Why Everyone Should Learn Martial Arts
There is no doubt that we have already made great progress in making martial arts more acceptable in the mainstream, but we still have a long way to go.
There is a reason why Oprah, Dr Phil, Dr Laura Schlesinger, Jillian Michaels (Biggest Loser), Tony Robbins, doctors, physiologists, and educators the world over all have alluded to the fact that martial arts is a hugely valuable activity with substantial benefits for just about everyone. The benefits of training in martial arts go way beyond self-defense. It can help in nearly every aspect of one's life. Improved health and fitness, athletic enhancement, increased confidence, better concentration, better behavior; the list of benefits goes on and on.
Does this sound too good to be true? It's not. As a matter of fact, many experts agree that in this day and age of escalating obesity, increased violence and deteriorating family structure, if you do nothing else, you should learn martial arts. Let's take a look at why this is true.
Self Defense - "Practice the fight so that you don't have to" is a phrase that is often used to describe the self-defense benefits of martial arts training. It refers to the fact that as a person becomes more confident in their ability to defend themselves through martial arts training, the need to defend themselves automatically decreases. This is because they unconsciously begin to carry themselves in a more confident manner.
That confidence is projected to those around them, making them less vulnerable to being selected by a predator. On top of that, martial arts training includes strategic self-defense as well as actual self-defense. People are taught how to recognize a potentially dangerous situation and how to avoid confrontations.
Athletic Enhancement - There is a reason why so many professional teams in virtually every major sport supplement their training with martial arts. Martial arts training offers several advantages. First off, it is amazingly effective in enhancing general coordination because it uses every part of the body in a balanced way. Upper body, lower body, right side, left side, forward movement, lateral movement, rotational movement ... it's all included in martial arts training.
Fitness - The three pieces of the fitness puzzle are strength, flexibility and endurance. Martial arts training demands a balance between the three. Therefore, a person who trains in martial arts will find their deficiencies improve quickly. Also, because of the balance in the three pieces of the fitness puzzle, they are less likely to injure themselves while participating in other athletic endeavors.
Health - Martial arts training is a proven link to better health for people of all ages for several reasons. First, it is great exercise, and unlike more boring and repetitive routines, people get a good workout as they enjoy the process of training. Also, most martial arts programs include discussions of diet and lifestyle habits, enabling long-term training to influence the development of life-long healthy habits.
Concentration - Very few activities engage the mind, body and spirit more than martial arts. Because of this, a person's ability to concentrate is greatly enhanced by their martial arts training and this concentration tends to be easily transferable to other activities.
Respect and Courtesy - Recognizing that martial arts teaches techniques that could be harmful to others if applied, martial arts instructors are obliged to stress the importance of respect, courtesy, and restraint. People who are skilled in martial arts tend to be extremely respectful, considerate and composed.
Confidence - Martial arts taught correctly leads to increased confidence for a couple of specific reasons. First, there are no bench-sitters. Everyone participates. And rather than comparing one student to another, students are judged against their own potential. Second, the structure of martial arts is built on the concept of setting people up for success by giving them a series of realistic, short-term goals that they can attain quickly while keeping them focused on an exciting, long-term goal. Each time they experience success, their confidence improves until they tend to believe that with hard work and dedication, they can accomplish just about anything.
To put it simply, there is no other activity that combines all these positive attributes as well as martial arts training. The benefits are profound. It is up to all of us to do a better job conveying this message within our communities.