Martial arts are a system of combat exercises that have been practiced for centuries as a way to develop one’s physical, mental, and spiritual aptitude.
In martial arts philosophy, training begins with the mind. When the mind is calm and flexible, the body can maneuver effectively with grace and precision.
In conflict, the warrior has no time to hesitate or contemplate distraction. Energy must be preserved and each move must be intentional. If the mind is too active, the body is tense and the ability to act with swiftness is compromised.
Awareness and focus are considered the most crucial aspects of survival, and in the context of today, a productive life.
Modern Martial Arts
Having evolved through many cultures — prominently Japanese, Chinese, and Hindu Buddhism — the numerous systems of martial arts have been practiced by ancient warriors, monks, and nuns alike.
Maintaining prominence as a ritualized form of exercise, today these practices are being implemented by students, athletes, business professionals, and people from all over the world as a way to instill supreme energy into everyday life.
These more contemporary forms of martial arts include Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Integrative Body-Mind Meditation.
Meditative Martial Arts
Meditation is incorporated in training as a way to cultivate a steady mind and to benefit the practitioner’s physical and philosophical development. This is achieved by mindful breathing, relaxation, and meditation with intentional movement.
For thousands of years, martial artists have used meditation, not so much to prepare for actual combat but to ensure mental fortitude and unmatched preparation. This prepared mind presents a huge psychological advantage over the enemy or modern-day competitor, whether the battle is physical or not.
Shaolin is another type of martial arts that combines the teachings of Buddhism and Taoism.
The Shaolin meditation philosophy is to bring the disciple in line with nature’s frequency. No resistance, just immersion, and acceptance. With this discipline and mental one-pointedness comes supreme flow and a mind that can maneuver like the wind, allowing the body to flex like water.
A notable example of martial arts and meditation would be Tai Chi, which combines the peak performance of both mental and physical discipline. The body and mind become one, and the spirit can be harnessed through a strong foundation.
Tai Chi is considered a form of self-defense while developing a spiritually centered connection of mind, body, and soul.
Mind Observation and Chi Breathing
In meditative martial arts, abdominal breathing is practice with an exhalation that is longer than inhalation. Deep breathing is the anchor that draws the mind into the center of gravity.
Chaos and harmony go hand-in-hand; the breath holds the focus of the practitioner and allows the energy of chi (natural life force energy) to flow throughout the presence of concentrated movement.
Chi breathing meditation focuses upon the breath for the purpose of circulating energy and becoming aware of the levels of chi present within the body.
In meditation, the practitioner becomes highly aware of their inner dynamic and in tune with the underlying emotions of the moment. When the object of meditation becomes the mind itself, negative thoughts lose and distracting emotions are quickly noticed and overcome with peace.
This focused ability to control emotion comes with a disciplined meditation practice and is recognized in the supreme level of self-control carried by the most advanced practitioners.
Breathing deeply and deliberately while standing concentrating on immovable thoughts of empowerment is the most powerful way to practice this technique and generate self-respect.