The martial arts are not just some kind of hobby or activity to fill your spare time; they are the oldest method of self-development. Long before Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu, Socrates, Aristotle expounded on the meanings and purpose of life, the martial artists had already begun theirs. Great thoughts can only come in times of peace and when there is a violent invader on your doorstep the martial artist comes to the rescue to bring peace once more so that profound thinking can begin again.

The martial arts also are not about violence either; though on the surface that’s all that many people see. In true martial arts violence is the last resort and never the first. To put violence first is to demean the true purpose of the art. NO! The martial arts are a search for truth. Which truth?

The truth about yourself. They teach you about yourself; your strengths and weaknesses, they teach you how to use strategy to avoid conflict first and if it cannot be avoided how to implement those same strategies to bring peace once again.

At their most basic level the martial arts teach us how to survive and once we have learned how to do this we seek to progress, not just surviving and existing like the meanest of creatures but to thrive.

To thrive is to live well, to have a good relationship with others and oneself, to understand the 5 intelligences of heart, mind, body, spirit and life balance. Only through knowing these intelligences and balancing them properly can we ever know the peace and purpose achievable in our lives.

Peace itself, particularly inner peace is not a fixed place in time or space either, as we grow older and live longer we experience change and every change seeks to create imbalance in our lives. This is why the study of the martial arts is a lifetime study and never a hobby.

Those who seek martial arts as a hobby can never benefit from all the joy that these arts can bring to our lives and neither will they understand how to implement the martial arts into their everyday lives.

I asked a high ranking martial artist this once ‘how do you use your martial arts in your business?’ he thought I meant he should be a gangster using his physical skill to beat his challenges and competitors into submission. He did not understand the martial arts deeply enough to know their power and what they can give you.

A true master of the martial arts will be fit, strong, educated, healthy, and wealthy and have good relationships with his family, friends and acquaintances. He will rarely if ever fight or lose his temper. He will not brag or boast or look for trouble, instead he will seem to glide through life. If he makes you a promise he will fulfil it though he may not be surprised if you do not fulfil yours.

He will be mentally strong but you’ll never know from looking at him. He will eat well, practice well and be continually enjoying the process of deepening his understanding. He will be respectful and courteous, a good listener and if he gives you advice you would be a fool not to listen.

In short, you will meet very few masters of the martial arts because most martial artists do not understand their art well enough. You will though meet those who think they are martial artists, boasters, competitors, those concerned only with image and the projection of success. This is ok, because perhaps these people are simply not on the journey toward becoming a true master of the martial arts; there is an old Chinese saying, which goes ‘do not despise the snake because he crawls along on his belly, for who is to say that he will not one day become a dragon’.

The point is that we are all travelling on our own path; our own journey and we are at different points in that journey, some further along than others. The key though is to recognize that you are on a journey and then decide on your direction. Will you be a true master or like some (in fact, most) and never move forward in your understanding.

If you never move forward I cannot help you until you recognize where you are and decide to change. But if you are ready for the wonderful journey that the true study of the martial arts will bring then follow me because we can travel together, learn together and improve together.

If you are looking for more than just kicks and punches, chokes and holds then come with me and I will share with you what I have learned over the past 50 years, who knows it may help you along.

Start changing your life by becoming a part of the Tony Higo’s AEGIS Black Belt Mastery Program and begins your real martial arts training.