To me, practicing martial arts is one of the best ways to get know yourself. If something doesn’t work you’ll soon find out, so you have to change things until you find the right way. This inspires you to be brave enough to ask questions, to not be stuck where you don’t want to be, while also making you persistent; because if you want real knowledge you have to work very hard for it.
The way I see it there are two big mistakes in martial arts training. You can be too “artistic” and practice only the techniques within your comfort zone, which means you never test yourself under pressure, never confront your fears, and never fight. The other mistake is being too brutal and aggressive, and wanting mainly to beat others. All fights are different, the techniques will function differently, and if you deal with martial arts, you have to face your fears, your anger. You need the experience of being in a fight. If you’re not in the water you can’t learn to swim! But, on the other hand, your health and your nervous system can’t stand it if you shock them by introducing trauma too often. So, try to be real, and be smart!
Build up your movements gradually. We all can move in some way, but if you really start to pay attention you might see how little motion awareness you have. Martial arts practice gives you a great opportunity to increase awareness of your movements, as it puts you in a very complex situation. You have to pay attention not only to your movements but also to your opponent’s movements, as he tries to find gaps in your movements and break your soul. If you are sure in your motions, in every little detail, then you can more easily pay attention to someone else’s moves.
If you know yourself, you can be in the present moment. If not, the past will always pull you back.