Dan Couzens Martial Arts Explored, Self Development



The styles of Bushido are not easy to learn. It takes time to grasp the fundamentals and longer still to execute the more advanced techniques…

Easy, means that you already have the capability to carry out the task. Hard means you are going to have to push your self or you don’t yet have the capability to carry out the task.

If something is easy then it does not require you to adapt and change, it does not require you to put in effort or summon any willpower. If something is hard then it is the exact opposite, the challenge is where the magic happens.

“Nothing worthwhile is ever easy” anon


I have often said to the instructors at Bushido Bristol that the reason we train is because we want to change, but remember, the last thing we want to do is change!

We want the reward but seldom find the strength of will to put in the effort. The people who are on the path of self-growth and who are driven to achieve something that they feel is important, know the reward of self-growth far out ways the effort.

It is common to want to achieve something and have dreams to aspire to, what is uncommon is to actually do it. Someone who exhibits the necessary behavior and works daily towards whatever their goals are is rare. It is also what I love about real martial arts training. We encourage this every week, to make a decision to achieve and then put a process into practice to get there; small incremental patient steps.


If you are watching and observing you will see that there are recurring cycles in life, you can see them everywhere. Sometimes, unfortunately we can see when someone has fallen into a vicious cycle where each decision thought and action leads them to greater levels of distress, unhappiness, ill health and suffering.

What we need to work out is the positive cycle, where every decision, thought and action leads to greater success, harmony, positivity and vitality. Of course with each new day comes new challenges and this upward cycle is precariously difficult to maintain, that’s the challenge and is what makes it worthwhile.

The challenge itself will give feedback as to how you are doing. If you have the awareness and the courage to except what the challenge is telling you, then you are half way towards solving the puzzle. This is how we gain knowledge of ourselves, no one else can do it for you, and without challenge you will never find out what you are about.

Martial arts are about continually improving ones ability. You need have a vision to pursue, a drive to get there, a want to learn, the discipline to practice, the courage to perform, the openness for feedback, the ability to adapt, and the tenacity to repeat.

It can help to have teachers and mentors who you find inspiring and motivating, someone who can give you a nudge when you hit a plateau, and point you in the right direction when you’re not sure of the next step. The path of martial arts is well worn; the path toward developing talent is well worn. You maybe taking your first steps, if this is the case, having someone around you who has been there and done it can be incredibly helpful, especially if your goals are the same.

So go and find the teacher and the style or non-style that works for you. Dive in and give it your best shot. If you apply yourself, stay open to the feedback of the challenge and summon the will to go on, you will be amazed at what you will discover and achieve.

Dan Couzens