To be Fit: Exercise the Body and Develop the Mind

October 2018


In his book How Children Learn, John Holt describes the way that young children behave when moving about in the world exploring and learning. They have fun. Their curiosity directs their attention. They begin over and over again. There is a saying: Zen Mind Beginner Mind. They stand up. They fall down. They stand up again. No pressure. Their learning and mastery of the world, their body and their mind is organic.


UKC Newsletter October 2018 001

(Sensei Altwal Kicks the pad held by Sensei FungSang)

For a young child there are no boundaries between

their constant movement through the world and their mental development as they come to understand the world. They are physically fit because it is an integral part of their nature to be active.

Guess what; our health and that of our children is directly related to physical fitness. In an era where people sit down for more hours each day than they sleep, it is clear that staying physically active is crucial to our well- being. We all hope to be healthy. We hope to be active. We hope for a lot of things; but what makes the difference is whether someone is simply interested or committed. Commitment is a call to action: interest is passive. A question often asked of visitors is: how long have you been thinking about taking karate lessons? The next question is: are you prepared and willing to get started right now?

There is an ad for a law firm on TV: “Hope is not a strategy.” So, since physical fitness is related to health which is related to thinking, we need to have a plan for action, a schedule for working out, and a commitment to following through.

Martial arts is a nice break from the routine of the day. Consider that most children, and many adults, spend all day in school, or work, sitting; and then come home at the end of the day to homework, or just watching TV and sitting some more. They need to do something physical. They need to schedule in a physical fitness class at least twice a week. Karate is an excellent way to refocus the mind and release stress while achieving the fitness that is a result of a martial arts lifestyle.

© 2018 Shihan Robert H. Mason