Tag Archives: karate

How to use Martial Arts to beat depression

Thank you so much to [High Risk] Bipolar Cat  as she will be featuring me on her blog. Also, thank you for taking the time to read it.

You may be asking yourself: what does beating people up have to do with depression?

This is a good question. But before we get to the solution, please let me explain my situation.

I was born in Jamaica and live there until I was about 7 years old.

My family moved around quite a bit when was young, but we settled in South Florida as I entered middle school.

I cannot say, for certain, if this influenced my  anger and depression, but it does explain why I keep people at a distance.

I was taught, in my Jamaican culture that a man is supposed to be “tough”.

I soon learned that you had to be even tougher growing up as a black boy in the United States.

I confused this “tough guy” mentality with anger. So, instead of dealing with my emotions, I are suppressed them until they finally exploded.

During my outbursts, I “saw red” as they would say. It is hard to describe that “feeling” in words.

It was like you have tunnel vision to the thing that triggered you and nothing else matters.

Subsequent to these outbursts, I would fall into days of depression.

I think many of us have negative thoughts sometimes, something along the lines of “nobody likes me” or “I make everyone around me miserable.”

These thoughts overwhelm you, and it feels like you are sinking into a deep, inescapable hole.

It seems impossible to get out of the hole. Everyone seems far away. You get the feeling that nothing or nobody can help.

Quite often, I would turn to alcohol as a way to relieve the feelings. However,  alcohol only made things worse.

The alcohol would increase the frequency of my outbursts.

For 28 years of my life, I lived with this anger.

At the request of my girlfriend, now my wife of 7 years, I spoke with a psychologist.  he informed me that anger is a form of depression that I finally understood what was happening to me.

What an eye opener!

We also came to the conclusion that the only thing that consistently helped me with my depression was and still is martial arts.

Martial arts allowed me me to vent my frustrations in a positive way.

As long as I followed the rules in the gym, I could punch and kick as much and as hard as wanted.

I give thanks to my instructors, who guided me on my martial arts journey.

I went on to train and compete in several Muay Thai and MMA fights under the Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy.  I also competed in several Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions.

I believe that these fights helped me live a healthier lifestyle and focus on a particular goal (i.e. winning the fight).

Martial arts has given me the strength and perseverance to meet any challenge and overcome any obstacle. It has indeed made me a stronger person.

Martial arts also gives you a community of like-minded people that have the same goals.

The people you meet in the gym can become your family and support system.

If you find the right martial arts school, you know you can always go back, and your family will be there to support you.

I am now a coach and Muay Thai instructor.

My main goal is to spread the positive impact that martial arts can have on people’s lives.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this blog.

If you are curious about how martial arts can help you, please continue to follow my blog at fightingiseasy.wordpress.com.

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Martial Arts for Self Defense?

One of my many joys in both life is spreading knowledge about martial arts.

There are many myths and mistruths out there.

One, in particular, is the idea that if an individual practices martial arts, it automatically makes them invincible.

The idea that a martial artist can take out 20 guys at a time or catch bullets with their teeth is not always true. Although maybe so for Ip Man.

Another misconception is that a martial arts expert, be they a black belt or Pro MMA fighter, is adept at teaching self-defense.

Well, it may be true that martial artists may be well versed in the way of combat and most of us can intelligently defend ourselves (and don’t back down from a fight).

It is not true that we can teach you in an hour (or less) how to defend against every possible scenario that could occur in the street, nor are we trained to do so.

There is specific training that is required for self -defense and many scenarios that could occur including guns, knives, thugs, the size of Brock Lesner, attacking you.

Each scenario is different and requires you to react in different ways. There are self-defense experts who have trained these scenarios for several years. These are the individuals I would look to learn how to defend yourself.

In closing, I will leave you with this conversation I had with my Trainer years ago, specifically regarding Muay Thai.

Me: Can Muay Thai be used for self-defense purposes?

Trainer: Yes…and No. While some techniques can be used to defend yourself, Muay Thai cannot be deemed as “Self-Defense”. Muay Thai is a combat sport in which two individuals agree to engage in a fight. In self-defense, at least one person does not want to engage. The goal (for the person not wanting to engage) is to escape the situation unharmed.

Me: Oh, that makes sense.

That’s it for today. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you know anyone that is interested in martial arts or fitness, please direct them to my blog, where all my articles can be found.

-John

A General Misconception About Fighting Part II

brucelee for misconception blogAllow me to lead into this blog with this awesome quote from Bruce Lee. I thought it quite fitting, plus Bruce is the MAN!
So, if you have not read “A General Misconception about Fighting Part 1”, what are you waiting for? It will be worth the read.
If you are not so inclined, here is a recap.
  • There is a big misconception out there that fighting is just two guys beating each other to a pulp.
  • For some people, myself included,  fighting involves training and competing in martial arts such as Muay Thai, mixed martial arts (MMA), Kung Fu, BJJ, boxing….the list goes on.
You see, fighters have a passion for what they do. It is similar to a painter or an artist. The ring is our canvas, the mat is our drawing board. And the competition…
Well, the competition is a fighter’s outlet. It is our self-expression.
My belief is that fighting, in the right form, keeps a person physically and mentally healthy. It allows them to be in harmony with themselves and those around them.
I know this to be true because I have experienced the change myself.
Through the art of fighting, I have experienced many positive changes in my life. Fighting has taught me that no matter how hard things get or how much pain you’re in, never give up; keep pushing forward. You can control your own destiny.
Fighting has pushed me in ways I would have never imagined.  It has taken me to my limits and beyond, both mentally and physically.
I believe fighting can have a positive impact on people’s lives. It is the reason I continue to spread my message.
But how did this idea come about anyway?
The idea came during a time that I was fighting through some of my own demons. I was at a low point and close to giving up.
But then it hit me as I was bummed and sitting on the train on my commute home from work:. “Life is Hard. Fighting is Easy.” So simple, so true.
Sometimes, inspiration comes to you at your lowest points. I now realize that the mind works best when put in tough situations.
But, why is Fighting Easy?
Fighting is Easy is a bold statement,   I know.  But let’s take a look at LIFE.
Life poses many challenges.  Poor health, poverty, taxes, jobs, traffic, people (getting on your nerves…).  The list goes on. Many of these things we can’t control.
They are irritating, infuriating, they drive people to alcohol, drugs, overeating and violence, which I consider different from fighting.
On a side note, most fighters avoid these vices because he (or she) knows it will not help towards their ultimate goal.
 
Now, Fighting, as I see it, is something that you can control. When you face off with your opponent, all those life troubles fade away.
You know all you have to do is fight. That’s it. It’s simple. You control what happens (in the ring) and it ends in victory or defeat.
My last point, before I wrap this up, is that people fight everyday without even realizing it.
When you see a political debate on TV, it is nothing more than a fight with words. In business, there is a continuous fight to stay ahead of the competition.
People fight depression, disease and other physical and mental illnesses.
In history, the people who have fought the hardest for what they believe are the people we respect the most. Martin Luther King. Jr., comes to mind.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. So, then let me end with this.
If you are dedicated to what you believe in, you will fight for it and this fight becomes easy. In the end, we are all Fighters. End.