Martial art pictureIf you’ve never attempted any kind of martial art, it might seem strange to think that of it as being as more beneficial than any other kind of regular exercise. Some might even go so far as to discourage it for promoting violence.

But from within, it’s actually very different from what you might imagine. It is calming and promotes a lot of rejuvenating behaviours of meditative reflection, through competitive exercise.

Although it depends which method you choose to study, you’ll almost always find that martial arts are dedicated to training the soul and mind, as well as the body.

Here are some of the ways martial arts benefit the human existence:

STRETCHES

The stretches martial artists perform in every session work every muscle in the body. They develop balance, which is dependent on total inner calm, and offer all the benefits as those practiced in yoga.

BREATHING EXERCISES

An aspect of any exercise is being in total control of your body, and in martial arts more than any other. Properly breathing is the first step towards any physical activity. In a discipline as strict as martial arts, there is good reason for the extensive breathing exercises practiced. They prime the body and mind for action and are great practice for when you need calming down in your day-to-day life.

EMOTIONAL DISCIPLINE

When your hobby involves hitting other people (with their consent, of course), there is no room to let any negative emotions get the better of you. The slightest slip in discipline could cause serious damage to you or the people around you. A huge part of training is being able to remain in total control of your feelings at all times, which is key to a happy lifestyle outside the dojo.

MEDITATIVE TRAINING

It may seem unusual, but a lot of martial arts training includes some instruction in meditation. It calms the mind and focuses the student on what they have learned in a session. Most of these techniques stem from the same orders that promote self-reflection and meditation today without the structure of martial arts.

SOCIABILITY

It may seem like a very small aspect of the training but, as with any skill that is taught in large groups or classes, it’s impossible not to make some friends there. Social ties are rewarding in a very different way to singular personal achievements, but the effects are as profound and long-lasting as any other.

SELF-CONFIDENCE

It might not happen immediately and you might not even notice the change, but other people will notice it in the way you carry yourself, in the way you behave around others, in the way you treat people you don’t know. Being in control of your emotions and learning to discipline your body will come across in all aspects of your life, starting with a new level of confidence. This will improve with every achievement within your training, whether you get a new belt or win a tournament or just master a new technique. And all this is not taking into account the confidence you get from knowing that you are always able to defend yourself if you need to.

GENERAL PHYSICAL FITNESS

It might seem obvious, but some people forget that learning a martial art is more than just fighting. It is exercise that trains the entire body. Being physically fit gives you more energy and more strength to put to use in your everyday life. Having a healthy body makes developing a happy soul infinitely easier.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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