The Top 10 Benefits Of Martial Arts

Learning a martial art is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It takes you on a journey that improves you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Learning how to fight is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to training in martial arts. It’s the many other benefits you get from training that make you the best version of yourself. 


Ten Benefits Of Learning Martial Arts

Ready to learn about the different ways learning martial arts can transform your life? Let’s jump right into our list:


1) Lose Weight And Fat

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Martial arts training is an extremely useful tool when it comes to losing weight and improving your body composition. Training in martial arts like Judo, Wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gives you a mix of anaerobic and aerobic exercise while burning calories. An hour spent training in any of these martial arts can burn up to 1,000 calories, making it easier to finish your day with a caloric deficit. 

Losing weight and burning fat is a matter of consuming fewer calories than your body needs daily, and the best way to do that is by combining exercise with an appropriate diet. Unlike other exercise options, like weightlifting or running, martial arts training never gets monotonous since you’re always learning something new in each class. 

One of the main factors that prevent people from reaching their weight loss goals is not coming up with an exercise program they’ll never get bored with. The ideal exercises for anyone looking to lose weight are activities you enjoy. Martial arts classes are fun, so you end up looking forward to them instead of dreading them as if it was a chore. 


2) Burn Up To 1,000 Calories Per Hour

kru non muay thai elbow padwork

Very few activities give you the caloric burn you get from training in martial arts. About an hour spent training can burn up to 1,000 calories. Compare that to the 400 calories you burn per hour lifting weights or the 700 calories you burn from running for an hour. 

Most people these days don’t have more than one or two hours for recreational activities daily so you want to get the most out of your time. An hour of martial arts training gives you a better workout than you would get from two hours of other common exercises like running, swimming, and cycling. 


3) Physical Transformation


Martial arts training gets you in the best shape of your life. Many martial arts like Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu give you full-body workouts when you train so your muscles become stronger and more defined. 

The physical transformation that occurs involves a lot more than your appearance. Some of the other ways training benefits you physically include:

  • Improved Explosiveness: Many of the techniques you learn while training requires using your fast-twitch muscles to move explosively.
  • Improved Flexibility And Mobility: Martial arts like BJJ, Muay Thai, and Boxing require you to move your body in ways you normally don’t. As a result, your flexibility and mobility improve. Many everyday movements you make will feel a lot easier thanks to your improved mobility.
  • Improved Cardiovascular Endurance: Martial arts training gives you a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, making your heart and lungs work harder than they normally do. This leads to various health benefits like a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes. Improved cardio also means you find yourself getting tired a lot less when engaged in other activities like dancing.
  • Improved Functional Strength: Martial arts training works most of your body, improving your functional strength. As a result, you’ll feel stronger on the mat and everyday activities like bringing grocery bags into your home will feel much easier.
  • Improved Fat Burn: We’ve already gone over the fact that martial arts training can burn up to 1,000 calories for every hour spent on the mat, but it also increases your metabolism. This means your body continues to burn fat and calories at a higher rate hours after your training sessions. You’ll have an easier time losing weight and getting rid of stubborn fat deposits when you train regularly.


4) Teaches You Effective Self-Defense Skills

muay thai push kick

Don’t be fooled by gimmicky self-defense schools that promise to teach you everything you need to know about self-defense in a few days. Learning a few techniques that could work in highly-specific scenarios might be useful if you ever find yourself in those situations, but that’s not the optimal approach for self-defense. 

Developing a deep understanding of fighting is a better approach since that allows you to adapt to whatever an attacker is doing. Instead of knowing what to do in a few specific situations, you develop the ability to figure out how to come out on top regardless of what the other person does. 

Martial arts training also teaches you how to maintain your composure and look for openings you can exploit while fighting. Some of the most effective martial arts for self-defense purposes include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Boxing, Sambo, and Judo

Let’s take a detailed look at some of the specific ways martial arts training improves your ability to defend yourself:

  • Gain Valuable Fighting Experience: There are tough guys all over who are known for being decent fighters despite having limited training. What those guys have is fighting experience and it’s a significant factor when it comes to self-defense. BJJ is widely viewed as the most effective martial art for one-on-one combat and one of the reasons why BJJ is so effective against untrained opponents is the rolling (sparring) culture. BJJ fighters typically spar after every class, allowing them to build up lots of fighting experience.
  • Becoming An Unlikely Target: Learning how to fight plus the physical and mental transformation allows you to perform better in self-defense situations while reducing your odds of being targeted by troublemakers. Most victimizers look for easy victims, not confident people who look like they can put up a fight.
  • Improves Ability To Perform Under Stress: Getting into a physical altercation is as stressful as things get, but martial arts training teaches you how to manage your emotions in such situations and remain calm. You’re more likely to successfully defend yourself when you’re able to make intelligent decisions during a fight.


5) Increased Confidence And Bravery

a boxing student

Knowing how to defend yourself makes you a braver person and increases your confidence. You become better at setting boundaries with people you interact with, and you’re more likely to step up to the plate and defend others if necessary. The increased confidence you get from training will radiate off your body anywhere you find yourself. 

You’ll be less likely to be targeted by criminals thanks to your newfound confidence that is impossible to miss. Your social interactions will become more positive as most individuals gravitate towards confident people. 


6) Improves Your Discipline, Mental Strength, And Focus

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Self-discipline is one of the most effective predictors of how successful you’ll be in life. It is your ability to manage your desires, emotions, impulse, and behavior. The more disciplined you are, the more likely you are to resist instant gratification in favor of the long-term satisfaction you get from achieving more meaningful, higher goals. It is a skill that will have a positive impact on all aspects of your life. 

Some of the ways martial arts help to improve self-discipline include:

  • Teaches Students How To Establish Realistic Goals: Self-discipline involves living your life according to specific guiding principles. It is something that is typically learned, not something that comes naturally for most people. Martial arts training provides an intrinsic motivation to earn higher belt ranks that take them closer to earning a black belt. As a result, students learn how setting smaller goals helps to achieve larger, more significant, goals.
  • Improves Self-Control: You’re probably going to be told to “relax” countess times when you first start training. That’s because martial arts is as much about using your brain to dominate opponents as physically overwhelming them. Over time, students learn the importance of keeping their minds clear at all times.
  • Provides Structure: Martial arts classes follow certain rules like showing up for classes on time and being respectful toward instructors. Martial art instructors typically don’t put up with disrespectful students, so students quickly learn they’ll have to be disciplined with their behavior in class. This will eventually carry over to other aspects of their lives.

Learning martial arts techniques requires a great deal of focus since the smallest details are what make most techniques effective. Not remembering simple details like what type of hand grip to use when performing a technique leads to students struggling with techniques. Over time, students learn the importance of being mindful and focusing on the little details wherever they find themselves. 

Dealing with adversity is a big part of martial arts training since all students eventually reach points they struggle with their training. Those who keep up with their training will eventually overcome these obstacles, which helps build their mental toughness. 


7) Puts You On A Continuous Journey Of Physical, Mental, And Spiritual 

student kicking heavy bag

Martial arts training gives you new insight into how much potential you have, leading to a lifelong journey of self-improvement. You might be overweight and out of shape when you first start training, then your fitness gradually improves while your body becomes leaner, or you might be timid when you first start training and notice how confident you’ve become. 

These little changes will leave you wanting more out of life. It will make you search for other aspects of your life that you can improve, just like how training martial arts transformed you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’ll start looking for ways to improve your life outside the dojo like acquiring new skills that increase your earning potential or skills that make you a more-rounded person like your communications abilities. 


8) Develops A Warrior’s Mindset

boxing student

You might be the type of person who runs away from adversity when you first start training in martial arts, but that won’t last long. Martial arts training changes the way you look at things since it gives you a positive feedback loop. 

For example, you might struggle with a specific technique for weeks before finally mastering it. Regularly overcoming such obstacles increases your mental toughness and changes the way you view adversity. Instead of running away from uncomfortable things or situations, you’ll find yourself looking forward to overcoming any problem that comes your way just like you’ve done countless times during your training. That’s the way of the warrior. 


9) Increases Energy Levels And Reduces Stress

amir khan throws a punch in the ring

Burning lots of calories while training martial arts might sound like something that will leave you drained for the rest of the day, but that’s not how that works. Martial arts training increases your blood oxygen levels and heart rate, which leads to the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins. These hormones increase your energy levels and improve your mood. They also help to reduce stress. 

Some martial arts like Muay Thai provide destructive therapy, a stress management tool that involves taking out pent-up anger or frustration on inanimate objects like a heavy bag. It’s an effective way to manage stress, particularly when you’re also getting the stress-fighting benefits of intense exercise. 

The workload you put your body through during your workouts will ensure you’re tired by bedtime. As a result, your sleep quality improves, which gives you more energy during the day. 


10) Build Lifelong Friendships

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Martial arts might be an individual sport, but they’re also extremely social. You’ll come across all sorts of people from all walks of life during your training. Some of your favorite martial arts heroes might even walk inside your dojo someday. 

The passion you and your training partners have for martial arts will serve as a solid foundation for life-long friendships. They’ll serve as a support system that holds you accountable when you slack off with your training and cheer you on during competitions. Over time, you might find yourself spending more time with some of them outside the dojo. Some of these friendships might even lead to something romantic over time. Cupid has been known to show up in dojos from time to time. 


Reap The Benefits Of Martial Arts Today! 

If you’re still considering whether to give martial arts a try, why not give it a shot today? New friendships, better physique and even becoming mentally strong,  you’ll definitely reap the many benefits from training martial arts in no time!


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