When did the world of martial arts first come alive for you? Did you fall in love as you watched your first Kung-Fu movie? Or when you watched your first MMA match? Or maybe that beautifully choreographed fight scene in your favorite action flick took your breath away.
Learning a martial art can only do you good. Of course, there is the obvious benefit of learning some awesome moves, but martial arts training can do so much more.
When you take up a martial art, the training you receive travels with you past the door of the martial arts gym and into the ‘real world.’ Martial arts training is purposely designed to improve many different aspects of your life, for the rest of your life. Here is how.
1) Practicing a martial art improves your health
Most martial arts are a form of full-body exercise. Which makes them an effective way to shed the excess kilos and keep them off.
The regular exercise you get from martial arts training sculpts your muscles, burns away extra fat, and increases your bone density. And that is just in the short to medium term. In the long-term, regular exercise will improve your cardiovascular health. It will also boost your immune system and optimize your body chemistry. You will enjoy these benefits all the way into old age.
“But regular exercise can do the same thing,” you think.
To that, we say that martial arts are way more exciting and far more efficient than many workout routines. Also, you get to learn self-defense and look good while you do it.
2) Learning and perfecting a martial art is pretty therapeutic
Most of us do not get to calibrate the difficulty level in our lives, which means that we are bound to experience some tough situations at some point or all the time. Tough conditions cause stress. Unresolved stress can affect us in many different ways. Thankfully, martial arts are a holistic way to improve our emotional well-being.
For starters, most martial arts require meditation, which is a great way to center yourself and put your situation into perspective. Also, you get to physically work the negativity out of your body. Few things can make you feel as good as kicking, striking, dodging or feinting your stress away.
Then there is the icing on the cake. The intense workout you get from practicing a martial art will release endorphins into your bloodstream. You will feel something akin to a runner’s high, which will put you in a great mood. Any anger or anxiety you had before your workout will be gone by the end of your session. All you will need to do is dial it up to 100 percent and reap the benefits.
3) Improving your skill level will teach you life skills
The most valuable benefits of taking up a martial art are not that visible. As an example, you will need patience and dedication to learn a martial art. You will have to practice a technique over and over before you perfect it. It may take time before you get it right.
It takes a special kind of persistence to do something over and over, with no visible signs of improvement. But you will have to keep at it until you get it. This is how martial arts teach you perseverance. Now you can use that newly forged steel will in areas of your life that could use a little grit and a hard head.
In the long term, perfecting your martial arts skills will build your character. Or as they call it in the ‘real world,’ soft skills. Skills that you will need to succeed in the things that matter most to you.
4) You will also learn discipline and self-control
All martial arts teach discipline and her baby, self-control. You learn to do the right thing even when your mind and body say different. This is how martial arts also teach people to push themselves as far as they can go.
Combined with patience and perseverance, discipline can help you to kick a bad habit, or achieve a goal that you thought was out of your reach.
5) Martial arts will teach you self-defense and most importantly, conflict resolution
It is essential to know how to defend yourself, but engaging an opponent should always be a last resort. You learn this when you learn a martial art. You also learn how to defuse a situation before it escalates to fisticuffs.
The most important party in any conflict you find yourself in is you. If you can control your anger, then you will be able to step back from a bad situation.
6) Martial arts are good for your brain
Perfecting your new craft will also teach you how to focus your mind and your efforts. This comes in handy in almost every area of your life: Work, projects, school, financial goals, and even basic stuff like driving.
When you work out your muscles, you exercise your brain cells as well. As your hand-eye coordination improves, so does your memory and your problem-solving skills.
We have seen how martial arts help to deal with stress. An added advantage of stress management is that the brain gets much better at finding solutions to problems. Think of martial arts and exercise, in general, as a tune-up for your mind. Does that mean that you will become smarter? To a large extent, yes.
7) You will get a huge confidence boost
You will develop a quiet, zen-like confidence as you master your chosen martial art. The confidence will come from the knowledge that you started something and committed to it. You will be proud of yourself as you become aware of your abilities. Your ability to learn and master a new thing. Your ability to be patient and stick to something. Your ability to execute that impressive move.
Your new-found confidence will be the hidden ammunition that helps you power through whatever thing you choose to tackle next.
8) Your social life will also get a boost
This will happen in two ways. First, your personality will become more calm and centered. It will draw people to you. You will have the skill set to develop, improve and maintain meaningful relationships.
Also, the people you train with will become friends, and in some ways, family.
Here you have eight great reasons to take up, continue or resume a martial art. There really is no downside to adopting this healthy and beneficial way of life. So if you have yet to give martial arts a try, there’s no reason not to now!
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