Life Lessons from the Martial Arts- Movement is Medicine

Myron Gaudet
3 min readJul 12, 2022

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“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” -Carol Welch

One of the foundational principles in any martial art is learning how to move efficiently and effectively to execute the techniques and principles that the art teaches. Some of these movements are strenuous, and some are more graceful. Some require a great degree of flexibility depending on the art, and some simply depend on shifting weight at the right time to maximize strength and power. In all their grace, the martial arts cover the full spectrum of human movement.

The opposite of movement is stagnation. In all martial arts, as in life principles, stagnation leads to atrophy and death. Movement equals change, adaptation, and life. Movement has the power to invigorate and energize the body and mind. Lack of movement heavily contributes to poor health and disease.

The human body is at its best when engaged in movement with purpose and intent. The martial artist also realizes that significant mental shifts can also be triggered by movement. The body and mind are inextricably linked, and affect each other to a degree that science is now just beginning to better understand. Movement generates energy, breaks up static patterns, and gets the mind into action. Movement can also positively affect mood, emotional state, long term health, and overall attitude.

One of the master keys to living longer and healthier is to move daily, even when you don’t necessarily feel like it. Your energy levels will quickly rise to the moment, and most of the time, you’ll feel much better. The martial arts provide a regimented physical method to initiate daily movement. Practice often. Exercise often. Challenge yourself with skills that are simple and with those that are more complex and difficult. There is benefit in both. Simple movement skills include running, walking, and basic calisthenics. More complex movement skills involve things like weapons training, punching, kicking, grappling, stretching, gymnastics, yoga, & balance drills. This variety will ensure that your routine never gets boring and is sustainable for the rest of your life.

In addition to the body, movement also applies to the mind. Static and unyielding thought patterns lead to dogmatic, stuck states that keep us imprisoned in our own heads, doomed to repeat the same patterns over and over. Martial artists strive to overcome such states, and constantly engage in positive inner dialogue, intellectual stimulation, and inner challenges that ensure the mind is always moving and adapting. Reading, journaling, meditation, puzzles, visualization exercises, strategic gaming, & intently listening to music are some examples of how we can keep the mind in motion.

In terms of illness and injury, movement often is the key to a quick recovery. In this way, it is absolutely medicinal. On many occasions, when I felt a minor illness coming on, I immediately got to work moving around, stretching a bit, practicing my art, and going for a walk outside. Once I got the energy flowing, I felt much better. In the case of minor injuries, my experience has been much the same. Movement doesn’t allow the body to become stagnant, but when sensibly incorporated, assists in the natural healing process.

Move with purpose every day. Exercise mind and body consistently. Your life and health will definitely improve because of it.

-Myron Gaudet

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Myron Gaudet

Martial Artist. Mystic. Traveler. Coach. Police Sergeant. Motorcyclist. New Orleans Native. Rescue dog parent. www.couragecombatives.com