"How can Karate-Do help in saying NO to drugs"
By Brendan Musselman
Throughout our lives we will inevitably come across many challenges and hardships. How we decide to handle these difficult times is a continuous test. Some days, things will be going well for us, and it will feel easy to brush off small misfortunes. Other days, it will seem like the whole world is constantly out to get us. It is incredibly important to build up a strong foundation early on, to frequently temper our well of Inner Strength, to give us the best possible fighting chance against the many trials and tribulations we are certain to experience. Otherwise, you may find yourself submitting to defeat, being conquered and overrun by these obstacles. And people who succumb to perpetual defeatism usually turn to external coping mechanisms, like drugs, alcohol, or other unhealthy habits.
Karate-Do is a fantastic avenue for this type of psychological training. Experiencing stress and strain, in a controlled environment is a great way to train the mind, body, and spirit. Class work in the dojo also includes building leadership qualities. Practicing being a leader for your peers inspires confidence, and having confidence in yourself means you won't require external validation to feel accepted. You can more easily stand your ground in the face of peer pressure when social gatherings may include drugs and/or alcohol. Being a part of the dojo also fosters a sense of community. Sometimes when people are having a difficult time, simply having friends and peers to talk to or listen to your problems can be enough to stave off impulsive decision making.
Saito Soke says, "Karate-Do is about 'emptying yourself of bad habits, and replacing them with good habits'". When you commit yourself to this constant exchange, and the pursuit of excellence, you will find problems and disturbances feel smaller, and less significant. Life will become more fulfilling, and much happier overall.
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