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Balance Through Discipline

External discipline

One of the greatest benefits of studying martial arts is greater self-discipline and self-control. From birth, discipline is a part of the human experience. Imposed on us by caring parents and relatives, discipline teaches us to make wise choices. Teachers, coaches, law enforcement officials, and other authority figures soon add their influence. External discipline is used frequently to obtain compliance in the military, prisons, religious orders or any regulated environment requiring specific behaviors. It canbe an effective method to control individuals, but when the authority figure or consequence  disappears, often we realize that the behavior was just being controlled rather than transformed, or repressed rather than rehabilitated.

Freedom is born of self-discipline. The undisciplined man is a slave to his own weaknesses.

Internal discipline

As we mature, we realize the importance of self-imposed discipline or internal discipline. For example, eating well and exercising usually maintains our health. Building a successful career demands discipline of our time. Financial success requires the discipline to save and invest regularly. In our culture, certain holidays and rituals inspire us to become more disciplined. Birthdays, our annual reminder of the passing of time, can be an opportunity to acknowledge what we have accomplished, as well as what we have not. Without a doubt, the most popular time of the year for assessing our lives and vowing change is January 1st. The beginning of a new year gives us a fresh slate for new resolutions, and millions of people participate in this annual ritual. But well over 90% of us give up on our sincere and heartfelt visions within months. This confirms the need for commitment, follow-through and good old  fashioned self-discipline.

Continuous action

Start investing the time and energy needed to design the life you desire in great detail. Then take continuous action on that design, never stopping until you reach your goals. If you are thinking that this seems really hard, you are right. However, everything in life is hard. Being poor, sick or uneducated is difficult as well. You have a choice: Take control of your life, making it satisfying and rewarding, or allow circumstances and outside forces to determine your future, and ultimately, your life.

We must all suffer one of two things: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.

Discipline will keep you training when the going gets tough, when things get repetitive. Discipline will keep you moving forward in your practice. Discipline will get you to Black Belt and beyond. The journey to Black Belt will change your life.