There are some obvious benefits that young and old alike garner from studying the martial arts. The first one is in the exercise involved. Exercise, if it’s tailored for the age and ability of the participant, is good for the body, the mind, and, yes, often good for the spirit too.
A not-so-obvious benefit of studying the martial arts is the often unspoken requirement to “be present” in the practice. “When you’re dealing with kicks, punches, and arm-bars,” says veteran martial arts teacher Tom Callos of Hilo, Hawaii, “you simply have to stay ‘in the moment’ to keep from getting socked in the nose. Awareness of what I call, ‘The here and now,” is something you can instantly take off of the mat and put to work in your everyday life.”
With exercise and mindfulness comes a third component that is not a benefit you’ll find in every martial arts school, but it’s something we are deeply involved with. It’s about food and its connection to fitness and health. The Diet Chronicles is a project where a group of martial arts teachers are starting to document, on video, what they eat and how it’s prepared --in an effort to eat more mindfully.
Some of the video journals are being posted to an on-line community based around the book Savor (www.SavorTheBook.com). Savor is co-written by Harvard nutritionist Dr. Lilian Cheung and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
To see one of the Diet Chronicle videos, click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3gANPh_RvY
“What we consume is as important and relevant to self-defense in today’s world,” says Callos, “as any kind of martial arts technique.”
For more information on using the martial arts to improve the body, mind, and diet, contact Mercer Island Martial Arts--2630 77th Ave SE, Suites 106-108 (206) 230-9050