Why Learn A Martial Art?

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By  (freelance writer and editor)


Learning a martial art can bring you all kinds of benefits, and unfortunately, most of the great benefits it brings you don’t occur to most people. It’s a wonderful thing to put your energy into and can help you to develop yourself in many ways. And in fact, to many martial artists, the main reason for practicing a martial art is NOT simply to defend themselves. Rather, it’s to improve themselves as a person.

To encourage and inspire people to get into martial arts, I’m publishing this piece where I’ll list all the known benefits of martial arts, along with stories from different practitioners of different martial artists who are glad to have picked up martial arts. In my research I reached out to many people and also put out the following query:

What are the benefits to learning and practising a martial art beyond just being able to defend yourself? Personal stories & all other comments welcome. Your submission will be published in a piece intended to encourage people to pick up a martial art for the first time.

I got some fantastic responses to that, and am happy to be able to publish them below. The main points people had (beyond just the obvious case of martial arts helps you to defend yourself) are the following:

  • Martial arts teaches you self control and discipline
  • Experienced martial artists are often, in fact, less likely to get into a confrontation because of their self-confidence
  • Practicing martial arts builds your confidence in all areas of life
  • Martial arts teaches you self control and discipline
  • Martial arts is humbling and good for your ego
  • It’s great for stress relief. When you’re sparring, you don’t think of anything else
  • Can be an opportunity to make new friends
  • Makes you more detail-oriented and improves your focus

Responses:

My name is Markus Horner and I have a black belt in two different martial arts. Tae Kwon Do and Wing Chun. There are a number of reasons why martial arts is a good idea. Particularly for someone with a low level of self-confidence or self-esteem or both. But before I get started I want to say that martial arts is not for everyone. It is not something for the casual, just check it out type of person. It takes dedication and a willingness to work at it. There is no certain body type that is the best. It just depends upon how dedicated you are willing to be. I am 5’4” and weigh 200 lbs. But I can still kick over my head with either foot.

Yes, martial arts is excellent for physical fitness and self discipline. It also teaches you self control. You have to be extremely aware of any situation that is potentially volatile. Anyone who is a red belt has to be aware of the fact that if you get into a confrontation on the street and cannot prove that it is self-defense. The DA can charge you with Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. By the time you reach the red belt level the law looks at it like you have enough knowledge and training to be able to kill. This is where the self-discipline comes in. You have to be able to turn around and walk away.

This is a subject that I could talk about at length. I was in Tae Kwon do for more than twenty five years. I am seventy one and still involved with Wing Chun. In fact I am heavily involved in the anti-bullying campaign. I recently wrote and published a book by the title of “My Do’s and Don’t’s for Bully-Proofing your Child.” In the book I specifically recommend six different martial arts because these are the ones that I believe to be the best for self-defense on the street if that becomes necessary. They are Krav Maga, Wing Chun, Muay Tai, Judo, and Aikido, and Brazilian Jujitsu. I strongly recommend using this knowledge only as a last resort.

I highly recommend martial arts as an overall lifestyle choice.

The number one reason overall that I recommend it is because an experienced martial artist is far less likely to get into a physical confrontation on the street because of the level of self-confidence that he has. He is well aware of his capabilities and does not normally feel the need to prove it to anyone. He/she can turn around and walk away with no hesitation and no amount of verbal provocation can push him into a physical altercation.

–Markus Horner, bullyingdosanddonts.com

 

Martial arts have literally changed my life.

I used to be a shy kid; considered myself an introvert, and was bullied in school.

At the age of 16, I decided to take up boxing, and then kickboxing and BJJ at 21.

There’s an awesome feeling (in a non cocky way), walking into a room, knowing full well that you’re safe, and if anything were to occur, you’ll be able to handle yourself pretty easily.

Martial arts gives you confidence, and allows you the opportunity to be a better version of you. This confidence transcends into other areas of your life.

Personally – I wouldn’t have the confidence to coach and speak on stage, if it wasn’t for what martial arts taught me.

–Khabeer Rockley, The 5% Institute

 

In my many years of learning and practising a martial art – I started with Wing Tsun and then switched to other similar martial art systems – I discovered many benefits and hidden gems in it.

In my opinion it first and foremost trains your focus, presence and body awareness. Whenever I trained with a partner after a long day at work, I was present. No thought was wasted on the next day’s to do list but I was 100% in the present moment. The martial arts demand all of you or you’ll miss your chance to break through your partner’s defense or receive a hit yourself.

Having said this I need to say that training MA is FUN. People take care of each other and know how to control their bodies to not hurt anybody. If this is not your experience, change the school.

It is also sport that trains you in endurance, strength and speed. In addition to that MA trains your reflexes which lets you trust your body’s reactions a lot more. I know that when something, maybe an opening door, is about to hit me in the face, my arms are up in no time shielding me in a smart way that not only protects my nose but also won’t hurt my fingers. I am also a master in catching things that fall off the table or out of the fridge.

Martial arts also demand and train mental flexibility. There are constantly new movements to be learned and trained which keep your brain active and creative. Yes creativity is part of this wonderful package as well: martial arts invite you to use you full toolbox of skills to apply it in unconventional ways and to experiment with your body. This is especially true when training with different partners. A large training partner needs a different approach than a small one and this constant adaption to different persons and scenarios challenges your wits, skills and creativity.

Last but not least, this hobby opens doors to new friendships. You get close to other people, learn your and their strengths and weaknesses on a whole new level and learn to trust each other. If this isn’t a wonderful foundation of a solid friendship, I don’t know what is.

I am a huge fan of martial arts and can recommend it wholeheartedly to anybody. No matter how long you train, you will learn something about your body, your mind and of course also some cool moves 🙂

–Maria Hubmann, mariahubmann.com

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