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Samurai Swords for the Heath Conscious?

Ok, before you abandon this article as a thinly-veiled attempt to sell Martial Arts equipment with a weak connection to “health”, let me say this first: I do sell samurai weapons. I love promoting the industry and encouraging participation. The question is, why? I own an ad agency in. I don't need an e-commerce venture to survive. So what's the deal?

I'll take you on a very brief tour back to my days as a 7 year old. Unhappy. Neglected. Broken family, you know the drill. But I stumbled into a Tae Kwon Do class one day, and never looked back. Here was a room filled with fit, disciplined, self-respecting people, and I ate it up like ice cream. It gave me focus, on-going goals, and the aforementioned self-respect.

Do I now believe that pursuing the Martial Arts is the answer to the health crisis in?  Well, yes and no. No, because there are many tools we can use to allow health to happen. Yes, because it's fun, and is based on the very tenants that 21st centuryis lacking: self-control, discipline, and respect.

Self-control requires discipline, and discipline is not something we gain watching American Idol and sucking down super-sized sugar drinks. By applying ourselves over time, and reigning in the urges that lead to the loss of health, we learn discipline. The study of Martial Arts is for me and many other people, a fun way to achieve the goals of fitness at the hand of discipline. More fun than repetitively lifting inanimate pieces of metal in solitude, or running on a gerbil wheel leading to nowhere. It involves other people, mentoring, self-mastery, physical torture that is exhilarating (certainly not boring!), and the effects of achievement carry over into every aspect of life.

Ok, so, samurai weapons, you say? It's true that placing a Japanese Katana in the hands of an amateur would be more than a mistake. I'm certainly not advocating that. But have you ever looked at one? I mean anauthentic Japanese katana? The workmanship of hand-forged and folded steel. The graceful lines. The beautiful fittings of silver, brass and iron, combined with the delicacy of silk and hand-made Menuki. Just holding a traditional Japanese weapon evokes a time and place that we as Americans can't really grasp. A way of life that involves more than raucous bar-capades and reality TV. An existence of discipline that brings rewards beyond what we could imagine.

My point in all this? Well, if you've tried the magic pills, the magic chairs, and listened to magic people, and still have not found a magic answer for your own personal health crisis, try something else! Heck, maybe stumble into a Tae Kwon Do class as a start, knowing nothing about what your getting into, but with a vague notion that it's going to be more fun and exhilarating that the pills and chairs, and it might just lead you somewhere new.

For me, I stumbled into my first class after holding my uncle's authentic Japanese katana at a backyard barbeque. I swung it wildly as a 7 year old, and a little less so today. But learning to properly use this magnificent tool, to care for it, to respect it, to wield it with authority and self control, has lead me to a place of, well, health. Now to walk by my study and see it mounted in pride gives me a perpetual reminder of the way my life could have gone. The general study of swordsmanship involves things most people never use. Patience. Certain muscles. Long standing goals. Discipline. All of these have lead to a lifetime of health and well being for me, and for many others who choose to step out and explore, and spend effort rather than money on magic potions. Deep know it can't be as easy as a pill. Finding health is a challenge, but it doesn't mean that it can't be fun!

Copyright 2006 Rick Lloyd

Rick Lloyd is a student of the Martial Arts and is passionate about encouraging others to find real health for themselves through exercise, proper nutrition and discipline. His study and appreciation of Japanese samurai weapons has lead him to pursue a business promoting the industry. He lives in NYC with his wife and two sons, and runs a successful marketing agency among other businesses. He is a proud Managing Partner of Swords of the East, LLC.