Art of Self Mastery: Using Martial Arts To Become The Leader Of Your Own Life

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I remember being in the Army searching for a greater purpose in my life.

I was 19 years old, and I didn't have much that drove me at the time besides martial arts and fitness. At that time, it wasn't enough.

I was chasing my passion but I never felt like I was getting anywhere. I felt like I was just following the motions of life but I didn't feel like I was actually in charge of my own life.

Before leaving for the military, all I did was train regularly, go to hookah bars, & shoot the sh*t with my friends.

That started to become boring. I wasn't fulfilled, and I still felt like I wasn't leading myself in the direction I wanted to grow in.

The only reason I went to the Army is because my Mama pretty much said it was either that or go back to college. Going back to college, to me, was the equivalent of giving up and hitting rock bottom.

I was NOT about to hit rock bottom again!

So I chose the military with hopes I could find what I was looking for, which was a better sense of myself & how I could take control of my life.

Looking back on it now, there was one thing that did help me take charge of my life & that was writing my martial arts philosophy in my journal everyday.

My own wisdom, combined with the values I learned in the Army, helped me learn how to take more accountability in my life.

See, we're quick to blame life, God, or the Universe for the bad hand that we're dealt when the reality is it's our job to make the most of the cards we have.

Allow me to explain.

Martial Arts Encourages Self Awareness, Focus, & Adaptability

We live in a time of short attention spans & limitless distractions.

It's as if no one knows how to sit still & just be in the present moment. I too was the same way.

My time in the army forced me to understand the importance of focus. Focus when mastered can help you overcome emotions, problems, and obstacles no matter if their physical, mental or spiritual.

I had to endure a lot of challenges that were physical but at the same time, no one tells you about the mental and spiritual challenges you will face.

This is where self awareness starts to taker place.

In order to real lead yourself, you must also be aware of your own state of mind. If you try to make leading decisions while emotional, you can loose your logical sense of judgement.

As a previous Platoon Guard, we had a drill we used to do called "stressed under fire".

During this training exercise, our Drill Sergeants was testing our abilities to think and make decisions under stress while rescuing a casualty dummy.

Just imagine being in the woods at 11 o' clock at night, live heavy machine gun firing from all kinds of angles, with tear gas being thrown at you & your platoon... that sh*t was stressful as hell.

I’m not going to say I did the best, but there was a moment where I felt like time stopped. I couldn't hear the guns anymore, I didn't hear my team yelling at me. Everything was quiet.

It was in that same very moment where my self awareness & focus started to kick in. The moment I found a clear plan for me & my platoon to rescue the dummy, I executed. Then my team followed my lead.

As we we're getting close to our evacuation point, I notice some of my team couldn't hear me & others were distracted by the tear gas.

Having the gas on didn't make it easier for my team to hear me, and though it wasn't the smartest decision, I took my gas mask off for a brief second to get my team back on course so we can finish our training drill.

In that moment I displayed adaptability. You can have a plan but sometimes that plan can be derailed and your forced to result to different measures.

Your life is the same way. It'll be moments in your life where you feel like distractions & problems are being shot at you like live rounds.

There will be moments where stress & worry will make you cry like tear gas would, but it is your job to focus on your objective, become aware of your current situation, and find a way to adapt to the problem your are currently working through.

You Can't Lead Without A Community Of People Who Supports You

You most certainly can’t lead a group of people until you can learn to lead yourself BUT something I have learned during my martial arts journey is that having a group of people that supports you can actually make you a better leader.

Being a leader, rather its for yourself or others, has nothing to do with standing in the front & barking orders, it's being able to build and work with other people in order to achieve a similar objective.

I wouldn't have became the leader I am today without the other great martial artist I have met on my journey.

Meeting these different people allowed me to learn from their past, absorb their wisdom, and explore the things that made them successful on their journey.

They nourished me with not only support, but they nourished me with perspective.

As a martial artist, as an entrepreneur, and hell even as a person you need perspective outside of your own to grow in life because if you only see the world from your own point of view you'll find yourself becoming stagnant in your growth.

True leaders uses the perspectives, wisdom, and knowledge of others to get closer to their goals because using the past experiences of our peers can gives us the insight of the right things or wrong things to do on our own journey.

You Must Remember To Establish Core Values that govern your life

"Martial arts is not about fighting; it's about building character."

Bo Bennett

I have a personal ethos I live by and in that ethos I have specific core values I want to live by. It goes like this:

I'm a Rasta by heart & a warrior in spirit. I'm a master of mind & body. I'm a master of manifestation & creation. I aim for greatness and never settle for mediocrity. My wealth is a resource of my abundant energy. What I do frequently is my frequency. Wisdom, wellness, and wealth are the three pillars that guide me.

I wrote this ethos to myself the day I dedicated myself to martial arts & fitness.

I wanted to become a person who embodies the core values of being a warrior in spirit. I wanted to embody the core values of being a master of my own life by mastering manifesting and creating the idle future for myself.

I want to be a health driven person and also be a person who is on a constant hunt for wisdom because I understand that ignorance can be a silent killer.

I wanted to be a person that views wealth as a means of resources and not just a dollar that we spend. I wanted to evolve my perspective of money so I adopted values of wealth people that look at their money, assets, and network as one big valuable set of resources.

Having these core values built into my personal ethos gives my life direction and clarity.

Whenever I'm having moments of self doubt or feeling lost on where Im going in life, I always go back to my ethos to remember where Im leading myself to.

Last words on the matter...

Take charge of your own life today.

Whatever you've been doing that hasn't gotten you closer to your idle goal, stop doing it.

Those friends around you, those bad habits, that mindset you've been stuck in; you owe it to yourself to shed those things so you can take charge of your own life and live a life you're meant for.

The beauty is that if you're a martial artist, you have what you need to do that.

If you're not a martial artist but yet you want to use the wisdom of martial arts to make a change in your life, check out my second book, "Afrikan Warrior Wisdom: Martial Arts Philosophy for Self Improvement".

~

RastaRiek | The Martial-Preneur

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