Instilling Self-Discipline Through Martial Arts

By Carol Beck-Round 

Martial Arts Academy believes in a balance between traditional aspects of martial arts and a connection with the real world.

Photo caption: Martial Arts Academy believes in a balance between traditional aspects of martial arts and a connection with the real world.

Self-discipline is one aspect of martial arts that Chris Velez, senior chief instructor and Martial Arts Academy owner, aims to instill in all his students.

For Martial Arts Academy owner and Senior Chief Instructor Chris Velez, instilling self-discipline in his students is part of the journey to success. With more than 20 years of experience in various martial arts, Mr. Velez stresses a balance between the more traditional aspects of martial arts and connecting what his students learn at the academy with the real world.

For students, the process of learning self-discipline begins “the second they walk through the doors of the academy,” he says. “The process begins immediately as he or she is exposed to a structured environment.”

Because of this higher level of structure – unlike any other structured environment a young person is exposed to – the environment at the Martial Arts Academy quickly introduces the student to a certain protocol. “We have a required etiquette,” he adds. “Our protocol requires the student to address us with ‘Yes sir’ and ‘No sir.’”

In the hyper-structured environment of the martial arts studio, Velez stresses that there is a difference between discipline and self-discipline. “Our objective is to build self-motivated discipline, which by definition is to ignore what you feel like doing and instead doing what you know is right.”

The second aspect of self-discipline as understood by the student involves “focusing all of our energy on the task at hand to accomplish correctly the first time,” he explains. “Too many times, the student is not completely focused. The mind may be wandering from what he or she needs to do after class to somewhere else he or she might want to be at the moment. To get it right the first time, the student must be completely focused on the task at hand. I had an instructor who said, ‘You can get through life twice as fast if you do it correctly the first time.’”

The third aspect of self-discipline “is doing things without being told.” Velez adds, “Our goal is to get our students to think about self-discipline. In the academy, they are constantly reminded through proper etiquette. In other words, they practice each time they come here, and they are reminded at home.”

Parents become involved by reinforcing what their children learn at the academy. “We call it a ‘Black Belt’ attitude, with attributes of self-discipline, respect, leading by a positive example and focus – always trying. It’s a continual effort to be an example to others.”

“Black belt training is more than a workout, exercise or fitness program,” he explains. “It is about total health, self-confidence and discipline. We strive to help students become leaders not only in our academy, but also at home, in school, at work and within the community. This is the true meaning of the rank Black Belt Leader.”

Student training requires encouragement and reinforcement each time they attend a class. “We reinforce the idea that self-discipline is a requirement for success. It is also a muscle that requires a workout and with practice, it grows stronger,” he adds.

For more information, contact Martial Arts Academy in Owasso at (918) 376-9080 or in Tulsa at (918) 622-5425 or visit

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