Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
For some, the pursuit of Martial Arts means more than just the training in the dojo. For some, there is a strong desire to seek deeper education into Martial Arts. Some colleges, like those listed in another article Martial Arts as a College Degree, offer opportunities for students to gain a degree with the title of Martial Arts in it. But even if you’re at a college that doesn’t offer such specialization, there are still courses available which can advance your career as a Martial Artist. Here are some examples to consider:
Physical fitness/personal trainer: In many ways this seems like a fairly logical fit with Martial Arts as a career. Ultimately, what you are doing as a Martial Arts instructor is providing others with training and fitness that they can carry through their life. Physical fitness and personal trainer programs will also provide much needed additional training around how to properly target certain muscle groups and advise people on the best means to develop in certain areas.
Sports medicine/Physical therapy: For those more ambitious and desire an MD or higher level degree next to their name, many colleges offer medicine with a specialization in sports and physical therapy courses. Both offer a Martial Artist a wide range of understanding the body better, which should be one of the ultimate goals of a Martial Artist. Both training offers the Martial Arts teacher an advantage that they might be able to deal with emergency issues should such situations arise.
Economics/Marketing/Business/Communication: Ultimately, if you are making Martial Arts your career, you need to be able to earn money from such a career. Being versed in business or similar careers will allow you to understand how best to operate your business and get your training out to a wider audience.
Traditional Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture/Massage: As you study more traditional Martial Arts, the link between the subjects, and massage, become more and more apparent. All of them have some focus or emphasis on understanding chi. If you study the five elements, you learn that the same elements can be used to both destroy and restore. These elements, the meridians, and many other concepts are held similar across the various disciplines and can only strengthen your understanding of Martial Arts.
History (especially Eastern based): Understanding the diverse history background and turmoil which gave birth to early traditional Martial Arts can help you expand upon your understand of the arts overall. Much of Martial Arts is intertwined with the complex and lengthy history of the cultures that surrounded them.
Languages: As with the history above, understanding the language to which that culture gave birth of the Martial Arts will also help extend your understanding of the art itself. The spoken word is a window into the mentality and philosophies of the culture they represent and a means to gain deeper understand of the Art. Why do they call a certain form or technique by that name? Study the language and you might understand.
These are just some suggestions on various directions you can take in your collegiate training to advance your Martial Arts skills. Overall, living Martial Arts means to continually expand your mind and educate yourself. The Chinese word which represents a good portion of styles, kung fu, literally means to become a master – but does not simply refer to Martial Arts, it can be applied to any skill or training in the Chinese culture. Likewise, the pursuit of improving Martial Arts is closely tied to the pursuit of knowledge and one cannot master Martial Arts without first allowing themselves to gain knowledge and education from the world around them, regardless of what specific discipline or degree they may choose.
So go out there, train and study hard!