If you choose to study martial arts you must understand that you are not just choosing to learn to fight and defend, but you’re also choosing a new lifestyle. In order for you to be fully a martial artist you have to live the way. This means eating the right way to remain lean, fit, and healthy, learning the proper etiquette for the art you are studying.

Like Karate/Japanese etiquette, learning to cook traditional ways and foods, drinking herbal teas with every meal and throughout the day, there are more in depth ways to go by which you will learn as you progress in your chosen art form. In most Japanese and Chinese martial art schools in the US however, it is acceptable to be into any religion, or beliefs you want so long as you learn and research about the Japanese and Chinese cultures as part of your higher learning.

This brings us to another lifestyle trait, you must want to keep adding to your knowledge yourself through studies and research on subjects that you normally wouldn't need to learn of, such as human behavior and psychology. Martial artists are well trained in mind over matter and energies; you should learn to read the people around you without them even realizing it.

Being able to read your opponent is a prime example of the master martial artist compared to a novice artist. More on how your lifestyle should be tailored is your surroundings, such as your room or your home should be that of the traditional homes in the country your art originated from. Using incense to burn, and listening to traditional oriental music styles are just some of the ways that other hard core martial artists follow.

A very good way of living you can adopt is called Feng Shui. The area you live and work in could follow the guidelines of Feng Shui. The benefits of using feng shui to martial artists are well known in the masters world. There are more ways that resemble your martial art life as well, like you should be on a meditation schedule that has meditation implanted in your daily life or at least weekly life.

And you should be on a training schedule that has you training in the art as well at home not just in the dojo or dojang. You should try to do physical training at least two-three times a week, meditation daily and other physical activity such as running or aerobics at least three times a week. Although it can be said that martial art training is 24 hours a day 365 days a year, there should be some physical rest.

This means that even though you’re not physically training at a specific moment, your whole life is a type of training all its own. With training in the martial arts there is more than just learning to kick, block, strike and punch. One must learn to meditate to calm their mind so that their martial art game is as good as it can be.

Having a calm, peaceful, quite mind you will be able to focus more and focus clearer. When you are in a self-defense situation, which could mean life or death for you or one of your friends or family members, the last thing you want is to lose focus. Not only meditation but self-discipline as well, this is also martial art training.

If you do not develop self-discipline how are you going to turn the other cheek when someone calls you stupid or how are you going to stop eating when you are full? Self-discipline is what will make you do your daily meditation, training and studies. It is what will make you a good martial artists and not a violent one. One thing you should know is that the arts are not about fighting; in fact they are about NOT fighting.

These are just some of the ways martial arts can be seen as a lifestyle and not just a martial art. There are hundreds more maybe even thousands more, what can you come up with as more ways that the arts could be seen as a lifestyle and not just a martial art? Post comments below. Fortunately in the Abilene and surrounding areas there are many places where you can go to learn a martial art.

Any of the masters in these schools could talk to you more about how the arts can be lived while you are learning their techniques.

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Author's Bio: 

Merlyn Seeley is a lifetime practitioner of the Martial Arts. He started training in the arts in 1988, today he holds five black belts in five different arts and holds two instructors licenses, in Taekwondo and Shikata Ryu Ninjutsu. Merlyn is the founder and Grandmaster of the Shikata Ryu Ninjutsu style and in 2000 had the style officially recognized as a new martial art. He has been trained and officially recognized in eight different martial arts by the International Combat Martial Arts Unions Association (icmaua.com). In 1991 and 1993 he held the national title for the Georgia state Taekwondo champ and was internationally recognized in 1994 and invited to the 96 Olympics. After 22 years of instruction, practice, and teaching he has devoted his knowledge to sharing with the public in the form of the Abilene Martial Arts Examiner and continued MA training.