Within the world of martial arts, there is a concept that reaches far beyond the confines of combat and self-defense. While martial arts undeniably equip practitioners with formidable physical skills, they offer something even more profound—a path to wellbeing. Beyond the kicks, punches, and disciplined forms and techniques lies a journey that empowers the entire self: body, mind, and soul.
Martial arts are a fusion of physical strength and mental acuity, a practice that beckons individuals to explore the depths of their potential. It’s not merely a sport; it’s a way of life. Welcome to a world where discipline, self-discovery, and fitness converge to create a healthier, more empowered you.
Elevate your physical fitness, nurture your mental and emotional wellbeing, and even control your dietary choices through the discipline and influence of martial arts. By the time you finish reading, you’ll understand why it isn’t just a fighting style—it’s a holistic approach to life itself, offering the tools to craft a balanced, vibrant, and resilient version of yourself.
Elevate Your Physical Fitness
According to GymDesk (2023), martial arts is one of the better options to utilize Vo2 Max levels, which determine how much a person’s body can absorb and use oxygen and is considered one of the best indicators of cardiovascular fitness. It strengthens the muscles needed for a strong cardiovascular system, which can increase a person’s metabolism and can lower their risk for certain diseases like high blood pressure. It also helps build one’s stamina/endurance and overall heart health.
In addition, martial arts are a great option to increase flexibility and agility.
Flexibility is important for a couple of reasons: enhanced range of motion and injury prevention. A broad range of motion is important to execute techniques with power and precision (NESTA, 2023).
A study conducted by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that elite Taekwondo athletes with greater hip flexibility demonstrated higher scores in accuracy and speed during high kicks. This indicates the direct correlation between flexibility and technical performance in martial arts (NESTA, 2023).
Flexibility is an integral part of preventing injury as well. Flexible joints and muscles absorb impact and strain much easier and recover much faster. Regular flexibility training reduces the risks of strains, sprains, and tears during martial arts training and competitions (NESTA, 2023).
A systematic review published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy highlighted the positive effects of flexibility training in injury prevention among athletes, including martial artists. The study concluded that a combination of static and dynamic stretching significantly reduces the risk of overuse injuries and muscle strains (NESTA, 2023).
Discovering the benefits of agility is equally vital within the realm of martial arts. Remaining agile through drills and repetitive practice helps develop better reflex responses. This is especially useful in situations where split second response times are important. Agility equates to the connection between your mind and body – being able to read your opponents’ moves, process them, and react/counter them as appropriate.
Our program is equipped with drills that address each one of these physical fitness aspects – as you move through the challenges, you will find techniques that will get more progressively difficult and challenge you as you ascend through the ranks. You will see your fitness levels increase, your flexibility expand, and your agility rise.
Nurture Your Mental and Emotional Well-Being
While martial arts boast several different physical benefits, many overlook the mental and emotional benefits that are inherent with the practice.
Perhaps one of the first that comes to mind is discipline. Regular martial arts training requires discipline but beyond that, discipline is the idea that we can control our emotions, desires, and reactions. As we learn the concept within martial arts, we understand the application outside of it. Attaining and practicing discipline both inside and outside martial arts is a valuable skill for both our personal and professional lives (Farber, 2017).
The ability to control our emotions, desires, and reactions allows us to have better control over the outcome. When we know that we have control over ourselves and how we react to something, our confidence increases, and our stress levels decrease (Farber, 2017).
Perseverance and dedication are other strong characteristics of martial artists. They learn to view challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles; crucial in minimizing unhealthy stress (Farber, 2017). Those who persevere despite obstacles are more likely to succeed in the long term and tend to have a more positive outlook on life which leads to a more enduring spirit (Farber, 2017).
Minimizing stress in any way is important; stress causes the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, as well as adrenaline, which influences your blood pressure, heart rate, eating habits, sleep patterns, blood sugar levels, fat metabolism and your ability to fight-off illness (decreasing your immune system’s effectiveness). Long term stress can also increase your risk of heart attack or stroke and contribute to depression (Health Link BC, 2018).
Regular practice of martial arts is proven to decrease stress, both physically and mentally. Through our drills, challenges, and partner exercises that you can practice anytime, anywhere, you can create a regular routine that will fit into your schedule. Because our program is so flexible, you can take your “personal fitness and stress detox” routine with you anywhere you go.
Control Your Dietary Choices
With our crazy schedules today, sometimes it isn’t so easy to take the time to plan, prepare, and cook a healthy meal. However, to complete the picture of a strong and effective martial artist, eating healthy is equally important.
We all know the facts: eating healthy can do everything from boost your immune system, make your skin glow, help you lose weight, improve your mood, reduce your risk of certain diseases…and a host of other benefits. So why isn’t everyone eating healthy?
Many people still view healthy eating as too restrictive, too difficult, and too expensive. While some of this may be true, there are ways to get around it.
- Don’t Be Too Ambitious. Change one thing at a time. Once you get the hang of it, add something else. For example, cut out soda. Once you feel comfortable with that, start decreasing your carb intake. Don’t do it all at once. It will become overwhelming, and you’ll give up!
- Try Something New. Find a healthy new recipe that you haven’t tried yet that isn’t too overwhelming. If you like it, incorporate it into your rotation.
- Enlist Friends and Family. Get ideas for new dishes. Sometimes it becomes too much to search online. Try something new at a friend’s house, maybe you’ll like it!
- Expand Good Habits. If you exchange a serving of veggies for something less healthy, sub it out for another somewhere else. A small exchange can make big strides in the long run! (Solan, 2022).
Utilize what you’ve learned with martial arts to make this transition a little smoother – the values of self-control and discipline are just as important in the kitchen as they are in the dojo.
The ability to make the changes that are good for your body vs. giving into your cravings is a big step towards eating healthier.
Also, eating healthy can be expensive but remember it doesn’t have to be.
Take the time to scour the markdown section of your grocery store for clearance items, and even ask your department cashier if there are any markdown items for the day. Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
Martial arts instill virtues of self-discipline and self-discovery, encouraging you to push boundaries and unlock your fullest potential. This newfound self-assurance extends far beyond self-defense, influencing your everyday life.
In the world of martial arts, we’ve discovered that the journey itself is as valuable as the destination. It’s not about becoming the toughest fighter in the room; it’s about becoming the best and healthiest version of yourself.
Allow martial arts to empower your whole wellbeing, guiding you toward a life filled with vitality, balance, and resilience. Martial arts are not just about fighting for fitness; it’s about fighting for a healthier, happier, and more empowered you.Top of Form
Farber, N. (2017). Positive Psychology in Martial Arts. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-blame-game/201712/positive-psychology-in-martial-arts
GymDesk. (2023). 12 Essential Benefits of Learning Martial Arts. Retrieved from https://gymdesk.com/blog/essential-benefits-learning-martial-arts/
Health Link BC (2023). Healthy Lifestyle Actions to Reduce and Manage Stress. Retrieved from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthy-eating-physical-activity/being-active/health-benefits-physical-activity/healthy-lifestyle
NESTA. (2023). The Role of Flexibility in Martial Arts. Retrieved from https://www.nestacertified.com/which-stretches-are-best-for-martial-arts/.
Solan, M. (2022). Why is Eating Healthy So Hard? Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/why-is-eating-healthy-so-hard#:~:text=So%2C%20if%20we%20know%20how,are%20expensive%20and%20recipes%20complex