This post has been updated and re-posted from an earlier version.
Martial Arts have meant many things to me over time. Here are some of the outcomes I feel are found within the HEMA disciplines we practice at Academie Duello:
Martial art help us test our capabilities, push our limits, build our confidence in our physical and mental selves, and face challenges of our lives in the microcosm we create on the school training floor.
Martial Arts engage not just our bodies but our minds. The strength that we build tends to be much more functional as the training environment is complex. The achievement goals are much broader, as this is place where you not only build physical strength but broader health, grace, dexterity, and confidence in your physical self.
I don’t believe it should be the exclusive destination of your training, however it is a great tester of ability, a crucible within which broader understanding can be formed. Tournaments can be an excellent place to meet personal barriers and create a sense of achievement.
Martial arts can be one of the most profound and visceral performances you can witness or be a part of. Whether as partner exercises, solo assaults (like Eastern Martial Arts katas), or theatrical displays, performance is a worthy and rewarding expression of the art.
Sharing a passion is a powerful way to build true and lasting connections. Wherever I go in the world I know I can find the company of other martial artists and that we’ll have something beautiful to share. Don’t think building a connection to others is not a worthy end for martial arts, it is perhaps the most essential part of human existence.
Lets not forget perhaps the most easily dismissed yet probably the most important—Joy. Exploring a passion, meeting new challenges, connecting with friends, swinging a sword around, shooting a bow. These things can be inherently pleasing endeavours. Beyond this level of fun, martial arts can also bring the deeper joy that comes from realizing what you’re truly capable of, and what undiscovered treasures still await you.
Whatever your reason. Practice well and strive to be your best.