Martial arts training is among the most effective ways to fast-track your self-improvement. It teaches you discipline, humility, self-defence, etc. What’s more, it can have an unbelievable impact on your overall health. In fact, studies have proven that a regular training regime in a martial arts discipline can profoundly influence the quality of your well-being as a whole.
Whether you opt for Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), boxing, taekwondo, or anything in between, taking on a martial art can be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made regarding your health and fitness. At this point, however, you may wonder, “What are the benefits of training?”
Fair enough; keep reading to learn 7 interesting ways martial arts training can affect your overall health.
1. Accelerates Athletic Development
Martial arts training affects athleticism the way weight training affects muscle growth; it is a stimulus for enhanced athletic performance. And you will notice the improvements rather quickly because martial arts training provides an intense workout you won’t get from other exercises. This is not to say that learning a self-defence discipline is a replacement for weight training. It is not.
However, it is one of the best and most strenuous workouts you will undergo—especially with a discipline such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Additional ways martial arts can improve your athleticism include:
- Improves hand-eye coordination
- Stabilizes your balance
- Gives you a full-body workout
- Helps with flexibility and body-movement timing
- Increases your physical strength and much more
All of these benefits can be enjoyed when you take up a martial arts discipline. And the best part? You can experience these advantages with as little as 3 to 4 days of training a week.
2. Improves Social Connections
There’s a great irony in today’s world: Significant advancements in technology have connected us all in ways that were unimaginable only two short decades ago. This is an incredible feat. However, as a result of this high-tech progression, a powerful disconnect has saturated our society, colouring our daily experience with the shade and tone of isolation. What does this mean?
It means despite our interconnectivity, we are quite often lonelier than ever.
The solution: Human interaction. We need to converse, connect, and come together with others. The desire to do so is a natural part of human nature; moreover, it’s essential for our overall health and well-being. And martial arts—believe it or not—can help facilitate this. When you train in martial arts, your relationships improve due to the fact that you:
- Became part of a community
- Share a mutual interest and passion for training
- Develop bonds with like-minded people
- Experience the same ups and downs as your training partners
- Form friendships you won’t find elsewhere
- Connect with others in a unique way
You’ll experience these benefits more and more as you become embedded within your academy’s community. And the best part? These relationships tend to deepen since you’re sharing a unique journey (that of martial arts) with your training partners.
3. Enhances Calmness and Self-Control
At the beginning of the year, I was in the midst of planning an extensive trip to Asia. My world was shaking up. I was downsizing and selling my possessions, putting things away in storage, and scrambling to reorganize everything to prepare for this new chapter in my life. And one of the biggest thorns in my side was my apartment lease. After finally finding someone to take over the lease, all seemed fine.
That is until she texted me days before my flight (and the move-out date), saying she didn’t have the money to cover the first month’s rent in addition to the damage deposit—which we agreed was her responsibility.
Naturally, frustration was my first reaction. I felt flustered and infuriated.
However, I didn’t have time too much think about it as I was about to step into my BJJ class. So I put this annoyance aside to focus on training. And after an hour of drilling and rolling, I felt peaceful and relaxed; the edge had been taken off.
I calmly replied the next day, offering to cover her portion. Had I not trained and alleviated my frustration, I most likely would have berated her for her financial indiscretion. That would have done nothing to help the situation.
Instead, I was calm, cool, collected, and accommodated her.
4. Skyrockets Your Self-Improvement
A regular training regime in martial arts can fast-track your self-improvement. Why? Because training can impact and touch many facets of your life. Whether it be physical, mental, psychological, etc., martial arts is a powerful force for improving your overall health in numerous areas.
For this reason, it is a potent self-improvement tool you can use to strengthen your character and become a better version of yourself. Here are just a few ways that training can help with your personal development:
- Increases self-confidence
- Teaches self-defence skills
- Helps improve your social skills
- Makes you stronger and healthier
- Strengthens your mindset
- Makes you humble
- Challenges you physically and mentally
- Develops emotional stability
- Helps you become more assertive
- Cultivates self-discipline
- Is a great hobby that is both fun and good for you
The above list is only scratching the surface of the advantages of martial arts training. Few things are more beneficial—from a self-improvement standpoint—than martial arts.
5. Bolsters Flexibility
The older you grow, the more important it becomes to remain nimble. Your body must maintain its range of motion. Why? Because it helps you perform daily tasks, keeps your muscles at their optimum, and assists with preserving your overall health.
Now, here comes the good part.
Martial arts can help bolster your degree of flexibility. Of course, this will be dependent on the type of discipline you choose. However, most martial arts variations will improve your flexibility. Here are a few martial arts to consider for this purpose:
- Capoeira: This self-defence discipline performs its movements in a fluid, continuous motion. As a result, a reasonable degree of speed, balance, and flexibility is required; this makes it a great martial art to practice.
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu: BJJ will help with mobility with its various techniques, repetitive drilling, and sparring (also referred to as rolling within the sport). All of these aspects of Brazilian jiu-jitsu will improve your flexibility over time.
- Taekwondo: A kicking-based martial art, Taekwondo can drastically increase your level of flexibility. This is due to its many techniques and attacks that require a more limber and agile implementation. Moreover, instructors typically go over many stretches which are also beneficial to flexibility.
5. Increases Mental Stamina
Everyone knows training in martial arts is great full your physicality. In terms of full-body workouts, it has no equal. But did you know a consistent training regime can also increase your mental stamina? According to a study conducted by BMC Psychology, martial arts training can strengthen your cognitive fortitude, reducing the symptoms connected with anxiety and depression.
Consequently, this can alleviate mental distress and positively contribute to your overall health and well-being.
So if you’re struggling mentally and psychologically, try a martial arts class. You may be surprised at how effective it can be at alleviating your symptoms. And the best part? You have many martial arts disciplines to choose from. So before you load up on caffeine, coffee, or energy drinks, see how martial arts training can help clear your mind and bolster your mental endurance.
You may be surprised.
6. Emotional Decompression
Martial arts training is an excellent source of therapy. It serves as an outlet to unload the pent-up frustrations that tend to accumulate throughout the day. Think of training like a pressure-release valve. No matter what happens in your daily life, you can come to the mats and allow the physical exertion of training to undo all of that stifling energy.
For this reason, martial arts training is one of the most effective tools for your emotional well-being and, as a direct result, overall health.
7. Lifestyle Improvement
Your current lifestyle is a reflection of your current habits. However, there are certain habits that are more powerful than others; these are referred to as keystone habits. In his bestselling book, The Power of Habit, Pulitzer-prize-winning author Charles Duhigg describes a keystone habit as a “Small change people introduce into their daily routines that unintentionally carries over into other areas of their lives.”
And here comes the good part: Martial arts act as a keystone habit.
As a result, adopting a training regime can help eliminate bad habits, promote positive ones, and influence your overall health by encouraging lifestyle improvement. This is a significant fact! Here are some additional ways that martial can improve your life outside of the gym:
- Enhanced self-discipline
- More courage and confidence
- Greater focus and concentration levels
- A sense of humbleness and humility
- More respect for other people
- Adoption of healthy lifestyle choices to support your training
Martial arts training is a gateway to other, healthier habits. It’s like dropping a pebble in a pond. Think of the pebble as your keystone habit and the water as your current lifestyle. When you drop the pebble into the water, it causes ripples to move throughout the reservoir, affecting the entire body of water.
Which Martial Art Is Right For You?
So you see the benefits; you’re excited about the improvements that can be made to your overall health. However, at this point, you may wonder: Which martial arts discipline is best for me? The answer is… it depends.
Of course, I’m biased towards Brazilian jiu-jitsu as I am a practitioner of this discipline.
However, I understand that it won’t be for everyone. In no particular order of importance, here is a small list of some of the most popular martial arts out there to give you an idea of what’s available.
Most Popular Martial Arts
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu: BJJ is a grappling martial art and combat sport based on ground fighting. It uses submissions, strangleholds, and joint locks to control and dominate your opponent. Jiu-jitsu has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. And it’s easy to see why; it is one of the most effective martial arts disciplines available.
- Taekwondo: A Korean martial arts system based on kicks and punches, Taekwondo is one of the most widespread self-defence systems around. Also, more than a martial art, Taekwondo has been an Olympic sport since the year 2000, where it has enjoyed prestige as a highly regarded sport.
- Karate: Karate has been around for centuries. However, it began to gain prominence in Japan in the early 20th century. This martial art consists of the use of kicks, punches, knees, elbows, throws, etc., to defeat opponents.
- Boxing: A striking-based combat sport and martial art, boxing is a strategic self-defence system that incorporates calculated punches in sparring. If a hands-on martial arts training experience is what you’re looking for, then boxing may be the system for you.
- Muay Thai: Known as the art of 8 limbs, Muay Thai is one of the most dangerous, effective, and damaging martial arts out there. Practitioners are trained to use knees, elbows, kicks, and strikes to barrage opponents with a flurry of attacks. Consider Muay Thai if you want to learn a striking martial art with street application.
- Krav Maga: This martial art was originally created as an Israeli self-defence system. Unlike most martial arts, Krav Maga is not practiced for sport. Its heavy use of eye-gouging, groin kicks, throat punches, etc., gives it its no-hold-barred mentality. Therefore, there are no Krav Maga competitions, as it is strictly an anything-goes self-defence system.
- Wrestling: Many people are unaware of wrestling being a martial art. However, it is actually a very popular and well-known self-defence discipline. With a strong focus on throws and grappling, wrestling is both a standing and ground-based martial art that puts a strong emphasis on subduing one’s opponent through dominant positions.
- Judo: Judo is another martial art and combat sport primarily based on throws. Its objective is to execute clean throws, pin, and then overpower opponents. This process takes place with Judo’s various techniques, which use the power of momentum to use your opponent’s force against them.
- MMA (Mixed Martial Arts): Perhaps the most effective martial art in terms of self-defence, MMA incorporates techniques from various other styles into a single discipline. MMA blends grappling, striking, and ground fighting into one all-encompassing martial arts discipline. So if you’re looking for a combat sport that offers both competition and self-defence, then MMA is for you.
- Fung Fu: Kung fu is a martial art and a form of self-discipline. It stems from ancient Chinese traditions and is often associated with Taekwondo and Karate. With a focus on kicks and striking, this martial art is ideal for both self-defence and exercise.
Next Step: Try A Martial Arts Discipline For Your Overall Health And Fitness
When it comes to your overall health, training in martial arts is among the most important lifestyle choices you can make. The type of self-defence system will be based on your own needs and preferences. If necessary, try numerous disciplines to see which works best for you, keeping in mind that the important thing is to just get started.
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