By Njoli Brown
One of the stand out features of the MSMB practice is its dedication to teaching the advantages of a comprehensive training regiment. But what does that mean?
There are a huge number of mixed martial arts schools popping up around the country. Perhaps there are even more academies which house various arts without determining any points of connectivity between them. But for us, there is a distinct importance in being able to put together a practice that is enriching and profound, physically, intellectually and emotionally.
I think, at this point, the physical benefits of martial arts training have been fairly widely accepted. Increased muscle gain, developed reflexes and reaction time, flexibility, mobility, etc. All of these are resultant from intelligent training and continually evolving theories on how best to serve a student’s growth.
The importance of a martial practice as an intellectual study is often understated. Educating practitioners on the cultures from which their arts have been born is at times considered an arbitrary aside. But in truth, the cultural and intellectual development is what helps to provide some moral foundation for how we choose to use the often dangerous practice we engage in. In the most pressured moments we don’t have time to debate with ourselves about our beliefs on violence or conflict resolution. Instead, one would hope that we’ve spent peaceable moments discussing with our comrades so that in other times we are able to act efficaciously. Culture and history provide context for these discussions so that we have the opportunity to take advantage of historical precedents. The culture of an art reminds us that it is based in humanity. Because of this it is evolving and affected by all the historical boons and faults of the people who carried its legacy along the way. With a critical mind we can learn from this and apply those lessons when using our art as a foundation for our daily living.
Here we are empowering, but how do we make sure we’re not doing as much harm as help? It’s easy enough to hand out the tools but making sure that they’re utilized conscientiously… that’s another story. A lot of instructors talk about “emotional equilibrium, controlling your anger” and so on and so on. But aside from the rhetoric, how many are providing the training for that kind of capacity? As an instructor, investing in your own development as an emotional being is as important (if not more) as any attempts to integrate these ideas into your classes. Students need to see that dealing with relationships at home, at work, in the world, affect us all and our decisions on how to reconcile our emotions with the situations we encounter are as much a part of our martial practice as the work we do in the academy.
Being mindful of the fact that all of these elements play an integral part in our MSMB training philosophy allows us to create an environment where people develop their complete selves and explore new pathways to growth and wellness.