Martial Arts students learn stillness. Anyone who has ever worked with kids will tell you that they’re always on the move. Then we become adults, and life moves so fast we never have time to truly be still. Stillness is not something we practice naturally and not something that comes quickly or easily. But, over time, Martial Arts students practice focus, deep breathing, and the lessons of Shaolin to develop stillness within ourselves.
Younger students learn to practice stillness each day in class. We pause to focus at the beginning and the end, and we practice drills that are based on listening and on focusing outside of ourselves. We listen and learn the lessons of the five Shaolin animals every day in class. Stillness doesn’t happen right away, and it reveals itself in small increments. But, after a while, you can spot the changes in a young person who understands the true nature of the Martial Arts.
For adults, stillness often comes through meditation in class and life. It almost seems impossible to “be still” in our fully digitized, 24/7 life. But it’s necessary. An adult’s journey in the Martial Arts includes finding centeredness through both movement and stillness. Grandmaster DeMasco, in his book The Shaolin Way, talks about the difficulty of meditation in our crazy adult lives.
“Instead of saying that you have “no time” to meditate – you’ve got kids, a job, many responsibilities – think of meditation in a different way. Meditations can be things you do all day, every day, that in a way clear your mind of stress by bringing you peace or joy, like spending a half hour at night reading to your kids, going for a run, or being alone with a good book. You will be ‘meditating’ without even knowing it: ‘meditation’ can be whatever works for you, as long as you remain truly focused on that task.
Recognize that you need to give yourself some head-clearing space every day, or at least a few times a week, whatever that means to you. This is vital to your mental health.”
Peace and Happiness
Here is the best reason to practice stillness through the Martial Arts. You’ll discover inner peace and happiness. Grandmaster DeMasco and all our SDSS Instructors are dedicated to helping each student live a happier, more fulfilled life through a journey in the Martial Arts. Grandmaster puts it this way:
“At the end of your journey, you – like the Shaolin monk – will hopefully find that you are able to accept your life and where you are, for better or worse, because you believe in yourself and your path, whatever that is. You’ll also be surprised to see that there are no real mountains in your way at all.”