The Yen? The Pound Sterling? The Dollar? Not according to Tal Ben-Shahar. In his book "Happier" the Harvard professor defines happiness as the ultimate currency. That's all well and good but this is a martial arts blog. Martial arts are not about being happy they are about fighting...right? I think the answer is yes and no.
Certainly people can practice martial arts or a fighting system for self defense. In our day and age there are certainly easier ways to protect oneself and others. In addition once those self defense needs are met why continue with martial arts? What if after training for a period of years you found that you were, well...happier?
If we look at Ben-Shahar's ideas and compare them to tradition martial practice we will find that they share many common practices and principles.
Present and Future Benefit.
Improved Physical Health
Development of Purpose and Meaning.
Setting and Achieving Self Concordant Goals.
Achieving the state of "Flow" or Optimal Experience.
The opportunity to be Known rather than Validated.
Involvement in a Supportive Community.
The practice of benevolence.
So, just as a warning, if you begin training in martial arts to kick ass be careful. You might just find yourself with an account full of the "Ultimate Currency". You may end up too happy to care about fighting someone to the death.