You hear it often (though recently not enough): Martial Arts can boost your health, mental strength and overall well being. It is a truism that many people pass by, thinking on the violence and self protection aspects of Martial Arts.
I'm pretty sure that's how I started my journey. I just wanted to be Bruce Lee and ensure no one could hurt me if I didn't want them to. But when I reflect back at the person I have become, the people I have helped and/or trained, it has been a result of my history and experiences over time. It has crafted me as an individual in more ways than I can imagine.
I met a friend in my early 30's and it wasn't until my mid 30's until he found out I was a well trained Martial Artist. I'm sure he was joking when he said, "You mean all these times we went out to party I could have been a complete drunken as@@@le and never had to worry because i knew you had my back?!?!?".
I replied, "I always had your back, you're my friend, and now you know that I really did have your back and you are a better person for not taking advantage of that."
I think the mental development happens through osmosis, through the training and overall commitment you make to yourself on this journey. Something to think about for those interested in trying martial arts and worried that they just don't think they can handle the physicality.
As Bruce Lee said (OK, loosely translated he said), "A great Martial Artist is an average man, with laser focus".
Here is a great video on Female Buddhist Monks on Kung Fu training, recently posted on CNN: