presentation Fears - many Traverse City residents have a fear of being in front of a group of people, or of giving a speech or performing. This is very common. In Taekwondo class students study, practice and perform martial arts forms or patterns. At first you start in large groups, then you progress to smaller groups and then eventually you are presenting the martial arts form by yourself. This confidence building system of slowly extending beyond your comfort zone is powerful. In martial arts class you watch others do the same thing and realize that everyone makes mistakes including much more experienced students. But, because the class is so positive you also learn that it is okay to make these mistakes (even in front of others) and learn from them and go on. Lesson #2 - every time you leave a martial arts class you not only feel stronger you are stronger.
Sparring - as part of their martial arts training, students of the Seung-ni Academy in Traverse City practice their techniques on each other in a free flowing exercise called "sparring". This traditional practice involves the application of your martial art skills against a partner who is also trying to use their skills against you to win points. Protective gear and strict rules against where you can strike and with how much force ensures no one will get injured. But, nonetheless intentionally putting yourself into a position where someone will be attacking you (even though it is very controlled) makes many nervous. For real life street-ready techniques that you can call upon if needed - sparring is a necessary part of training. Moreover, doing something that you are afraid of also pays huge dividends not just in a scary self defense setting. Mentally now you are overcoming a fear of contact, aggression and violence and learning that you can survive and even be victorious when faced with aggressive situations in everyday life such as on the playground, at work from a angry coworker, a road rage incident, etc. Most often times these situations never amount to physical -- but are primarily verbal and mental. Rule three -- a martial artists learns how to handle this type of aggression just as well as in a fist fight.
In Traverse City at the Seung-ni Martial Arts Academy students of all ages and backgrounds are learning that they are more powerful than they thought, have more resolve than they once believed and can break down all those barriers that are stopping them from living the life they truly want. Another old saying in martial arts is "empty your cup". It means to put a side your preconceived notions of what martial arts training is like (probably incorrect images from tv, movies, past bad experiences, stories from friends or relatives) and come try it for YOURSELF!