There is a belief that martial arts are mainly geared for self defence, and whilst this is partially the case if you look at the Martial Arts as ONLY being about self defence then you will miss all the other amazing benefits that training martial arts can offer.
In this article we will look at the reasons why adults and children should take up martial arts and the benefits they will receive.
1. You Will Learn To Overcome Adversity
In the martial arts one thing you will face is adversity and that can come in many forms. It can come from sparring with a better opponent, it can come from an injury, it can come from fatigue and it can come from failing a grading.
Yes adversity and martial arts come hand in hand. However there is a saying in the arts “If you get knocked down 9 times you have to get up 10”. This is the martial arts spirit and the reason that both adults and children will soon learn to deal with the issues that face them in their daily life.
The speech below is the now famous speech from Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky Balboa. :
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that”
I think we can all resonate with that speech. But it really does show what the martial arts is all about. Every drill, every session that puts you on your back, every shot you take that takes your breath away helps you to face the adversity that we all have to face in real life.
2.You Will Learn More About Yourself and to Push Past Your Limits
Have you Ever seen Fight Club- The Film starring Brad Pitt? Well in the film there is a scene where he wants to fight with another male (If you have not seen it I wont spoil it). In the film he says “How Much do you know about yourself if you have never been in a fight” or words to that effect.
Now martial arts training doesn’t mean that you will end up fighting but you will learn more about yourself and what you are capable of. Many people who come to martial arts training cannot even do a push up! Yet after a few months they are able to pump out 100.
A good martial arts or self defence lesson will make you tired, it will introduce new and exciting concepts and your body and mind will be pushed as you try and develop your skills.
This is different than going to the gym or going for a run. Your training partners will provide you with the resistance as your instructor helps you to achieve your goals. It is like having a personal trainer pushing you, because that is exactly what a martial arts instructor does. They recognise your level and help you push to the next one!
A black belt is a white belt that never gave up! So that tough work assignment or meeting with the boss doesn’t seem so tough once you have experienced martial arts training.
3. It Boosts Self Esteem
Everyone can have self esteem issues. Our kids especially can suffer from self esteem issues, however adults also live in a world now where they are bombarded with images of models, success stories and achievements of others and we all compare ourselves with our peers.
Martial arts training has one of the most ingenious reward systems ever developed. It will allow people to work hard and reward those efforts. Not at the end of the year but at regular intervals. This grading process can be used with ‘belts’, ‘sashes’ or wrist bands. You dont even need that just a certificate of recognition
The important part of this is the recognition, to have someone telling you that you have achieved your next step in the journey of martial arts. To have someone not just say you are getting better but to provide you with proof of that really helps boost self esteem. I have never seen an unhappy person receive their next grade.
4. It Increases Fitness
Gyms can be the most boring places to go to, after 30 minutes training it is really tempting to just go for a sauna! Did you know that new Gym memberships in January drop off by the second week of February? Did you also know that it has been estimated that only 18% of gym memberships sold will actually be used on a regular basis!
Yes going to a gym can work however you are far more likely to reach your fitness goals by joining a martial arts class.
A good martial arts instructor will support and guide you through your training. They will know what your personal goals are and help you to meet them.
We now live in an era of £10 a month gyms. It’s easy not to go a gym like that when it costs so little! You invest in your martial arts and the arts give to you! As a result you are very often counting down the hours until your next class.
A good martial arts or self defence class will have a range of drills and games that test your fitness, increasing it week by week and because you are more likely to go to a martial arts class then you are more likely to reach your fitness goals.
5. Make New Friends
The social aspect of martial arts is perhaps among the strongest reasons people take up martial arts. We all like to make new connections in the world, just look at Facebook for an example of that!
Martial Arts training provides you with a place you can mix with others and make new friends that you wouldn’t have likely to have met ever before. The photo above is from the Defence Lab class. Everyone is having a great time and everyone is having fun making new friends.
6. Physical Creativity
We are now in a world where we spend a lot of time sitting. From being at our desks at work, to being at a school desk. Did you know that children in the UK only spend 102 minutes a week doing P.E. !
We don’t really understand what our body can do. What movements it can make, how explosive we can be if required and how fast our arms can move.
Martial arts will cause your body to move in ways you never thought possible. Below is footage off the very talented Chloe Bruce showing just what can be possible from training. By investing in your own physical development you will grow from the office/desk bound human to the discovery of resources within you never knew existed. We all have small goals, from being able to touch our toes, lose a few pounds or even to perform a high kick! We will never achieve these physical changes unless we invest in ourselves. Martial arts will help you to do this
One of the worlds best boxing trainers Cus D’ Amato once said:
“The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.”
Walking into a martial arts club is one of the hardest things that you will ever do. At Defence lab we have a process that will help make that easier for you however make no mistake it takes real guts and courage to take that first step!
From that first step inside the club you will feel your heart racing and when you have your first drill, have a punch thrown at your direction or even lace up your first glove. I can assure you that all requires courage.
It is that courage that keeps you coming back time and time again. It builds up week after week and will help you to do the ‘right thing’ more often. Courage comes in a lot of forms, it might be telling the local youths not to swear as they walk past your young child. It might be telling the teacher you are being bullied, or it might be telling a teacher that you know that another child is being bullied. It might be approaching your manager with a new idea for work.
It doesn’t matter what form the courage takes, however as martial arts requires courage every time you step through the doors you will soon see that courage flowing into your normal life!
When you first enter martial arts training you will be a beginner and looking up to those who hold senior grades. However after a while more new students will start to join. They then enter at the beginner rank and look to you for guidance, they might even ask you if they are doing a technique correctly. This is how it starts.
As your skill grows then you will become a leader, and possibly even an instructor. Before long you are the first getting to class and the last to leave. You listen closely to all that is being said and you help others to achieve their goals. This is leadership.
You will develop the attitude of presenting solutions and not problems, as you search for ways to land your left hook, or pass the guard of an opponent. You will have to stand in class in front of others and as such develop the ability to lead from the front, always showing others that you work hard.
It is easy to see that martial arts could really be useful for anyone wanting to improve themselves or their careers. However these same skills will be picked up by children as well. They are no longer the child at the back of the class room messing about but they are now sitting at the front, always prepared to volunteer and ask questions because that is the exact same environment that exists every week in their martial arts classes.
Many martial arts clubs even now have dedicated leadership programmes to enhance this development.
For those that have trained in Defence Lab you will know that Andy Norman is an amazing leader and he tries to help others develop those same skills. The Martial Arts treat people as Human Beings and help to release the potential that exists within everyone, the potential that they themselves may have forgotten about. The only way this can happen is from great leadership, that is something that you will find within martial arts.
Its easy to dismiss martial arts as an activity that promotes violence. That is exactly what people who have never tried martial arts think. In truth the arts are all about RESPECT!
According to Wikipedia Respect is a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person. I like this definition because this is really what martial arts are all about. Every class starts with a bow, salute, handshake or a touch of gloves. This is respect that we rarely see to such an extent. After each different practise or drill we salute our training partners before swapping over.
This is done because we are thanking our opponent for a great practise and without them we cannot get any better! We need others to help us along in practise just as we do in life. We also learn that others are actually very capable of causing us physical harm. We recognise that in others there are strengths and by working together we get the most out of ourselves. This is how team work is developed, from mutual respect for others.
You only have to visit any digital forum or social media platform to see a lack of respect. It’s amazing the poor level of social interaction we see on line and wonder if these people would speak to others that way if they saw them in the street?
The martial arts starts off with respect and ends with respect. You will not see any other system of education like this in the world. In an average class you could bow, or shake the hands of 20 to 30 people, when you step back and consider just how many times the average martial artist does this in a year you would struggle to find this level of respect elsewhere.
10. Self Defence
We have save the most obvious reason for training in martial arts. Of course this is self defence. Its the main reason why people choose martial arts and of course self defence ability will flow.
The world can be an amazing place to be and live however every now and again we can come into contact with some unpleasant individuals and situations. Martial Arts Training will help you to avoid these situations and if you have to you will be able to deal with them.
For children it might be a case of standing up to a bully in school or protecting yourself from a gang. For adults it might be about the group of youth approaching you as you walk home. Martial arts will give you the knowledge of how you should deal with the situations. Most situations can be avoided or de-escalated with some basic skills, however there are occasions where you need to step things up, to show you can handle yourself and you may have to get physical.
Its always better to have self defence skills and not need than to need self defence skills and have none!
I hope you have enjoyed these reasons why adults and children should take up martial arts. However I have probably missed one of the best reasons off the list and that is FUN. Martial arts should be all about fun and enjoyment and I am sure that anyone who has tried martial arts came away enjoying themselves.
Until next time Shape Shifters, but for now we leave you with some great footage of martial arts and self defence fun.