Guest Post by Jamie Stewart from WarriorPunch.com
When I was younger and told people I studied martial arts, they used to ask me one of the silliest questions I’ve ever heard: “Oh, so you like to get into fights?” As trained fighters know, wanting to beat people up is a reason to get into counseling, not martial arts. All jokes aside, there are many benefits to studying martial arts. Here are my top eight, in no particular order.
Benefits of Martial Arts
Anti-bully campaigns are everywhere these days. But have you ever noticed that most of these ads tell you what to do if you are a witness to bullying, and not what to do if you are the victim? While many bullying incidents don’t go beyond mental and emotional torment, it’s good to know how to handle yourself if things get physical. This leads us right to benefit number two.
The one thing that bullies love to do (more than beat you up) is take away your dignity. If you can defend yourself, then you will be heaps more confident when they confront you. Take away that fear of not being able to handle yourself and you take away their biggest weapon.
3: PHYSICAL FITNESS
Martial arts offer a dynamic workout, with elements of both resistance and cardio training that will shed calories and build lean muscle at the same time. Although it depends on the particular discipline, most classes will feature stretching, body weight exercises and the practice of movements that improve balance, coordination, explosiveness, and reaction time.
For Bruce Lee, martial arts was “the art of expressing the human body.” The beautiful thing is that whatever you put into your art, is what you get out of it – both in terms of effort and style. Let me explain. Although you’re taught to perform techniques a certain way, there’s still an element of your style that goes into each movement. Executing technique flawlessly is made all that much better when there’s a certain element of you behind the strike. That’s why fighters who have tweaked the fighting system to make it their own are mesmerizing to watch.
Respect is synonymous with martial arts. Respect is shown to the martial art and it’s customs, the dojo, your teachers, to your training partners, and even to the people you fight. The respect I’ve learned in the gym has benefited me in many other pursuits. It has helped me maintain a certain humbleness in everything I do, which in turn has helped everything from improving relationships to advancing my career.
When you join a martial arts club, you’ll quickly realize that it’s almost impossible not to make friends. Between pad holding for your partner, sparring and group exercises, you’ll get to meet and work with lots of new faces.
And best of all, you get to meet people from different walks of life that you might not have connected with otherwise. They might be a different ethnicity, gender, religion, and so on, but when you’re rolling on the mat or trading blows in the ring, none of that matters. Martial arts form a bond that crosses all preconceptions and social boundaries.
7: LEARN TO ACHIEVE GOALS
We are often faced with daily challenges that seem terrifying, difficult, or just plain unsurmountable. In school, it might be a term paper with an impossible topic. At work, it could be creating a proposal for a client who is notorious for being hard to please. Martial arts can help dull the intimidation factor that these ‘challenges’ present. After you have the experience of getting in the ring and going a few rounds with a trained fighter — taller and heavier than you — I guarantee that term paper won’t be so frightening afterwards.
8: MENTAL FORTITUDE
Through pushing yourself to your mental and physical limits, training in martial arts develops a mental toughness like no other. Through each gut-busting pad work session, every tough-as-nails sparring round, through each fight and numerous gradings, I’ve broken through self-imposed limitations on what I believed possible for myself.
Developing a strong mind has allowed me to see opportunity in every challenge, and I now know that whatever the task that lies ahead of me, I can do it.
Learning Muay Thai and boxing is one of the things that I’m most proud of in my life. It’s presented many opportunities for learning and personal development, helped me make lots of friends, helped to maintain a fit and healthy body I’m happy with. Overall, it has brought a lot of joy and satisfaction into my life.
There are many more benefits to learning a martial art than the ones listed above. However, by sharing my top eight reasons, I hope to have inspired you to take up a martial art and start your own journey to a better you. Need more reasons? Check out “20 Ridiculously Awesome Benefits of Learning a Martial Art”.
Author Bio: Jamie Stewart is a Muay Thai fighter and boxing enthusiast with a passion for martial arts and fitness. When he’s not training, he likes to write about martial arts, health and fitness, nutrition, and mindset. If you would like to learn more, you can find him blogging at www.warriorpunch.com
photo credit: pixabay CC0 license Renair Carvalho photographer, Muay Thai fighter pre-fight. Two Muay Thai fighters in the ring. Students sitting in martial arts class wearing the gi by StevePB from Pixabay.com