You’re never tool old for martial arts. We in the martial arts community have always understood this, but even the uninitiated are starting to catch on now. Thanks to the visibility of combat sports like MMA, the increasing popularity of masters divisions at tournaments, and the viral popularity of boxing grannies and nonagenarian black belts, the outside world is starting to understand that martial arts can be a career, a rewarding pastime, and a component of lifelong health and meaning. And with this new awareness comes a whole new level of curiosity about training and taking up a martial art in adulthood.
So if you’re an adult who has come to this blog because you’re thinking about trying martial arts, we have good news for you: it’s also never too late to start. The outside world might still assume that things like getting your first karate uniforms, tying a white belt around your waist, and taking a beginner’s class are for kids. But we’re here to assure you that intro classes are often open to all ages, and senior’s classes are also an option for certain disciplines.
Whether you’re trying to determine whether martial arts are right for you, gearing yourself up to return to training after some time off, or even if you’re just looking for a reminder of why we keep going, here’s a look at five ways in which martial arts training can benefit adults.
1. Martial arts are excellent for stress relief.
Life is hard and stress and anxiety are on the rise. A little martial arts training is a great way to take the edge off. Whether you’re looking for the endorphin rush of hard karate training, the catharsis of boxing with a heavy bag, or the gentle focus of Tai Chi, chances are that there’s a martial art that will help you manage your stress in a way that is healthy and enjoyable for you.
Martial arts don’t just give you a needed break from the challenges of life outside of the dojo. They also help you to develop the tools that will help you tackle stress in other facets of your life. Physical fitness and mental training like meditation are both effective ways to manage stress, and martial arts training provides both of those in a safe and fun environment.
2. They can improve your mental health.
As we mentioned above, there’s a significant mental component to most martial arts training. Most lessons encourage mental focus and thoughtfulness in everything from the movements themselves to the way that you approach your training. Some will even offer a meditation component. This emphasis on mindfulness in thought and action aren’t a cure-all, but they can be a great outlet for anyone who is dealing with these concerns.
But don’t just take our word for it. Although research into this area is still in its infancy, some recent studies are starting to show that martial arts training can have a positive impact on your mental health.
3. Training a fun way to develop and maintain physical fitness.
Getting and staying fit isn’t easy. And it’s even more of a challenge if you’re not a big fan of traditional gym workouts like weight lifting and aerobics classes. Martial arts lessons offer adults a way to challenge their strength, cardio, balance, flexibility, and agility – which are all key components of physical fitness – in a fun and non-judgemental atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for the intense warm-ups, practice, and sparring involved in martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and karate or the low impact endurance training of Tai Chi, martial arts training offers a wide variety of options for people of all needs and levels of fitness who are looking for a new way to improve their health.
4. Martial arts training can provide you with vital self-defense skills.
We might have to worry about the bully on the school playground anymore, but the adult world has its own challenges and dangers, and some sound self-defense training is beneficial to people of all ages. Martial arts lessons can provide you with practical techniques that you can apply to real life situations that will help give you both the confidence and skills to help to protect yourself in the outside world. Good martial arts training will also teach you when to fight and when to run, which is an important but often overlooked component of self-defense.
For more information on this topic, here’s a recent blog post we wrote about martial arts and self-defence.
5. Martial arts are also great for your social life.
We are currently in what some health professionals call a “loneliness crisis.” Making friends outside of school can be a challenge for even the most social adults. A large percentage of the population doesn’t even know how to start meeting new people. Adult martial arts are a great way to improve your social life for a number of reasons. Most training takes place in an encouraging and non-judgemental atmosphere, which means that you can relax and be yourself among new people. Martial arts can also be relatively non-competitive, because they focus on individual growth and achievement. Your teammates are there to help you and each other be the best that they can be, not compete against you, which makes for a very positive environment to build new bonds in. Finally, martial arts training introduces you to some of the best, coolest, most thoughtful, respectful, and interesting people you’ll ever meet, because martial arts attracts good people and brings out the best in them.