Graphic – How martial arts can change your life

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Training in the martial arts is like no other journey you will ever undertake.

Here’s my take on how it can transform us on every single level.

Let me know if I’ve missed anything . . .


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16 Responses

  1. Gunther

    I wonder how does martial arts helps you deal with daily verbal abuse from people especially those who criticizes you over anything and everything. It doesn’t teach you verbal judo

  2. Kai Morgan

    Hi Gunther, your question is really important. The best explanation of martial-arts-based verbal de-escalation “techniques” that I’ve seen is in the book (quite old now and a bit dated): Aikido in Everyday Life – Giving in to Get Your Way by Terry Dobson and Victor Miller
    They explain that there are basically six options in any conflict scenario:
    1. Fighting back, which is often done badly, and should be a last resort.
    2. Withdrawal – This is not automatically cowardly – sometimes it’s the best approach
    3. Parley – This is not a good choice in a life-or-death situation, or where your strong principles are at stake. But it’s good in a no-win situation.
    4. Doing nothing – This is appropriate when (a) you need time (b) you want to find out what’s really going on behind the attack (c) the attack makes no sense. It should be an active choice to Do Nothing – not the outcome of you being afraid to do anything else.
    5. Deception – Again, this is not good or bad in itself. It’s a way to deflect or redirect an attack. But it only buys time, and doesn’t solve the conflict. It has two forms: Diversion (change the subject) and Deflection (tell a white lie).
    6. Aiki – This is often the most flexible and effective approach to conflict. The essence of aiki is to flow and harmonise with your attacker.
    I will email you my private notes on the book in a moment, and hope they will be helpful.
    I actually wanted to also send you links to some really excellent articles on John Titchen’s blog, but for some reason the links are blocked tonight. Here’s part one anyway, in case it comes back online in the next few days:
    And as for my own views – I personally believe that you can’t really learn these skills properly by just reading books about them and/or practising “verbal judo” type responses in difficult situations. I just don’t think that’s the most effective way to learn and take ownership of such deep concepts.
    However . . . I firmly believe that if you train consistently in a martial art, you deeply internalise concepts such as kamae (stance), ma’ai (fighting distance) and staying centred; and many, many other key principles. And you also internalise the experience of keeping attacks out and defending yourself, at a very profound, visceral level. And because you are learning these things with your body, it is a very deep learning, which will then start to express itself naturally in your posture and demeanour. This then starts to make you less open / vulnerable to the kind of nasty, sniping attacks you are referring to; and as a result they will decrease and eventually stop. I still have quite a way to go of course, but can definitely feel a huge difference over the years since I have been training.
    There’s been quite a bit of research now into how learning is easier, quicker and more long-lasting if lessons involve the body as well as the mind. See for example:
    So in my view, it’s basically a case of get on and train. You then start to feel stronger inside, and become immune to petty attacks as a natural by-product of this. I believe this is more effective and longer-lasting, than trying to deal with the attacks themselves with verbal “techniques”, when you still feel fundamentally fragile and vulnerable inside.
    Hope that makes sense – that is just my own take on the matter anyway! Happy to discuss further by email if you like . . .

    • Gunther

      Dear Kai:

      I would like to discuss more with you about what you talk regarding dealing verbal abuse and learning fast to use your body. Your comments really hit home with me regarding my situation. Sometimes I find if just constantly argue with a bully, they just give; however, it doesn’t always work because they just don’t know when to quit bullying someone plus their bosses don’t hold them accountable for their actions because their bosses are bullies themselves, are friends with the bullies or they don’t want to take the time and the paperwork to discipline the bully.

      • Kai Morgan

        Hi Gunther, I think this is a complex area, and would like to take some time to reflect on it carefully, and give you a thoughtful response, to the points you have raised both here and in your emails. Actually I want to write a blog post on it, now you have got me thinking about it. In the first instance I plan to read books by Daniel Scott (Verbal Self Defense for the Workplace), George Thompson (Verbal Judo) and Luke Archer (Verbal Aikido). Just ordered a couple of these over Amazon and they will take a couple of weeks to arrive, so pls bear with me if that’s ok! Best wishes Kai

  3. Gunther

    Thank you for the information, Kai.

    I have one more question. How does martial arts helps you to relieve stress? When I go to a martial arts classes out, I seem to get stress out because in today’s fast pace society, everything needs to be done in a rush and nothing is allowed to go at a leisure pace in order to master it and learn from it even in defeat. I realized that it takes time to master a martial art; however, I recalled my parents want me to get my first green stripe on my white belt in a hurry. No one told me or my parents, you just can’t rush things in the martial arts and the way American society operates in a fast pace, no one wants to be left behind at anything and feel like they are a failure.

    On the website The Documentary Storm, there is a film called Jiu-Jitsu VS the world: I highly recommend it and the instructors verified many of the things that you stated regarding how martial arts can be beneficial.

  4. Gunther

    “Sometimes I find if just constantly argue with a bully, they just give.”

    I forgot to add the word “up’ at the end of the sentence. It should “be give up”

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