By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, July 12, 2005.

There are many activities in society that people spend their time and energy doing, but there are very few activities that give an individual such a tremendous benefit mentally, physically, and spiritually. People should ask themselves what they are actually getting out of the activity that they are doing relative to what they are paying out. If they do this with all the activities they involve themselves and their children in, they could easily make comparisons of comparable magnitude. This brings up the subject of the Martial Arts as a viable activity that can give tremendous benefit in comparison to the rest in the field, and give one a better perspective as to what they are getting in comparison to what they are paying out.

The Martial Arts teaches awareness of one's environment, and hones one's own mental acuity. A person is taught how to perceive the environment to make evaluations and conclusions as to the proper actions that are necessary to survival. Exercises and drills are done to increase one's recall, give one the ability to apply one's knowledge of self-defense, and give one the mental confidence and certainty to keep one's wits and be competent in any given situation.

The physical benefits of the Martial Arts generally outweigh many of the physical activities that are offered today. Anyone can play sports, but sports do not always offer thorough stretching routines, goal-oriented cardiovascular and strength conditioning, learning how to communicate with one's body for maximum coordination, nutrition, and never self-defense. One cannot put a price on an ability to protect oneself and others. A person will see what one is getting relative to what one is paying the first time one defends oneself successfully or the first time one's child comes home telling one that he/she was able to defend himself/herself against an abductor.

Spiritually there are very few activities and institutions that can offer spiritual growth along with teaching an ability to defend one. Spiritual growth comes from the discovery of life truths. Every truth that one discovers causes one to become more aware of self. Martial Arts teach life philosophy. A person will discover integrity, honor, ethics and responsibility. One will learn how to apply it to self and others. There is a spiritual essence to the Martial Arts that ties it all together as an activity. What would you be willing to pay if your child learned to have integrity, honor, ethics, and responsibility?

There is a broad base of potential gain that one can achieve by learning the Martial Arts which is not generally true of other activities. If one could benefit from the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of an activity including learning self-defense, what do you think you are getting relative to what you are paying? What do you think you are getting in other activities that do not give what the Martial Arts offer? What would be the most beneficial logical choice?