How to Make Your Martial Arts Practice a Spiritual One

Let me preface this by saying, I hate HOW-TO articles. I don't like anybody telling me how to do anything. However, I am writing one because I find the brusque simplicity of the words "HOW TO" can make a far-reaching theme like spirituality more easy and accessible.

QUESTION: So If martial arts has 3 aspects; physical, artistic and spiritual, how can we use martial arts spiritually, that is, to connect to the flow of the Universe?

(Oooo a big question for a Monday, but I think we can handle it.)

ANSWER: Treat it as a moving meditation. By this I mean, use the movement, be it a kata, a drill, sparring, or even stretching as a chance to get completely present. Next time you begin the work take these 3 steps and witness how a purely physical experience can change to a more spiritual one.

STEP 1. Do not presume to know how it will go. 

Let's face it. We really don't know how the next 5 minutes of our lives will go, let alone a sparring match, tomorrow's lunch meeting or the fun beach weekend we have "planned." But we think we do. If you can really tap in to NOT KNOWING how the movement in your martial arts practice is going to go you can free yourself up to having a more freeing experience than you thought possible. It's that irreplaceable feeling of catching the perfect wave and being "in flow."

STEP 2. Put your focus on the environment.

Observe your environment whether it be your opponent, the fan above you or the mountains in front of you. Get really present to what is going on around you, because you are only part of the whole picture.

STEP 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2. 

As soon as your mind starts to drift back to anticipation of the next moment or to thinking about yourself go back to step 1 and repeat. 

I'm not suggesting you only practice this way. I am, however, recommending this great training tool to add to your arsenal. One that can make you a better martial artist and make you happier you decided to get out of bed today. 

Train Hard. Love Harder,