Your Worst Enemy

 in Bradenton - Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy

Poor coping skills are the leading cause of self destructive behavior, drug abuse, alcoholism, depression and suicide. I am a former Recreational Therapist in a psychiatric facility. It was my job to provide various activities, including physical activities and recreational games for our patients, to hopefully increase their tolerance to frustration and delayed gratification.

Life gets overwhelming for everyone at some point or another. If in our youth, we developed our ability to cope with frustration, then as adults we find life’s challenges to be nothing more than speed bumps instead of impassable walls. The best way to learn how to cope, is for us to struggle to learn something, or become proficient at something, fail repeatedly, not quit and eventually succeed.

I know without a doubt that martial arts training is the best form of recreational therapy and the best way to develop the ability to cope. Obviously we didn’t teach it to the patients in the psych facility as many were violent or prone to violence. The therapy they received was much more concentrated in order to get them stabilized and capable to return to society. But in a martial arts class, a typical student, adult or child sees a new technique or belt rank as a challenge. They struggle to master that challenge, possibly failing at first, and then eventually accomplishing it. This builds a huge cog in our coping machine. Add to that, the physical reward of a new tip on their belt or a new belt, and the student can learn to work through anything, with little difficulty.

Feeling like you are great at everything because you never faced a real challenge, and earned lots of insincere praise and participation trophies, teaches us nothing, or teaches us there are no challenges. This only sets us up for disaster when times get tough. These people hit that wall and must find a way to cope with the self loathing that now grows within them. They often turn to drinking, drugs and self destructive behavior.

Attempting something, being unsuccessful and then quitting, or being allowed to quit, teaches us all the wrong things too and definitely doesn’t develop the ability to cope. These people don’t deal with struggles, they just quit, never rising in skill or education or in their chosen field. These people often seek escapist options to cope, such as drugs or alcohol. They suffer from depression at an extremely high rate and are often suicidal.

Training in Martial Arts, facing the struggle and challenge of the training, working through the tough spots with the help of friends and family, teaches people how they can make their way through any struggle in life. It gives them perseverance, which is the most important trait needed to be successful in life. Being smart, skilled, talented, good looking or lucky is still no guarantee of success, but having perseverance will allow a person to work through struggles, doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes, to accomplish greatness.

Real self defense training is necessary to stay safe against the rising violence in the world, but martial arts will also teach the skill to cope, allowing you to win against your worst enemy, yourself.

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