In martial arts, many practitioners believe in loyalty. The most important loyalty is to your instructor. Some believe in loyalty to a singular style. But, what about loyalty to yourself? Can you have any other loyalty if you do not first find loyalty within?
If we focused more on loyalty, we might find success or happiness. Yet, we say one thing, and do another. We listen, but disregard what we hear. We start one goal, but leave it behind after a brief attempt. Why are we so easily thwarted? Why does our view of ourselves clash with who we really want to be?
I would argue that in our society today, we have lost our sense of loyalty. Even in martial arts, loyalty is often disregarded or underestimated. Loyalty to self suffers, too. Only if you are loyal to yourself first can you ever accept the commitment and responsibility necessary to learn a martial art, or to live a powerful life. Lack of loyalty to self unlocks the key to the disharmony and lack of commitment in our lives.
Loyalty to self suffers because there are so many options and choices. Where do I grab my next cup of coffee? What kind of smart phone do I have? Where and how do I shop? We are inundated with topics, products, and information that throws us into a frenzy. All of these options are so over-stimulating that we lose track of one to the next.
That is why loyalty to self is so important. When you stay true to who you are, you follow a forward moving path. You may deviate here and there, but you are always drawn back, just like the martial artist who is continually drawn back to his practice. Loyalty to self means that you want to be the best that you can be. You are willing to improve yourself because you know that your potential has hardly been tapped.
Sometimes, your self-loyalty wavers because of other people or circumstances. You have to remember that even those with your best interests at heart may not understand your personal plan. Many times in my life I have faced obstacles that others believed I could not overcome. not because they were mean, but because they did not understand. I knew differently and I remained loyal to my self.
Being a home school family back in the 1990’s was unacceptable to most. We could not see education any other way. It all started when we were told our first child had to take a 30 minute bus ride to kindergarten. Putting our kindergartner on a 30 minute bus trip every morning to go to school prompted us to look for other alternatives.
From there, we realized that homeschooling was the best education for our children. Learning through experiences and interests made sense. Our extended families did not understand, nor did society at that time. Everything was a battle, but we pushed through because we were loyal to our vision. We trusted our instincts and were loyal to who we were. Today, my children, ages 23, 18, 16, and 14 are self-sufficient individuals with strong ideals, common-sense, and are high achievers. The plan, and the loyalty, paid off.
In martial arts, trust develops between a student and his or her instructor. When that relationship develops, loyalty develops, too. The student decides that he is in the right place for his training and will follow through. It is not always easy. Not every student can remain committed for long periods of time. Those who do, however, find loyalty, and even though this loyalty cannot easily be defined, they know that it is very, very important.
As you walk through the moments, days, and hours of your life, ask yourself in what direction you are drawn. Be loyal to your thoughts and follow through, just as the martial artist follows through on his plan. Loyalty forces us to think and make decisions. For the martial artist, loyalty is why he or she remains with an instructor. But in life, loyalty to yourself is all about believing in your own vision of who you truly want to be.
The Martial Arts Woman shares the stories and insights of more than twenty-five women in the martial arts, and how they apply martial arts to their lives. Unlike most other martial art books, the reader will catch a glimpse into the brave and empowered woman who dares to be all that she can be. Many of these women had to overcome great societal or personal challenges to break into the men’s world of martial arts. This book will motivate and inspire you to go after your goals in life and to fight through every challenge and defeat every obstacle. The Martial Arts Woman will open your eyes to the power of the human spirit and the martial art mindset that dwells in each of us!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea F. Harkins is a writer, motivator, life coach, martial artist, and public speaker. She is Internationally known for her positivity through martial arts efforts and outreach, and her writing. She is currently a contributor for Think Positive Magazine, as well as a columnist for Martial Arts Illustrated UK, The Martial Arts Guardian (UK), the World Martial Arts Magazine, MASUCCESS, Conflict Manager, Martial Arts Business (Australia), The Parrish Village News, and her blog, The Martial Arts Woman. Contact her for information on public speaking, autographs, and life coaching.