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The COVID-19 pandemic has put health at the forefront of our focus. When our health is in jeopardy, we quickly realize how valuable good health is. While there are many safety precautions we can take to avoid and manage a COVID-19 infection, the old and faithful methods for staying healthy are still helpful. Exercise continues to be one of the best indicators of overall health and longevity. 

When it comes to martial arts and COVID-19, understanding how martial arts keep you healthy might offer some more motivation to get that practice session. We’ve listed a few ways a martial arts practice boosts your health.

Kick Your Immune System into Top Shape

The importance of a strong immune system has never been more clear than when a new illness is in the air. Luckily, there are steps you can take to give your immune system a boost so it can do its job well in times of need. A martial arts practice is a powerful method for keeping your immune system in top shape. 

A good workout, like the kind of rigorous exercise you get from a martial arts practice, boosts your immune system in part by boosting your blood flow. As noted in Health.com:

“…exercise helps to recruit highly specialized immune cells—such as natural killer cells and T cells—find pathogens (like viruses) and wipe them out.”

A good workout can offer an immediate boost to your immune system, so this is one situation where every effort really does count. One study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that aerobic exercise that’s done at least five days a week cut the rate of upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold by 40% across a 12-week period. With significant results like that, finding the motivation to get that martial arts practice session done won’t be that hard!

Lower Your Blood Pressure


High blood pressure is a common issue for many people, but can have severe consequences on our health. Particularly with COVID-19, it’s been found that high blood pressure can cause worse outcomes for those with the illness. It’s always best to do everything in our power to protect and improve our health, and regular exercise is one of those things.

Aerobic exercise, like an upbeat martial arts practice session, can help manage a healthy blood pressure level. A high-intensity martial arts workout can strengthen your heart, making it more efficient at pumping blood and thus lowering your blood pressure. 

Weight Loss with Martial Arts

Who didn’t gain a few pounds during the pandemic lockdown? There’s no shame in falling off your exercise routine or gaining some weight, but if you want a healthy body that can better fight off illness, keeping a regular exercise routine and a healthy weight makes a major difference. As more research has found a correlation between obesity and negative outcomes with COVID-19, the importance of maintaining a healthy weight has become clear. 

There are lots of ways to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, with the most important method being that something is always better than nothing. Whether you take up a martial arts practice or simply take a daily walk in your neighborhood, getting active is the goal.

Martial arts can be a fun way to manage your weight because of the mental and emotional benefits that practice offers alongside the physical benefits. Plus, martial arts is a great practice for simultaneously burning calories and building strength.

Taking Your Health to the Next Level with Martial Arts

If you want to make your health a priority, a martial arts practice can be the perfect method. At Premier Martial Arts, our goal is to make martial arts available to anyone who has the drive and desire to practice. Just give us a call or find a martial arts studios near you to get started on your journey toward robust health. 

Whether you’re an experienced martial artist or just thinking of starting out, motivation isn’t always easy when you train in martial arts. It can be helpful to spend some time building up your motivation with one of the many great martial arts movies—or maybe you just want a little entertainment. Whatever you’re in need of, we’ve got a list of the best martial arts movies ready for you.

The Karate Kid

Ask any of your martial arts fellow students or instructors who are over the age of 40—this was probably the movie which led them to join a dojo for the first time if they lived in America during the ‘80s. The film is still a classic. It inspired many Americans who weren’t familiar with the martial arts to consider practicing for the first time. The Karate Kid introduced a generation of young Americans to karate.

Enter the Dragon

This might be Bruce Lee’s most famous film. This film came out in 1973, though sadly, Lee passed away only a month before. The film is Bruce Lee at his finest. It’s also one of the most financially successful martial arts films ever made, spawning even more martial arts films through the 70’s and 80’s.

Bloodsport

This is a classic 80’s movie; not strong on the writing or plot but chock full of action. It was huge for the career of Jean Claude Van Damme, who inspired many martial artists in the 90’s.

The plot centers around a martial arts competition, held underground. It’s violent and grimy and it’s often cited as a film that inspired the popularity of mixed martial arts and cage fighting. It’s also fun for a retro watch.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

This film made martial arts cool and mystical again, something to elicit wonder in the mind of viewers. It moved away from the more violent films of the 80’s and 90’s. It brought some of the history and culture and myth back into discussion about martial arts.

The special effects were unapologetically unrealistic, but just realistic enough not to be completely ridiculous. No other film has inspired martial artists to increase their vertical high-flying kicks or try to float!

Renzo Gracie: Legacy

If you love MMA or jiujitsu, few other documentaries will inspire you more. The film is shot over many years, giving it a scope that most films can’t hope to achieve. It follows the career of Renzo Gracie, documenting his ascent in the world of mixed martial arts.

Rocky

Boxing is sometimes characterized as more of a sport than a martial art, but there is one argument for including this film on this list that can never be refuted: Eye of the Tiger. Don’t bother trying to find a more inspirational soundtrack to train with!

Beyond the famous soundtrack, Rocky is the story of a common man who won’t quit and fights against the odds. It was released during a low point in American cultural history, when audiences needed a character like Rocky. The film still inspires people decades later.

Be Water

This is a recent film. It’s a documentary on Bruce Lee, though certainly not the first. The name derives from a famous Bruce Lee saying. Bruce Lee’s impact on the world of martial arts and pop culture can’t be underestimated; this film helps viewers understand why.

David Blaines TV Specials

Feeling sore from your last workout? A bit too tired to go train? Watch five minutes of any David Blaine special and you’ll feel like you can’t complain. Blaine is a “magician” who is better known for setting up difficult and extreme physical and mental challenges. He has frozen himself in a block of solid ice for three days. He has balanced on a tiny platform very high above the ground for days without sleeping…then he jumped off the platform and survived. The list of seemingly impossible physical feats goes on.

If you’re looking for proof that the human body and mind are capable of amazing things, then watch any of Blaine’s odd physical challenges. You’ll easily be able to shake off your soreness and get to the gym.

Ready to Start Your Martial Arts Journey?

  Now that you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to martial arts, getting your real-world training started is the next step. At Premier Martial Arts, we welcome students of all levels to enjoy the benefits of this ancient physical art. Find one of our many locations nationwide to start your own martial arts journey today.

If you’ve ever confused different martial art styles, you’re not alone. Let’s look at some of the differences between two of the most enduring and popular martial arts in the Western world: karate and taekwondo.

You might be wondering which of the two is a better fit for you or just want to brush up on your martial arts history. By looking at the differences and the similarities of these martial arts, you can decide which you prefer. Just remember that there is no one type of karate or a single school of taekwondo. There are differences between Shotokan karate and Kyokushin karate for instance. While this overview will breakdown the basic, we’ll be covering generalities. 

Striking Differences

Karate tends to focus on hand techniques. Remember, the word karate means “empty hand.” This means an art of self-defense using no weapons. Taekwondo on the other hand—no pun intended—emphasizes kicking much more than karate. Tae means to kick, while kwon means to punch, and Do means “the way of.” So, we see in the word itself that the kick comes first in Taekwondo, literally. Tai-kwon-do: the way of kicking and punching.

Taekwondo is world-renowned for spinning kicks and high kicks. Crescent kicks, back kicks, front kicks are also used in karate, but taekwondo uses more than karate. Karate has plenty of kicking techniques, too, and Taekwondo does have striking techniques using punches. Still, this is one a major difference between the two arts. 

Origins and Language

Karate originated in Japan, more specifically, Okinawa—the island chain farther to the south of mainland Japan. Korea is where Taekwondo originated. Because of this, you’ll find that the languages within the two martial arts differ to describe common things. For instance, the lower rank belts in karate are called, kyu, whereas in taekwondo, they are called geup.

Interestingly, in both languages, the word dan is used to indicated higher level belts. This is because Korea and Japan are geographically close and share some cultural and linguistic similarities. Often in classes, students will learn how to do simple counting or pick up words in each of the languages depending on which martial art they are studying.

The Olympics

Taekwondo became a medal sport in the Olympics in the year 2000. It debuted in the Olympics as an exhibition sport in 1988. Karate is not a medal sport in the Olympics currently. There is a caveat to that though. Tokyo is the capital of Japan and hosted the Summer 2020 Olympic games there. Karate debuted as an Olympic sport for that event, but it’s not expected to be added to the Olympics permanently.

Weapons Training

The major taekwondo organizations lack a specific training protocol for weapons. Still, many schools incorporate some basic weapons training for advanced students. They tend to use weapons from other martial arts disciplines.

Karate has more weapons training than taekwondo. Shotokan karate uses the bo staff in some of their katas, or forms. There are five traditional weapons in karate, whereas taekwondo doesn’t officially train in any weapons.

Differences in Uniforms and Belts

The karate uniform is called a gi and the taekwondo uniform is called a dobok. Taekwondo got started as a popular sport later than karate; the uniforms for both can be the same in today’s martial arts studio. Taekwondo has moved away from the gi in some schools and uses something more akin to a shirt—this prevents the jacket from falling open if the belt is not cinched. Belt systems differ between karate and taekwondo and even within different styles and umbrella organizations themselves. 

Age

It’s hard to get great data on this and it varies around the world, but it’s fair to make a few observations. Taekwondo tends to direct many of their classes towards kids and youth. Karate does the same, but taekwondo is often associated with a lot of after school programs and the like.

Ready to Start Your Martial Arts Journey?

  Now that you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to martial arts, getting your real-world training started is the next step. At Premier Martial Arts, we welcome students of all levels to enjoy the benefits of this ancient physical art. Find one of our many locations nationwide to start your own martial arts journey today.

When something is popular, you can bet there will be misunderstandings about it. Misconceptions about martial arts abound just as with any other popular practice. The rich history and great rewards to be gained through a martial arts practice have made it a popular pursuit. Yet, unlike in real life, martial arts in pop culture isn’t bound by any rules or reality. Let’s separate the fact from fiction about martial arts. 

Martial Arts Masters and Hidden Mystical Forces

Can martial artists really tap into powerful mystical forces? Addressing this misconception about martial arts is more complicated than you might expect. You can find a lot of videos of “martial artists” claiming to use forces like chi or ki (same meaning, though the first version is Chinese and the second is Japanese) to do things which are basically magical. You will see these “experts” fell their “opponents” (their impressionable students) at a simple touch, or even better (and funnier) at a single glance.

While these videos of martial arts magic are amusing, they aren’t accurate. They tap into the idea that there are mystical powers at play in martial arts. This is an idea that has been around for a long time in the West, partly born of a misunderstanding of concepts like chi/ki and Eastern philosophy. Additionally, martial arts in pop culture has been heavily portrayed as tapping into these magical elements, partly because it makes stories more entertaining. But what’s the reality? It’s true that real experts in martial arts can perform some pretty spectacular physical feats. It is also true that high-level practitioners can control pain response and do other things which may look almost appear magical to normal people. However, the videos you see of martial artists making people fall by tapping on them or looking at them are either fake or they are videos of what amounts to hypnotism. In other words, the instructor has convinced the students of their magical ability and so the students subconsciously “play along” with the exhibition, though they may genuinely believe it. 

The idea of ki/chi is a very complex idea. It’s wrapped up in martial arts and it shouldn’t be made into a silly sideshow. However, it doesn’t emanate from the eyes of an instructor and knock you unconscious. Luckily, when it comes to this misconception about martial arts, you won’t have to worry about finding out these types of instructors in the real world—they lose their credibility fairy fast.

Nunchucks and Ninja Stars

For our next misconception about martial arts, we’re looking to the weaponry martial artists are often associated with. Movies, especially older ones, used to always portray karate specialists flinging nunchucks around. The reality is that learning traditional weapons usually comes later in martial arts training. Some schools don’t train with weapons at all, while others reserve training for special classes or for certain belt levels.

Remember, the word karate literally translates to “open hand” or “empty hand.” The point of karate is to be able to defend without a weapon. If you want to learn nunchucks, don’t expect to show up at your first martial arts class and be given access to an armory of weapons. Many martial arts don’t use weapons at all in any training. Those that do are exceedingly careful about the process. This is one myth that comes directly from martial arts in pop culture.  

Kids and Adults Who Learn Martial Arts Become Bullies

For our next misconception about martial arts, we’ll call this one the “Cobra Kai” myth. You send your kid to martial arts class and they come back a mean bully who abuses all their classmates and friends. The reality? For most people, young and old, martial arts training increases compassion and makes participants more aware of the potential downsides of physical violence. 

A very small amount of people might take techniques outside of the classroom, but this is highly discouraged by all instructors. Most instructors can identify these problem students and will discontinue training since their bad attitude shows up in the classroom first.

The Black Belt is the Highest Belt

Martial arts in pop culture is highly associated with the esteemed black belt. Some people think that a black belt is the pinnacle of achievement in martial arts—this is a common myth and flat out wrong. It’s true that obtaining a black belt is a great achievement and a worthy goal, but it’s certainly not the end of training, nor does it make you a martial arts “master.”

The reality is that many martial artists consider the first black belt to be “where training truly begins.” Most martial arts have many levels after black belt. Karate and other martial arts call these levels dan; they are signified in different ways, often with stripes or bars on the black belt itself. A few martial arts use purple or red to signify dan ranks higher than black belt. In Karate, most systems end at 5th dan, or 10th dan, though it depends on the school and their association. Regardless, the first black belt is almost never the highest belt one can attain—it is the first dan belt. All belts below black belt are called kyu belts. 

It’s a great accomplishment to attain black belt in any martial art. Just know you have more to look forward to after you earn it.

Ready to Start Your Martial Arts Journey?

  Now that you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to martial arts, getting your real-world training started is the next step. At Premier Martial Arts, we welcome students of all levels to enjoy the benefits of this ancient physical art. Find one of our many locations nationwide to start your own martial arts journey today.

You’ve seen the TV shows and the movies, you’ve heard the songs. It’s a common theme to find martial arts in pop culture, but those depictions aren’t always accurate. There are lots of misconceptions about martial arts that can give the average person a flawed understanding of this ancient and beloved physical art. We’ve got the common misconceptions you should know.

Hands of a Martial Artist Must Be Registered as a Deadly Weapon

You’ve probably encountered the idea of martial artists having to register their hands as weapons at some point. Whether it’s in movies or TV, this trope is pretty familiar. Yet, is it just a misconception? In the United States, martial artists don’t register their hands as deadly weapons, so yes, this instance of martial arts in pop culture is false. Yet, this particular myth is a little more complicated. 

If you find yourself in the unincorporated territory of the United States known as Guam, this martial arts misconception is not longer just a misconception. This small island in the middle of the North Pacific happens to have a large military base on the island and is probably the source for this martial arts in pop culture myth. Guam’s legal code (10 Guam Code §§ 62100 – 62106) states the following: 

“Any person who is an expert in the art of karate or judo, or any similar physical ar(t) in which the hands and feet are used as deadly weapons, is required to register with the Department of Revenue and Taxation.”

It seems like this misconception about martial arts becomes a fact if you find yourself in Guam. 

Martial Arts Practice is Dangerous

People often have the movie-like image of martial arts training as a dangerous, bloody practice. In reality, martial arts training is less harmful than many sports commonly played in schools. What makes this martial arts in pop culture myth especially unfounded is all the research on this topic that shows otherwise. 

One study in the Sport Journal looked at Shotokan Karate and compared injury rates against other martial arts and contact sports; hey also included an age breakdown. Depending on the age group, soccer has similar injury rates as Shotokan karate. Ice Hockey exceeds the injury rate compared to Karate in every age bracket but one. Less injuries were reported for Volleyball players than karate for the most part. Most likely sparring is a large part of the injuries documented, since this looked at competitive sports clubs in colleges.

This is different than training at a dojo in martial arts. In non-competitive martial arts training—especially for younger children and lower belt levels—sparring is optional. If sparring is a part of the class, students wear protective gear like helmets, mouth-guards, and many different types of padding. 

Some martial arts are slightly riskier than others and injuries differ between them. Karate and Tae Kwon Do are striking martial arts; they have lower injury rates than Jiujitsu and Wrestling, which are grappling martial arts. Mixed martial arts or MMA has the highest injury rates; that’s to be expected, since so many MMA fighters actually try to hurt each other to win. Even so, MMA is safe to train with a qualified instructor and especially if you aren’t training for competition. If you’re just doing MMA to lose weight and get some exercise, that’s a lot different than regular fighting in the cage or octagon.

Martial arts training isn’t scary or dangerous. Sure, if soccer frightens you, then maybe martial arts practice will, too. And yes, people can get small cuts and sprains like any other exercise. Like any sport, there is always a possibility of injury while practicing martial arts. However, most of the myths about martial arts training being dangerous likely comes from a mixture of fantasy and history. Training in Japan and China hundreds of years ago at monasteries or amongst warriors was much harsher and dangerous. Television and movies often portray martial arts training as dangerous because it makes stories more interesting and the hero more likable. But in today’s world, the dojo is as safe or safer than many sports. 

Ready to Start Your Martial Arts Journey?

  Now that you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to martial arts, getting your real-world training started is the next step. At Premier Martial Arts, we welcome students of all levels to enjoy the benefits of this ancient physical art. Find one of our many locations nationwide to start your own martial arts journey today.

Losing weight isn’t just important for adults nowadays. There’s an epidemic of childhood obesity in the West, with American kids suffering in particular. The United Kingdom and other Western European countries also face the issue, however. The data is always changing, but the CDC says that between the ages of two and nineteen years old, the overall obesity rate is almost twenty percent—that’s one in five children who are not just overweight, but obese.

The health risks of obesity can be found in plenty of articles online. Increased risks of poor health outcomes—both mental and physical—are ultimately what lots of research have determined to be the danger of obesity. While exercise and general physical activity play a large in maintaining a healthy weight, they aren’t the only ways to combat childhood obesity. 

If you’re searching for ways to help your child lose weight in a fun and effective manner, we’ve got great news. While people turn to martial arts for many reasons, keeping kids healthy is a major one. Here’s why martial arts might be your child’s secret weapon against obesity.

Individual Competition

Some children who are not particularly physically fit struggle to enjoy team sports. They may not be able to perform at an average level for their age or body type in competitive sports at school, which makes these options difficult to start and sustain. When it comes to losing weight, choosing the option you’ll stick with is no less important than for children.Image

Martial arts practice is different from team sports because they enable every child to learn and improve at their own pace. Yes, there are exercises and drills that are done as a group, but they tend to allow for a wide margin of successful completion. Plus, instructors who are trained to teach children in martial arts—such as the expert instructors here at Premier Martial Arts—take care to help each individual child while considering their health.

There isn’t much competition among martial arts students—especially at the beginner level. The outward measure of success in martial arts for children is measured by belt tests; these are mainly made up of rehearsed forms, or katas, which the student demonstrates alone. The focus on the individual student in martial arts takes away the pressure on children who are at the start of improving their overall health. Most martial arts schools don’t allow young children to fail their tests, instead they allow them to begin their test when success is assured, giving your child the added benefit of gaining both a healthier body and more confidence.

Friends Make it Fun

While martial arts largely focuses on the individual, it also provides a social atmosphere for children with weight problems to learn and practice a physical activity together. As anyone can tell you, exercise always feels a little easier when you don’t have to do it alone.

Martial arts classes provide a social atmosphere with other children where there is little pressure to feel as advanced as other students. Instead, kids learn that being active can be fun and build relationships with other active kids. Martial arts class gives young children a sense of camaraderie and belonging without the outward pressure of a highly competitive team sport.

Don’t Fight Your Child’s Attention Span

With screens following us around all day, it can feel impossible to imagine your child spending screen-less time practicing a physical activity. Yet, martial arts have a special advantage in overcoming today’s attention-stretched environment. 

For once, those hours of video game playing might actually help your child’s physical health. Since martial arts has long been a part of popular culture, including video games, the “cool factor” will make it a lot easier to convince your child to join a regular martial arts practice.Image

Kid Focused Classes

Most martial arts studios, including Premier Martial Arts, provide age-specific martial arts classes. Children’s martial arts classes allow instructors to make sure each child proceeds at their own pace. For young children struggling with obesity, this allows them to move at the appropriate rate of progress without feeling pressured or being unable to keep up.

Learn the Life Skills for Life-long Fitness

The discipline learned by practicing martial arts is helpful for people of all ages and body types. It’s not easy to say no to our favorite dessert or to stay consistent with a new pursuit—that’s where practice comes to the rescue. 

The discipline children learn through martial arts can carry over into the classroom and even into how they regulate their eating habits. The positive feedback of martial arts training can help provide quality sleep, self-worth, and mental outlook. In turn, those can positive changes can help children become mentally and physically healthier and lose weight.

Give Your Child the Gift of a Healthy Life

Health definitely is wealth and you can make sure your child achieves that wealth by starting them out with a martial arts practice they’ll appreciate later on and for years to come. At Premier Martial Arts, we design our classes to make every child feel included and to help every child advance toward the goals that are best for them. Find a location near you to give your child the gift of life-long health.

You wrote it on your to-do list, you’ve set aside the time, and you know why you set the goal; it’s time to get that workout in and everything’s here except your motivation. If it feels like your fitness goals are shrinking farther into the horizon, the tips in this article will save the day. 

Read on to get some extra support in the motivation department and don’t skip another one of your martial arts lessons.

Define Your Goals

You might have goals, but do you have well-defined goals? Motivation relies on your goals, both short-term and long-term. In martial arts, many students consider their next belt test as a reasonable short-term goal. Long-term goals might include earning your black belt or losing X amount of weight. Focus on the short-term goal but keep the long-term goal in mind when your motivation starts to wane.

Prepare the Day Before

Make motivation easy for you by making your obstacles easy for you. It’s more likely you’ll make it to the gym or dojo tomorrow if you have everything prepared beforehand. Why does this technique work? It’s common to use simple excuses to lose motivation. 

Your gi or gym clothes are dirty? Great excuse to skip your workout. No gas in the car? No time to get to the gym, then. Lack of sleep? Well, you’ll have to just rest up and skip your workout, right? Take care of all the things that must be done to streamline your life before heading out to the gym and you’ll be more likely to meet your goals.Image

Pro-tip: Having a gym bag with clean clothes packed and organized with post-gym snacks can be very useful. This way, you can just grab the bag and go to the gym.

Don’t Overthink

When you start thinking of excuses for why you should skip those martial arts lessons, you’ll know you’ve started to lose the motivation battle. We all know how this goes; an hour before the gym, your mind starts producing “reasons” why you should skip the next workout, and some of them might be pretty convincing.

When you start to talk yourself out of pursuing your goal, recognize that your own mind is trying to thwart you and just stop thinking. The concept of “no mind” in Eastern philosophy can be useful for moments of low motivation. Think of the concept like this: Don’t think, do.

Stop thinking? That might seem like odd advice, but if you recognize that your mind is trying to produce reasons for you to be lazy, it makes sense to turn off your mind. You can try to meditate for a few minutes or do a simple task like sweeping the floor and focusing on that—not the excuses your mind is producing.

Go and Fail

When motivation seems impossible, simply choose to go to the gym and have a terrible workout. It sounds funny, but the reality is that when you get to the gym or dojo, you know you’ll end up feeling better. If you’re tired or unmotivated, make the following deal with yourself: I’m going to go to the gym (or dojo) and if I don’t feel like working out, I’ll just sit and observe. 

In other words, get your body to the gym. Once there, your mind will follow. 

Imagine the Future Positively

Stop thinking negatively. When motivation is low, your mind is producing negative thoughts about the activity you’re trying to do. One life hack to get around low motivation is to recall the moment after your previous workouts and remember how you felt great and satisfied. Keep that feeling in your mind and then recall it when you feel unmotivated in the future.

Family, Friends, and Community

Joining a gym or martial arts studio with family members or friends is a great way to create positive motivation from outside sources. Sometimes we act in a self-defeating way and need help. Image

When you’re feeling lazy or unmotivated, your friend or family member can help talk you into attending. Make a promise with the other person to attend X number of classes or sessions. Friends and family can really help if you struggle with motivation; you can share the job of driving to the gym and inspiring one another. 

Get Motivated and Make Martial Arts Part of Your Life

If you’ve been considering adding a martial arts practice to your life but haven’t taken the plunge, call up some motivation and take the first step. At Premier Martial Arts, we make getting started and honing your practice as simple as showing up to the studio. Find one of our many locations near you to start your life-changing martial arts practice today.

Whether you’re training to become a master martial artist or simply enjoy the way a
martial arts practice enriches your life, the additional workouts you do while practicing martial
arts are important. You might be wondering if you should add another exercise routine or sport to
your schedule. Will jogging help you reach your martial arts goals or not? How many rest days
do you need when practicing martial arts?

With a few key martial arts tips, you’ll have the knowledge you need to create a powerful
exercise regime to complement your martial arts practice.

Training Time
Almost every factor when it comes to exercise in addition to martial arts practice will hinge on
how often you show up to the dojo. If you only go to martial arts class once a week, you can and
probably should exercise outside your martial arts training.

However, if you practice martial arts a minimum of three times a week, it becomes less easy to
fit in other sports or exercise. If you attend martial arts class more than three times a week, or
practice martial arts outside of class times, then unless you’re in peak physical shape, you might
do more harm than good by adding more exercise.

The length of your martial arts class is another element to consider when deciding how much
exercise to include in your routine. Some schools have 30-minute or 45-minute training sessions,
while there are other schools where training sessions last two hours or more per class. If your
classes are less than an hour, it’s easier to include other exercises in your schedule.

Intensity

As with all exercise classes, some martial arts classes are more intense than others. If your class
schedule includes a lot of sparring, then you may not be able to lift weights the next day. If your
class contains lots of physical conditioning exercise or aerobic training, then you may overdo it
by adding extra cardio outside of the dojo.

Age
As we get older, we need more time to recover from moderate or hard exercise. Consider your
age when deciding if you should add other exercise routines. If you aren’t young, you could
consider less strenuous exercise like walking or yoga to supplement your martial arts practice.

However, age doesn’t always perfectly correlate with tolerance for exercise. It’s important to be
mindful of your unique limits when deciding whether to push yourself and how often.

Sleep
There is a huge sleep deficit in many parts of the developed world. The body and the mind need
adequate sleep to recover from physical stress. If you’re too rushed to get adequate sleep in your
life, you may want to limit your physical exercise to martial arts class.

Sleep is a crucial part of the recovery process your body undertakes to stay healthy; if you aren’t
able to get the sleep you need, don’t overdo it when it comes to tasks your body will need to
recover from, like a strenuous workout.

Career
Some people still actually work at jobs that demand physical exertion, as opposed to sitting at a
desk writing articles about martial arts—if you can believe that! In the case that your job is the
kind that can be physically demanding, you almost definitely don’t need to add exercise in
addition to your martial arts training.

Exercise Options to Add to Martial Arts Training
You can see there are lots of factors that you have to consider when deciding if you should train
more outside the martial arts studio. Since that’s true, there is no easy answer. Instead, use the
knowledge we’ve provided and consider your exercise options in that context.

Yoga and Walking
Yoga can be intense, but it can also be a gentle activity to stretch and help you recover. Walking
is one of the most overlooked, free, and easy forms of physical fitness in existence. These gentle
exercises are perfect for those who train intensely and need to recover, for older martial artists, or
for those with injuries.

Running
There are too many ways to jog or run to list here. The simple rule to follow would be to ask
yourself if you feel burned out or too tired to add aerobic exercise on top of your martial arts
exercise. Cardio can be an easier form of activity for your body to recover from than
weightlifting. In moderation, you can perform it more than strength training and recover faster
since it doesn’t involve the breakdown of muscle as much as weight training.

Weightlifting
For most people, you need to be in very good physical condition to add weightlifting with
martial arts. Again, it depends on all the factors we noted earlier, but it’s not easy to make room
for the recovery time you need when it comes to weightlifting.

If you plan to lift weights and practice martial arts, you’ll need to have your sleep, diet, and
stress management skills ironclad. For younger martial artists and athletes, it’s possible, but
challenging.

Listen to Your Body
For most people training in a martial arts class for 45 minutes to an hour, three times a week is
generally plenty of exercise. However, consider all of the above when deciding for yourself.

Are You Ready for Your Martial Arts Transformation?
If you want to begin your martial arts practice or take your practice to the next level, Premier
Martial Arts welcomes you to join us. With studios across the country, martial arts students of all
levels enjoy the expertise our instructors offer students. Find a location near you and get your
martial arts practice going strong
.

Martial arts trains the mind and the body, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place for
reading about martial arts. There’s a wide and varied selection of martial arts books to train your
mind when you’re outside the dojo. Martial arts books span the centuries and hail from all parts
of the world, both from the West and the East. Some of these books are practical and others are
more philosophical.

If you are interested in getting started in martial arts, or you’re a long-time practitioner, these
interesting books are great options for your reading list.

The Book of Five Rings — Musashi
Musashi was an undefeated swordsman from medieval Japan; supposedly, he retired to a cave to
write these five scrolls. When it comes to martial arts books, what better author to learn from
than a medieval Japanese swordsman?

One of the defining characteristics of the book is that it’s based on the author’s experience as a
real fighter as opposed to abstract philosophy. Since you didn’t get a lot of chances to be a
second-rate sword fighter in medieval Japan, Musashi’s survival vouches for his experience. This
is a classic work of martial arts literature and worth including in your collection of fitness books.

Tao of Jeet Kune Do — Bruce Lee

This book serves as a kind of autobiography of perhaps the most influential martial artist of the
twentieth century. Bruce Lee defined what martial arts could be in popular culture. He
entertained millions and popularized martial arts in America with his cinema.

This book provides practical information about the art which Lee developed, Jeet Kun Do.
Insights into his mindset and the mental attitude he found most useful for fighting are contained
in the pages, making this a must-read martial arts book.

Breathe, A Life in Flow — Rickson Gracie
Every jiujitsu practitioner knows the name Gracie. Even if you practice other martial arts, Gracie
is a familiar name from the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This is a memoir
of a champion and a thoughtful man.

Gracie sheds light on the mind/body connection in this book, which has practical applications for
martial artists. The book also tells the story of the Gracie martial arts dynasty, from the beginning
in Brazil to the development and growth of jiujitsu as a popular martial art in the West. Easy to
read, fun, and modern, if you love jiujitsu or the UFC, this book is a good choice for your martial
arts bookshelf.

Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts — David A. Hall

At over 650 pages, this is not a book for light reading, but more of a reference manual for the
martial artist, history nerd, or both. Published in 2012, this book covers everything you want to
know about all aspects of Japanese martial arts—and more. The book is fun and useful for the
novice, black belt, or even someone who simply loves the history of Japan. It can also be a guide
for martial arts instructors who want to learn more about Japanese martial arts and culture, so
they can further their students’ learning.

The Art of War — Sun Tzu
This is probably one of the most well-known books from China in the world. While it isn’t
specifically about martial arts, it deals with many of the ideas that are related to martial arts
philosophy. From business to war and philosophy, this classic affords the reader a glimpse into a
strategic mind from the past.

The Art of Peace — Morihei Ueshiba
When you’ve finished reading The Art of War, you can change track and consider the art of
peace. Morihei Ueshiba is a very interesting figure; he was no stranger to war and its terrible
effects. Ueshiba served in the Japanese army during the Russo-Japanese war and later again in an
expedition to Mongolia where he was captured by Chinese troops and returned to Japan.
Afterwards, while living as a pioneer in the far north of Japan he had a spiritual experience that
changed his life.

Ueshiba studied various martial arts but ultimately developed and created his own known as
Aikido, which is both a martial art and an outlook. This book is a collection of his speeches, his
poetry, and even his calligraphy. It gives insight into this lesser practiced martial art from Japan
which focuses on non-violence.

Ready to Start Your Martial Arts Journey?
You’ve done the reading, now it’s time to take the action. At Premier Martial Arts, we welcome
students of all levels to study with our expert instructors to reach their martial arts goals. Find
one of our many studios near you and make your martial arts dreams a reality
.

Feeling anxious for everyday errands like heading to the grocery store or freezing up in an important meeting aren’t rare, but for some people, this is a daily burden. Social anxiety disorder is a condition that can hold people back from doing important and enjoyable things in their lives. With roughly 15 million people suffering from social anxiety disorder, solutions besides just medication are crucial. Many people have begun searching for alternate ways to reduce social anxiety—martial arts may be one of those ways. 

While martial arts training has been shown to alleviate general anxiety, social anxiety is a different condition that has unique elements. The National Institute of Mental Health defines social anxiety disorder as “persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations…” When daily life requires many social activities, alleviating social anxiety can make a big difference in someone’s life. 

Let’s look at how martial arts can help in the fight against social anxiety for you or your kids.

The Individual Among Friends

A big part of social anxiety is the fear of meeting new people. People with social anxiety often have a very small social group and find it difficult to interact with new people. Martial arts offers the perfect level of socializing to help give people with social anxiety an opportunity to push their limits. 

While you won’t feel the pressure of a team sport in most martial arts, you still get the positive effect of working with people while learning in a structured environment. A lot of people with social anxiety function well around others while they’re doing a particular task rather than in free-form social interactions. The structure, hierarchy, and regimented learning found in martial arts classes helps people with social anxiety take the plunge into social activity without getting overwhelmed. 

Fear of Performance

Those who suffer from social anxiety feel afraid of performing in front of other people. It’s normal for everyone to get a bit nervous when they must make a speech, perform a test in public, or play a sport. However, for people with social anxiety, these routine activities feel almost impossible.

The belt system and the structured learning of martial arts can help with social anxiety. Martial arts asks individuals to perform, but to perform the same routines appropriate to their group. In other words, a blue belt has the same curriculum as other blue belts. Taking the pressure off of your individual performance can help reduce social anxiety around performance. 

Besides belt testing, practice and performance take place among other students and not in the public eye. If belt tests are public, it is still usually small collections of family and friends who attend, and sometimes the belt testing requirements are performed as a group. Making a performance as accessible as possible to someone with social anxiety helps them overcome their anxiety while keeping the bar low and reducing the intensity of the experience. 

Martial Arts and Worst-Case Thinking

One of the hallmarks of social anxiety is thinking “catastrophically,” or thinking marked by assuming the absolute worst outcome in any given situation. Martial arts practice offers a surprisingly apt way to overcome this type of negative thinking pattern. 

Most people fear physical conflict and the injury which can follow from it. However, when you practice martial arts, you begin to see how safe it is. Even during sparring, with the correct supervision, training, and gear, the practice is almost risk-free. Martial arts provides a real-world example of how our anticipation of an event is often far worse than the reality, a perspective that can free anyone to pursue what they want in life with less fear or anxiety. 

Social Anxiety, Martial Arts, and Kids

Social anxiety is different from general anxiety and one of those differences is that social anxiety tends to begin earlier in life, usually in the early teens. General anxiety tends to manifest in the early thirties. If you’re a parent who wants to find a safe and structured environment for your child to practice overcoming social anxiety, martial arts provides an excellent opportunity.  

All over the country, kids have missed out on in-person school and extracurricular activities during the pandemic. While things are beginning to change, a lot of kids were set back when it comes to learning important social acts, like interacting with their peers and teachers. Martial arts classes are a fun way for adults and kids to have social interactions. At Premier Martial Arts, we have specific classes for kids and adults, making the social aspect of martial arts just another healthy practice for self-improvement. 

You’re never too old to begin martial arts. Many older people struggle with social anxiety for decades. Yet, even if you don’t suffer from social anxiety, the pandemic took away a lot of opportunities for adults to interact. Martial arts can give you the chance to meet new people, make new friends, and increase physical health all at the same time. 

Start Your Martial Arts Journey Today

If you’ve been dealing with social anxiety or just enjoy the many benefits martial arts can provide, Premier Martial Arts welcomes you to experience those benefits for yourself. Simply pick out one of our many studios across the country and start your martial arts journey to becoming a happier and healthier version of yourself today. 

If you plan to start martial arts training, you can’t get far without first choosing a martial arts studio. If visions of unfriendly students or money-hungry studios haunt you when it comes to starting martial arts in a new studio, we can help assuage your worries. Choosing a martial arts studio is a crucial part of enjoying your practice, so let’s look at a few red flags to keep in mind when choosing your studio.

What to Know When Starting at a Martial Arts Studio

Students of martial arts have different goals, attitudes, and desires. Not every martial arts studio is a good fit for the student and sometimes that’s okay; it doesn’t always mean there is anything wrong with the student or the studio. 

Some students also have unrealistic goals—they may expect to earn a black belt in an unreasonable amount of time. Students may leave bad reviews for a martial arts studio online or complain if these unreasonable goals are met. 

Yet, with these two differences in mind, there are some solid warning signs to watch out for when choosing a martial arts studio. 

Cult Leaders Instead of Teachers

You can easily find accounts on Instagram and Facebook that show martial arts instructors performing rather questionable practices. While the idea of ki or chi is a valid idea found in martial arts, some instructors seem to think they can simply raise their hands in the air like a Jedi and make students fall to the ground by some secret force they alone have mastered—that’s a red flag.

The internet never fails to produce some interesting examples of martial arts red flags, like instructors taking on ten students “attacking” them at once and dispatching them all. You’ll even find instructors who claim they can make their students fall to the mat with simply a glance. If you aren’t familiar with this type of dojo or instructor, it’s a bit hard to explain; you’ll recognize the off, cult-like activity quickly, though.

It’s often more silly than harmful, but this type of behavior doesn’t usually lead to a solid martial arts experience for students. Go check out your prospective martial arts studio online, including their website and social media accounts. These resources will give you insight into whether you’re dealing with charlatans or studios that take the core principles of martial arts seriously.

Suspicious Fee Structures

Running a martial arts studio isn’t an easy path toward riches; owners and instructors need to charge a fair price to get by. For many owners and instructors, teaching martial arts is a labor of love, not a get-rich-quick scheme. Martial arts training is a business just like any other; if the dojo can’t make enough money to survive, they can’t continue to teach their students.

However, be wary of any martial arts studio that wants you to pay for years of instruction ahead of time. Fee structures differ depending on the studio and it isn’t strange for studios to ask for some kind of commitment upfront. However, if there are constant unexplained recurring charges or new fees that weren’t stated ahead of time, consider that a major red flag. Openly discuss the fees and costs you’ll incur as a student with your prospective studio before joining. A trustworthy martial arts studio will make its pricing and student expenses clear. 

Constantly Changing Schedules

It’s normal for martial arts studios to re-arrange their schedules every now and then, but if it’s frequent, you should take this as a red flag when choosing a martial arts studio. A school that is constantly shrinking its class times is not a thriving school. Additionally, if you can’t rely on a fairly consistent schedule from your studio, it will only be that much harder for you to create a solid habit of practicing. 

Instructor Attitude

Some people just don’t get along with each other. Instructors are people just like anyone else and they have unique personalities. Some students enjoy a “drill instructor” type attitude in their teacher while others can’t tolerate too much intensity in a learning environment. There’s lots of variation in students and instructors just as there is among teachers in a classroom setting. 

However, certain instructor profiles are a red flag when choosing a martial arts studio. If your teacher believes themselves to be a reincarnated ancient warrior-monk or “the best fighter in the world,” you may have some problems on your hands. Another warning sign to watch out for is a teacher who has barely gained their black belt but has already invented an entirely new martial art that is “better than all the rest.” It likely goes without saying, but if your instructor is routinely pummeling their students to the point of injury, you should not join that dojo.

Distance from Your Home

It’s important to consider the distance between your prospective dojo and where you live. Distance is often an overlooked reason many students end up quitting their program.

Start Your Martial Arts Journey Today

Ready to start the next chapter of your healthy and active lifestyle? Premier Martial Arts welcomes students of all levels to enjoy our professional, expert instruction and supportive martial arts studio environment. Find one of our many studios near you to start your martial arts journey or take a look at our student testimonies for some extra confidence. 

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