Practicing martial arts has many benefits that you might not immediately notice. The physical benefits of practicing a martial art are clear; it doesn’t take long to see improvements in your body after starting a martial arts practice. Many people also notice that martial arts make your mind stronger over time, too.
Yet, there’s more than meets the eye (and mind) when it comes to martial arts. Do martial arts make us better and more well-rounded people? The practice of martial arts can also strengthen our character and even our virtues. While all of the virtues we’ll discuss manifest at the dojo, they also carry over into the martial artist’s life outside training, providing benefits that are as deep and lasting as our very lives.
It takes time to truly become proficient in many of the basic techniques of any martial art. Luckily, when someone starts out new, they become fascinated and entranced by simple things like basic katas or even warm-up exercises. However, martial arts does require patience. No one begins something new and immediately becomes a master at it—a lesson the martial arts will teach you well.
Young martial artists will learn patience as they progress through the belt system. This process teaches the ability to be patient with others as well as with ourselves. The lesson of patience will carry over into other aspects of life, too. Schoolwork and extracurricular activities for children improve as their patience grows and a better, calmer attitude at work for adults is often the result of learning the virtue of patience.
Endurance can be thought of as the physical side of patience. Martial arts may be easy to begin, but the challenge often comes when quitting feels like the easier option. Even the highest belt level knows their skill is the outcome of their endurance.
While anyone can begin and progress, martial arts present a particular type of challenge. Most of the training outside of sparring is essentially a test directed at yourself. As opposed to many team sports, martial arts pits the practitioner against themself, helping to strengthen you physically but also as a whole person.
No matter how physically gifted you are, as a martial artist, you’ll learn that cultivating endurance is a must for improvement and growth.
Focus and Calm
Focus isn’t an easy thing to come by these days. From our phone notifications to the news, everything seems to be trying to get our attention all at once.
The discipline and structure of the martial arts space can help us with cultivating focus, both in and outside the dojo. The rituals involved in even the simple things—bowing in and off of the mat, learning to count in Japanese, and the proper way to speak to the sensei—provide a calm and simple structure we often lack in modern life.
Learning the correct forms and katas also focuses our mind and makes us mentally strong, a quality that serves us in every aspect of life.
We all start from the beginning in everything we first try; this is the way it works in the dojo as well. Most studios have a belt system of some type and this helps students to create goals and understand their own progress.
As you ascend the system, many dojos will ask that you begin to teach new students yourself. This frees time for instructors to teach higher-level students. More importantly, through teaching a skill to someone completely new, we better understand those basics ourselves.
If you practice martial arts for an extended amount of time, you’ll find yourself in a position of leadership at some level. You may be asked to lead warm-ups, teach a new student how to put on a gi, or throw the most basic punch. Regardless of the method, martial arts has a built-in system for instilling leadership skills in those who practice.
Compassion isn’t usually the first quality that comes to mind when you think of fighting arts like karate or kickboxing. Yet, you don’t truly know how harmful a punch or a shove can be until you’ve experienced it for yourself. When you practice martial arts for some time, you’ll eventually take some punches and kicks in a controlled and safe environment. Being on the receiving end of a fighting art can actually teach us compassion for others; when we learn how others can be hurt, we learn not to be hurtful.
It’s not uncommon for people to notice that most martial artists are kind and humble people. A well-trained martial artist is far less likely to cause problems, get into trouble, or instigate verbal and physical altercations. When you know how easily we a person can be harmed, it teaches us to be more compassionate towards others.
Training in the Martial Arts
It’s no surprise the martial arts can offer us so many important lessons for life—these fighting arts have been the method of choice for teaching young people the kind of values that help them progress and contribute to their society.
If you’re searching for an exciting but rewarding new hobby or just a way to get fit while engaging your mind, the martial arts are for you. At Premier Martial Arts, we’re passionate about sharing the power of martial arts with all those who want to gain some of that power for their own lives. Find the nearest martial arts studio to you and get ready to infuse your life with growth.