Mindfulness and the Martial Arts
The Xen-Do approach to martial arts isn’t simply about learning how to defend yourself or compete at a kickboxing competition, or even just getting physically fit. Our motto is Fit For Life and we try to adopt a holistic approach with this.
Whilst there are many different ways to stay healthy, we have realized that fitness and health should not be compartmentalized but, in fact, that each area of our well-being is intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. Being in peak physical condition serves little purpose if our mental wellbeing is suffering and therefore we aim for our workouts to benefit all facets of our health. Of course, techniques for physical, mental, and emotional well-being can be found in various sources but the Xen-Do way recognizes the need for a full and all-encompassing approach and it is our plight to provide this to our students.
A key component of martial arts that has subsequently been adopted by Xen-Do is mindfulness. We have attempted to achieve this through the medium of stretching. Mindfulness means becoming more attentive to the present moment and experiencing afresh things that we have been taking for granted. It allows us to quieten the mind from racing (and often troubling) thoughts and also allows us to dispense with ill feelings and stress and embrace new ways of overcoming negative emotions. Mindfulness can lead an individual to the conclusion that we do not have to submit to our emotions but equally, we do not have to be the master of them. We can be passive observers of our emotions allowing us to let go of negative thoughts without being worked up into unbearable anxiety and stress.
Mindfulness also allows us to depart from the ‘auto-pilot’ mode in which most people spend their day and fully appreciate life and find new perspectives. You can learn more about mindfulness here
Our Senseis and many students use their time spent stretching to be mindful. It can be a regular and even daily occurrence and can be just as beneficial to your mental health as a kickboxing class is to your physical health. It is part of what makes Xen-Do the positive influence many find it to be.