As I get older I see martial arts training so differently than as a young child. As a young karateka I focused only on the physical movements of martial arts. All along I did not realize that my mind was constantly being stimulated through the movements I was learning. The physical and mental aspects of training complement each other beautifully.
I clearly see adult and children karate students being forced to think. How to work the c step, how to cross your hands when blocking, proper breathing, and so on. Mundane exercises do not even come close to the stimulation you get in the dojo. It’s amazing to me that some of the exercises we do can be seen in rehabilitation sessions for people that have suffered from a stroke and those that have learning disabilities.
Kata and other karate movements are brain-based learning that can increase bilateral coordination skills. The basic exercise of crossing the midline of your body can be a huge challenge and help increase the mapping of the brain.
Some see what we do as simply self-defense or physical fitness. If you really unpack it you will find it all starts with the mind.
Sensei Dean Mace