There are so many cool things that you can learn by taking a martial art. In this article, I will explain not only the physical benefits but also the psychological ones and show how this small hobby can completely change your life. A lot of this is my own experience with boxing and MMA and I think it will give you a good insight and more than a few reasons to at least give the sport a go.
Know how to stand your own ground
The main focus of martial arts is self defense. Therefore, you’ll know just how to handle yourself. It’s a sad reality of life but there are people out there that go out of their way to harm others, be it, bullies or muggers. Knowing how to stand your ground is a really useful skill for not only protecting yourself but also others. Think how amazing it would be if someone jumps out on you with a knife while you’re with a group of friends and you take him down. Learning a martial art will give you the confidence to do this and stop situations from escalating even further.
Increase your laser focus
Through martial arts training, you’ll be able to focus entirely on the task. Have problems staying concentrated? Get bored easily? Martial arts will help you stay completely in the zone. Kids really benefit from this training because it teaches them to block out distractions in class. It’s great for mindfulness as you struggle to think about anything else when engaging in martial arts fights.
Balance and Flexibility
You may not move like a ballerina but martial arts is amazing for improving your core strength and keeping you in tune with the way your body moves. This in turn will not only make your everyday movements more graceful but also the stretching exercises that are an important part of any martial art will help increase your flexibility and stop you from feeling so tight.
The social aspects of martial arts training are huge. Not only will you become more confident, but you’ll also meet a lot of people along the way. These people will share similar goals to you and you’ll naturally become friends in the dojo. You’ll also be invited to social events outside of the classes and it’s perfect for the natural introvert. The group training dynamic literally makes it impossible not to make new friends.
The way a class works is you have a burst of energy followed by moderate exercise. This not only gives you time to recover, it really tests your endurance and is way more fun than, for example, just going for a run. This will condition your body to give maximum effort for the duration of around. You’ll also feel as if you have more energy throughout the day and will no longer crash in the afternoon.
The thing about a lot of these disciplines is it takes time. You won’t be able to go straight in the ring on day one. You’ll need to build up to it and as a result, the sport teaches discipline. Usually, the length of time required to get a purple belt in bjj is usually between four and five years so you’ve got to be consistent and stay patient.
A lot of martial arts will focus on HIIT (High-intensity interval training) and the benefit of this approach is it’s proven to build a strong heart and cardiovascular system. It lowers blood pressure as blood pumps around the body more efficiently and you’ll build lean muscle tissue. Unlike a bodybuilder, you’ll be building more functional muscles through push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, etc that have a real-world application rather than just lifting a heavyweight. It’s not about vanity or looking a certain way, it’s about making you strong and healthy from the inside.
The last, and perhaps most important discipline you will learn from martial arts is mental toughness. It’s not easy to succeed in any sport but specifically martial arts, you need to build a particular frame of mind. You will have to adopt a ruthless and never quitting mindset. This will be done by finding your limits and pushing through them. You’ll have to get comfortable being uncomfortable and learn to do what needs to be done.