Martial arts training is good for you.
If you’ve been thinking about taking up a martial art, you’ve probably heard that many times. And if you do in martial arts, you’ve probably said it a lot, too.
But maybe you don’t know exactly why martial arts can be good for you. Or how many ways that participating in a martial art can improve your life.
The short answer is that martial arts training can have a positive impact in your physical and mental health in a lot of different ways. Far more than we could ever properly explain in a single blog post. But we can offer you an introduction to help you figure out if martial arts are right for you — or if you want a reminder of why you do what you do.
Here are some of the top health benefits of martial arts training.
One of the first and most important things you’ll learn in martial arts training is the breakfall. Your instructors will teach you how to roll, how to protect your head and neck, and how to distribute your weight when you land. All of these techniques are designed to help you fall as safely as possible and avoid major injuries. This is a skill that will come in handy in every walk of life. And will only become more important as you get older!
Once you’ve got the hang of falling, you’ll start to learn more about how your body works and how it relates to the outside world. These techniques and tips will help you to develop your hand-eye coordination and gain a better overall sense of body awareness. Martial arts can change the way you move your body and the way you understand it while you’re moving it.
Martial arts warmups, drills, and sparring are excellent sources of cardiovascular exercise that will develop both your cardio power and endurance. And this goes for all types of martial arts training. Even gentle Tai Chi training will get your heart rate up and can make significant improvements in your cardiovascular fitness.
Bodyweight warmups and drills, shadowboxing, kata, striking with gloves, holding pads, randori, and handling weapons are all great strength exercises. These techniques and drills will develop both your muscular strength, power, endurance, and tone.
Mobility and Flexibility
Many styles of martial arts will include drills and exercises designed to help increase range of motion in their warmups. And all martial arts involve techniques that will gradually improve your mobility over time. Punches and other upper body strikes work your shoulders and spinal rotation. Kicks work your hips and spine. Grappling works your whole body.
Physical agility involves the ability to move as quickly and easily as possible. Mental agility is about being able to think and react as quickly as possible. Participating in martial arts develops both physical and mental agility by teaching you to be aware of your surroundings and to react to them as quickly and effectively as possible, whether that involves kicking, punching, takedowns, positions, submissions, or wielding a weapon.
Focus and Mental Clarity
Learning about martial arts techniques and how to apply them to everything from sparring and competition to self-defence also helps to develop your mental skills. Martial arts training encourages and rewards focus and problem solving. Which are extremely useful skills that can be applied to every other aspect of your life, too.
Taking up a martial art can reduce the amount of stress in your life in two important ways. First, the physical activity will give you an immediate dose of catharsis. Punching, kicking, throwing, sweeping, and submitting are all fun activities that can make you feel powerful, get your heart rate up, and take the edge off of whatever you happen to be going through that day. In the longer term, martial arts training can also have a grounding influence on your life in general. In the dojo, you can train hard, work together with your classmates, and start to see the results together. All of which can lead to you feeling calmer and more centred in yourself.
Belonging is a basic human need, and it’s not always easily met in our daily lives. A good martial arts gym will encouraging working together with your teammates and supporting them. This helps you to develop a feeling that you really do have each other’s backs and that you’re all in this together. This sense of community can go a long way toward making you feel like you have a place in this world.
Taking up a martial art can improve how you feel both physically and mentally. It can make you feel more accomplished, more grounded, and like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. All of which can give your self-esteem and self-confidence a powerful boost.