Fighting Holiday Stress Part 1

Fighting Holiday Stress Part 1

The holidays are meant to celebrate a long year of effort with loved ones and to reflect and be thankful. Regardless of your religion, these events seek to bless us and thank nature for what it has provided us through our efforts.

Halloween and Thanksgiving both have roots as a celebration of effort, of the end of the harvest. It is a time to reflect with the living (and in the case of Halloween with the living and the dead). 

In America especially, we often place unrealistic expectations on ourselves, unrealistic expectations on others as to what that means. We can mistakenly focus on our event, and not the trade-offs those that we invite to our event may have to make to attend. We can mistakenly focus on what we are to provide them, or what they are supposed to provide us when they come to gather with us and can measure how much time they spend with us instead of being thankful for any time at all. 

Consumerism has turned Black Friday (a shopping frenzy once thought disrespectful and irreverent) into an event that now opens minutes after Thanksgiving dinner (are we just eating to shop?), to a black week, and now a black month. When does it stop? It has turned a perfect time with family into a hollow competition where at the end, everyone ends up with more stuff and less of what we crave: warm experience and camaraderie with one another. 

Our minds can become a whir tending to an endless task list with questions as to how you will address both the time budget, and the financial budget over the entire season. Days can turn into mindless car rides from store to store to store, picking up, returning, exchanging, seeking discounts followed by unwinding at the end of the day in front of the computer for some online shopping and reading of reviews. 

This behavior results in an often-hollow existence. Drug and alcohol use go way up, as do bail bonds, as does depression. This isn’t healthy, and it can express itself in dis ease (or the absence of ease). We wake up and wonder not just where the time went, but what we did with it.

Practice peaceful resistance to hollow consumerism. Look around. Enjoy your life and the people with you and the time you’ve been given with them. Be thankful and mindful.

Marital arts can teach you about your body and its relationship with its surroundings. They teach you how to breathe. Tai chi is especially good at this. It’s also a great way for parents to connect with their kids, husbands with their wives, and students with other students. Especially important during a celebration of harvest martial arts can teach you how to relax and reflect on your achievements. 

This holiday season, if you don’t practice martial arts, at least give yourself space and time to unwind and to breathe daily. If you want to try something more formal, find a local school that matches your interests and give it a try. Many schools including Kung fu Buffalo offer trials or specials around this time of year to help people through the stress that can come with the season.

In its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice (effort), not necessarily just martial arts. In this regard, the students we attract and teach are also more likely to contribute to a better society (through effort) when outside our school.


Confidence. Health. Awareness. Flexibility. Speed. Power. Discipline. Effort.

8-Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu is a rare, centuries-old style of kung fu based on nature. It is preserved and taught in its entirety the way it always has; in very small class sizes to guarantee proper attention is given to each student’s journey. Our class size usually averages between 4 and 6 to ensure every student is given ample opportunity to master each concept and application while surrounded by others at a similar level. It is a complete system that matches breathing, balance, coordination, posture with all aspects of self-defense.

This is the way.

Call Shifu Dan Della Vella at 716-341-3080 to share what your interests in martial arts are and what you hope to achieve before you begin your journey or to schedule yourself to sample one of our classes today.