If you want to lead a healthy lifestyle, you must develop healthy habits. Just as with Jiu-Jitsu, there are no shortcuts.
A successful martial arts lifestyle incorporates three key components:
- Your physical fitness. You can never out-train bad nutrition, poor rest/recovery habits or poor energy planning. You can be the most talented practioner in the world, but if you neglect your physical health off the mat, you’ll soon pay for it.
- Your emotional fitness. Are you working on managing your emotional state? Your attitude and temper need attention. Disciplining yourself to approach each partner, each drill, each technique with an open mind is part of achieving emotional balance. Integrate this practice in your daily life – in your family, at the workplace, during your commute – by reflecting on the classroom lessons.
- Your mental fitness. This is all about your focus and attention. How are you training yourself to listen better? Being mentally fit means that you’re becoming a better communicator. It also means creating the self-discipline to make hard choices you know are good for you. Mental toughness, perseverance, non-quitting spirit…these are all part of your mental fitness.
In the dojo is great, but now is a good time to commit to improving these three areas off the mat. Start simple: increase your water intake, or start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Maybe it’s time to eliminate fried foods, junk foods or sugar.
Martial arts brings balance, and so should your habits. Your training in the dojo should be improving your mental, physical and emotional energy, not detracting from it.
So start early. And if you’ve been neglecting one or more of these areas, start right now. By developing good health habits, you’ll be taking important steps toward black belt-level martial arts: you’ll think clearer, have more energy and perform better than ever before. You’ll be a better parent, spouse, friend and martial artist.