World Black Belt Blog
Martial Arts: The Greatest Self-Development Tool Of All-Time
Practicing martial arts really is a unique activity but do people even realize how important and valuable it is?
Sure, it will get you in shape and teach you how to protect yourself and your family.
It might even get you ranked and recognized as one of the top fighters in the world, but if you think martial arts training is only about that, you need to broaden your horizons and get excited because there’s much more to it than meets the eye.
Remember Bruce Lee’s famous line: “Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory”
What is this heavenly glory that Bruce Lee was talking about?
If students really knew, they would never stop practicing martial arts, EVER!
A martial artist definitely has an advantage over a common, non-practicing man or woman and for many reasons.
You might not know it yet but if you call yourself a martial artist and practice regularly, you’re part of an elite group of men and women with unlimited potential.
You have in your possession a system for accomplishing all of your heart’s desires.
Martial Arts, more than any other field has a clear system of passing on knowledge from generation to generation: A Sifu. A Sensei. A teacher who’s ready to take you on a special journey.
The journey of Self-Discovery.
And what better way to learn more about yourself than through the practice of martial arts, but can this road to Self-Discovery be found through a typical classroom setting?
Back in 1995 we decided there was a better way to let our students get totally immersed in the martial art lifestyle. With over 25 schools in Canada and thousands of students to inspire and train, my father Sijo Jacques Patenaude, myself and my family set out to build the “Training Camp of Training Camps”.
There was nothing like it anywhere in the world, it was impossible to model it after something so we had to build it from scratch.
Before we first offered this camp we sat down and asked ourselves, “How do we make it unforgettable?”
It all began with... the location. It had to be unique. We didn’t want to rent space at the YMCA, a hotel or do the camp at one of our schools.
We wanted people to feel like Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon when he travels to Han’s Island.
So we set about creating a facility like no other.
The camp is set on 16 pristine acres and boasts a 3,000 square foot Japanese-Style Pagoda to train in. The view from within the Pagoda is serene no matter which window you look out from.
The mandate of the training camp is to allow students to transport back in time, to the age of the monks and reproduce a sample of the lifestyle that they would have adhered to, but before we could claim to have one of the best Martial Arts Training Camps worthy of the best Marines, Combat Athletes, Shaolin Monks, or just the common martial artist who wanted to challenge themselves, we needed someone to evaluate it.
A legend in the martial arts who could give us his opinion and who would be willing to actually try out some of the obstacles and complete some of the challenges we had in store for the participants.
So we called upon our friend and mentor, Bob Wall for the job.
For two decades Bob Wall was a force on the tournament circuit placing 1st or 2nd in every major karate championship from 1965 to 1972. Mr. Wall was also a member of the legendary quintet of Chuck Norris, Mike Stone, Joe Lewis, and Skipper Mullins sweeping the world professional titles for 1970, 71, & 72.
A Gene LeBell and Machados Brothers Black Belt as well as a successful Fight Promoter for many of the top fighters of his day.
In addition to his championship career in the ring, Mr. Wall was also the only actor to appear in three Bruce Lee movies. His most notable role was as the evil O’Hara in "Enter The Dragon" one of Warner Brothers top ten grossing films of all time.
The former Karate Champion, film star, trainer, manager, author, Grand Master and martial arts pioneer never allowed himself to be chained to a specific style or system. It’s been said that if there is a part of the Martial Arts world untouched by Bob Wall, it must not have importance.
Naturally, he was the right man for the job, and even though he’s well into his 70s, he accepted.
Two weeks was what we needed to make sure he could get a feel for the facility and give us his professional feedback.
The first day we had him complete an intense fighters’ workout which consisted of 6, 3 minute rounds of mitt work encompassing striking, kicking, clinching and take downs with a 1minute rest period in between rounds of brutal body tempering drills, calisthenics, hand balancing, and Kettlebell moves.
The beauty of having a facility like ours is, while you’re moaning and grimacing, the environment is smiling back at you with mature oak and maple trees, a massive Japanese style pagoda, beautifully arranged flowers and bamboo fences. The ideal setting to be training in. If you didn’t know better you would think you were in a temple in China. This harmony surrounding you is great for the soul and adds to the enjoyment of your workout.
Shortly after we were off to our 16 acre aerial park. The park is designed to challenge you physically, mentally and emotionally. It consists of traveling from one tree to the other via platforms, sometimes 40 feet above ground and tackling a certain obstacle which is designed to increase your strength, balance or agility while always remaining in the trees for the whole 2 hour trek.
There are about 50 of these platforms in the trees which culminate to the ascension of the big tower. A 40 foot, ladder-less tower with a 200 foot rope rappel are the only ways up or down this obstacle.
Couple that with an early morning Neigong (internal work) ritual and training to help unblock meridians and increase ones' ability to store energy so you virtually become an energy terminal or self sustaining energy generator so you can repeat a movement over and over again without strain or fatigue well into the 3600 to 7200 rep range.
Later that night we led a group of students through an age old ritual of walking on 2000 degree hot coals so they can learn to take action without holding anything back when one decides to accomplish or reach a goal.
Mr. Wall had never “firewalked” before but after successfully doing so, he realized the importance of experiencing it and why it should be part of one’s life path.
This was Day 1. Bob couldn’t believe it.
“This is cutting edge stuff. The group energy was amazing. Very challenging, practical and functional. I’ve traveled the world and I’ve never seen a facility like this before. This is a hidden gem in Eastern Canada. Martial Artists and Masters need to know about this place. In fact, if Bruce Lee was alive today he would be very excited about a place like this and would definitely train here”.
You can imagine how the rest of the week went.
Throughout history, monks, priests, princes, young warriors, and elders engaged in this type of pilgrimage to a sacred area to seek enlightenment.
The mission of the camp is to wholly concentrate on the training and focus on self-improvement, outside of any external distractions such as news, computers, World Wide Web or any one of the million things that occupy our grey matter.
The camp succeeds in allowing the participant to be at one with their training, and as such, make huge strides in their individual goals and abilities. Ultimately, exploring that heavenly glory that Bruce talked about so we can all lead happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives.
Imagine how you’ll feel after a weekend like this?
Our next camp is being held August 12, 13, and 14th. For additional dates and more information on how you can be part of it, visit www.FSDcamp.com for all the details.
Martin Patenaude is a dedicated martial artist training in his Family’s “Fang Shen Do” System since 1985 under the tutelage of his father, Sijo Jacques Patenaude.
Martin also represents Hayastan Grappling in Canada under the watchful eye of world famous Grappler, Gokor Chivichyan.
An avid collector, writer and traveler, Martin travels the world to meet and train with some of the best martial artists on the planet.