Ask 10 different people what self-discipline means to them and you may get as many answers. When we talk about self-discipline in martial arts, we are discussing the ability to obey our code of honor both with ourselves and within society.
Discipline Within Ourselves
Many may think that standing at attention and going through traditional poome-sae (forms) doesn’t do much for us, but that is far from the truth. In Taekwondo, these abilities are linked to the “martial” side of our martial arts. Through reviewing centuries of military branches training new recruits we have learned that when one starts to be able to control their body and pay attention to minute details during smaller tasks, their ability to do the same in their external life also increases.
Standing at attention and listening to the sah bum nim (instructor) during classes encourages us to have the same behaviour elsewhere. For younger students, that equivalates to being able to listen to parents at home and teachers at school. For adult students, it helps with being able to listen better to peers, coworkers, and bosses.
With our forms, we focus on the tiniest of details when practicing. Not only does this teach us extreme attention to detail, but it also helps us develop fine motor control of our bodies, helping us remain connected with ourselves, and gaining the coordination necessary to live an easier life.
In younger students, this coordination can help the human developmental process. For some students who may have experienced developmental delays, training in Taekwondo helps them work towards the milestones they may have not been previously able to accomplish.
Discipline Within Society
Students who have been trained in martial arts have shown to be productive members of society. They tend to be more likely to assist those around them, their self-discipline allowing them to put aside their own needs temporarily to help take care of others.
Through martial arts training and developing that internal self-discipline, students are also more likely to obey the rules of society, having developed the internal integrity necessary to recognize right from wrong, and the ability to follow through on what is correct, even if it is difficult.
Overall, not only does self-discipline in martial arts help younger students to listen better at school and home, and older students to struggle less with conflict, it allows us as martial artists to develop the perseverance necessary to push through life’s challenges, arriving victorious on the other side. For in the end it will not be our ease of success that we will be judged by. Instead it will be our successes in the face of adversity and challenges that will help temper our souls. It will be these successes for which we will be remembered.
Corinne D. Bracko-Douglas
2nd Degree Black Belt
Internationally Certified Instructor
STEM Certified Instructor