Martial Arts are a great way to do self-development. Here I am listing out 20 lessons that if you adhere to, your life will transform. You will become a more powerful person and shape life in a way that makes you fulfilled and successful.

1. GAIN CONTROL OVER TIME: In today’s world we have gained extraordinary control over our environment with technology and science, but our control over ourselves is still insufficient and one of its greatest reflections is the mismanagement of time. Develop discipline in yourself by gaining control over time. Don’t miss your training sessions. Get up at the time you decide you will get up. Schedule, organize and plan things properly. Eliminate distractions and create a strong sense of control.

One of things that stop people from joining a gym or Martial Arts class in a city like Delhi is that everyone feels they have a ‘shortage of time’. The irony is that by starting such an activity, you actually become disciplined and end up ‘creating more time’.

2. GAIN CONTROL OVER YOUR POSTURE: Remember what mom used to say? Sit straight! And when you stand, keep you shoulders down and back, chest out and chin slightly up. All of us know two basic benefits of this 1) you will look and feel better. 2) Your health will improve. But there is a third very powerful benefit – the spine is actually an antenna and just the way when you tune into a radio station the output will depend on how precise your tuning is, similarly if you tune your spine correctly, the way your brain functions will elevate to a new level completely. An interesting thing to note is that the entire science of Yoga depends heavily on Asanas and the word Asana simply means Posture or Pose.

3. MEDITATE: Do a daily meditation for at least 20 mins every day. The type of meditation does not matter so much in the beginning but in today’s day and age specially in cities like Delhi, If you don’t meditate, its like you don’t brush your teeth. And then you wonder why your life stinks.

4. DIETETIC DISCIPLINE: You already know the benefits of eating right, you know what healthy food is, you know what needs to be avoided, you know you should eat in moderation, you know you should chew slowly etc. The only problem is you don’t do these things! So start to think of food as a means to practice self-control. It’s a chance to do some mental muscle building. Get inspired by the challenge of eating healthy rather than viewing it as a burden.

5. HAVE A SPECIAL ROOM UNDER LOCK AND KEY: This can be a personal gym, a meditation room, a study or some kind of a combination of the things close to your heart. Every Indian home has always had some kind of a temple but the point is not blind worship, the real reason behind it is that dedicating some physical space to something you consider sacred and important will aid in its manifestation. If creating a room is not practical for you right now, create a small table (an altar), a portion in your room or your living room. This is your personal space dedicated to self-development and the attainment of all that you seek.

6. SERVICE: A great warriors life is always devoted to a cause far bigger than his self-interests. There are a thousand things the world needs right now, identify some of them that you empathize with and start giving a portion of your time, energy and money to them. Also, and this is very important, never walk away from any injustice happening in front of you. As a student of Martial Arts you are forever bound by your duty to strike down any evil that you come across.

7. STUDY SELF DEVELOPMENT: Become a life long student of self-development. Systematically study books of this genre including spiritual books. Watch videos on subjects that you are interested in. Invest in seminars and programs. Find teachers and gurus. Be hungry for wisdom and growth. Devoting an hour daily to have ‘Suddh-Vichar’ (pure and hence powerful thought) will greatly raise the level of your consciousness.

8. ADVENTURE: live, laugh, love, have fun, be crazy, be wild, dance, sing, go on a spontaneous vacation, flirt with a stranger, do whatever you feel like. People today are worse than corpses. They literally are just sacks of flesh and bone dragging themselves from home to office and back while staring into their screens. Bring some aliveness into your life by adding adventure to it! Now this doesn’t necessarily mean Bunjee Jumping, it means whatever it means for you. For me adventure is having mystical experiences, doing meditation, going on exotic treks. What is it for you?

‘’Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all’’ – Helen Keller

9. HAVE PRINCIPLES AND VALUES (Sanskars): If we look at life as a journey, your principles and values act as your personal compass. Without them you will always be at the effect rather than the cause of things. Society’s conditioning, random mood swings, fluctuating circumstances etc will determine your actions more than your own will. You are also far more likely to stick to your commitments and get through tough times if you have a clear set of principles and values constantly reminding you of ‘’why’’ you are doing what you are doing.

10. IMPROVE YOUR COMPANY: Surround yourself with high vibration people.
I cannot stress this fact enough; you will become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

11. PRACTICE NOTHINGNESS: Stop all activity. Stop all thinking. Turn off the TV and phone. Every now and then we must completely shut down and rest as ‘emptiness or nothingness’. Practices such as a ‘weekend without electronic products’ are a great way to start introducing more ‘nothingness’ into your life. And in case you’re worried this will be boring, it is the complete opposite. It is ecstatic! Because the true nature of life beneath all the commotion that our busy Delhi lives have going on, is sheer joy. Unplug and re-connect with the source.

12. STATE-PUMPING TOOLS: Our performance in Martial Arts and in life can depend a lot on our state. Discover which state pumping tools work best for you, for example music is a state-pumping tool, why do you think armies always used drums and horns? Affirmations and mantras also work as state pumping tools along with other powerful benefits.

13. LEARN HEALING The Martial Arts training in Delhi today, is very different from what ancient literature says about ideal training. Back in the day a warrior would not only know how to inflict injury but also how to heal it. It was considered sensible that someone who can break a bone, should also know how to heal one. How ever with your time/resources in Delhi, maybe you cant become that proficient in healing, but we can all learn some basics like first aid, basic medicines and treatments for fever, stomach ache etc. You should have the names and numbers of 5 hospitals that are closest to you saved in your phone.

14. PURIFY YOUR WORDS: Be a man of your word. Always do what you say you will do. Always speak the truth and speak respectfully. Otherwise like the pollution in Delhi makes the city dysfunctional, speaking carelessly pollutes your insides and makes your life dysfunctional.

15. MINIMALISM: Reduce your wants. Declutter your life. Think about 3 to 5 things you want the most in life. Keep them as your primary goals. Think about 3 to 5 major sources of pain and discontent in your life and start resolving them pro-actively. Bringing minimalism to things like the number of clothes you possess and the interiors of your home is also beneficial.

‘’I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times’’ – Bruce Lee

16. NON-VIOLENCE: This is an important lesson for cities like Delhi where violence is rampant. As students of Martial Arts we are masters of violence but we must never use it unless it’s the last resort in a self-defense situation. Harsh words are also a form of violence therefore we must learn to control anger. Use techniques such as breathing. Use love and forgiveness. Remember, there is no escaping karma.

17. SELF-RELIANCE: This is the highest of all virtues. Do not depend on others for anything. Not just materialistically but also emotionally. This is not to say that you shouldn’t do team projects or shouldn’t have loving bonds, of course you should. But always be capable of handling things alone.

18. DAILY REVIEW: At the end of every day do a review. Think of the of the mistakes you made, the lessons you learned, the good things that you have gratitude for, go through the whole day and see if you have lived in integrity with your principles and values or not, are you moving towards your dreams or not? A 10 min daily self analysis is an easy and impactful self-development tool everyone should use.

19. REMEMBER DEATH: Reminding yourself from time to time that you are going to die one day, keeps things in perspective. Martial Arts training teaches us to be brave, to never let fear get in the way of taking the action you know you need to take. Embrace uncertainty, follow your heart and take risks. Death is inevitable but whether you die with a heart full of regrets is a choice.

20. Think of GOD: first thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed. In case you’re not a ‘GOD person’ think of your life’s MAIN GOAL. Treat it as sacred and spend some time on it every morning and night.

I have shared with you some very powerful lessons that can take you to great heights. They must be practiced with integrity. Just like a Martial Arts teacher, do not be lenient with your mind. Feel free to share this with others. It’s important to create awareness on the importance of continuous self-development.

Strength & Honor,
Mannan R. Dattah
(President, Knockout Fight Club)
(Chief Delegate, Delhi Mixed Martial Arts Association)

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