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When seen on television or across the silver screen, martial arts appear a striking phenomena, an art performed with incredible force and daunting physical power. In practice, the masters and students we see in the classrooms and gymnasiums seem exuberant, disciplined and full of vigor. We often find ourselves admiring martial arts and their practitioners, but very seldom do we consider attempting them. For ourselves, we may wonder if we’re past the age where we could ever learn such an art. For our children, we ask if they are too young to comprehend and appreciate it. The truth, however, is that martial arts can be learned at any age.
Like any new physical routine, a person must first evaluate their past and current health in order to determine where they would like to see their future health. The great thing about martial arts is that no matter where one is in their current health, there is a martial art suitable to take them where they would like to be.
Kung Fu is more well known by name than content. It is a martial art deeply rooted in Chinese history and philosophy, brought to light in modern pop culture by cinema and famous martial artists such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. While portrayed in the media as a powerhouse physical force, an action staple, and highly combative art, Kung Fu actually encompasses so much more than that.
The aforementioned martial artists and films that they have starred in or inspired, can make Kung Fu seem quite intimidating. Yet, the art is not meant to intimidate, but to encourage and enlighten. The basics, which are founded in simple conditioning exercises and stances, paired with meditation that facilitate focus, can be easily taught and learned under a proper master. Learning Kung Fu, benefits not only the body, but the mind and soul, as it reworks the muscles in action and engulfs the self into a higher level of awareness.
Taekwondo is growing in the international spotlight, and is in fact the most popular martial art in the world with the largest number of practitioners. It is the national sport of South Korea, and an art with a very interesting history due to the Japanese occupation of Korea a century ago.
Taekwondo, like many other martial arts, focuses on several areas of effect, namely combat, self-defense, sport and meditation. There is a great emphasis on the legs, as the founders of the art believed that the legs are the longest and strongest part of the human body, thus the greatest weapon and foundation. It is an art that focuses on the development of strength, speed, balance and overall stamina, which is great for one of ambitious mind and body.
There is a martial art for every and any one out there willing to put forth the time and effort, regardless of age, gender, or even weight and current health. Practicing the arts does not only help to discipline the mind and body, but raise self awareness and security. Kung Fu and Tae kwon do are only two examples of a very diverse set of martial arts, a person only needs to look a bit further or wider to find one to fit their life.
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