As one of the oldest traditions in human history, Martial arts provides physical, mental, and spiritual development through an array of combat practices. Whether those practices are for self-defense, sport, choreography, or meditation, this custom can truly help shape the character of a person.
With exercise comes physical results. Practicing martial arts is one of the most physically demanding activities, thus exercising your body in a way traditional exercises cannot. There are many different kinds martial arts, each with their own unique benefits. Styles such as Karate, Taekwondo, and Judo build a great deal of strength, while also providing you with several health benefits. These practices can improve heart health, lower cholesterol, build endurance, boost metabolism, and develop muscle tone, just to name a few.
Other physical enhancements that can come with martial arts are flexibility and balance. A common phrase used in the world of martial arts is, “A tree that is unbending is easily broken.” With time, we as humans begin to lose flexibility. As our flexibility decreases, so does our balance, which can lead to a variety of injuries. Martial arts helps develop and increase flexibility as you are training, rather than specific exercises focusing on one muscle group. As a form of self defense, this teaches you protection through a wide range of movements, stretching various muscle groups simply within one exercise.
Challenging yourself to achieve what was once thought of as unachievable builds focus, and implements mental toughness. Taking part in any form of martial art demands a great deal of attention. As you continue to focus on the task at hand, you sharpen your mental ability to drive away distraction, thus improving the mind. Participating in martial arts can also enhance one’s sense of courage and self confidence, allowing you to face challenges head on knowing that you are more than capable of overcoming them.
Outside of the gym, these translate directly to one’s personal life. As you begin to advance in martial arts, your newly developed mental sharpness can apply to everyday decisions, which helps you tackle obstacles with a clear mind. Several studies throughout the 1980’s have linked martial arts with greatly improved mental health. With reductions in anxiety and depression, feelings of sovereignty, and behavioral improvements, it’s difficult to argue that martial arts are nothing more than kicking and punching. The discipline that can be attained can transcend to all aspects of life.
As Bruce Lee states, “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Often overlooked are the spiritual benefits that come with martial arts. The discipline necessary to master these skills can render great morals and values in your life. Characteristics like patience, calmness, and respect are considered achievements through martial arts. This can shape a frame of mind that brings much more happiness into your life, and allows peace to overcome any negative emotions that may be bearing weight.
Partaking in martial arts provides you with much more than just physical improvements. Proven to be a meditative practice, your overall state of mind also improves greatly through this multifaceted art form. Whether you seek to learn a new form of self defense, or simply just to start a new hobby, martial arts will assist in much more than you will initially anticipate. There are many various forms available, and I will not dare call one better than another. If and when you feel ready, research those which are available near you, interview the teachers, hear their philosophy and methods, then decide which is the best fit for you.