The obvious answer is: because it’s fun! I started doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after seeing a Youtube video of Royce Gracie beating a bigger guy, and I got wildly intrigued. I had no idea what to expect the first time I went, but it slowly turned into an obsession. This didn’t happen overnight, and I’ve had a lot of injuries and missteps on my journey.
I can’t possibly begin to cover all the benefits and reasons why you should learn martial arts, but here’s a list of the most common ones:
Participating in any sports leads to health benefits, the most common is a lower pressure and heart rate. But it doesn’t stop there! People consciously (or unconsciously) change their diet and lifestyle: they eat healthier food, walk more often, and participate in other activities that can have a positive influence on their biomarkers. The extra stretching at the end of a class can’t hurt either.
The most popular reason for learning martial arts is probably self-defense. It does not matter which one you pick; each art teaches you how to defend yourself in any environment. Is it 100% effective? Let’s be real: nothing ever is. The ability to resolve conflict without violence is a part of being a martial artist.
Nevertheless, you’ll develop new reflexes and will learn various techniques which will help you defend yourself in dangerous situations.
It helps you to gain confidence and boost self-esteem the more proficient you get in your chosen art. This newly acquired confidence doesn’t stay in the gym as these new skills carry over to your professional and personal life: you will walk more upright, speak louder, and clearer. I can say that martial arts completely reshaped me and made me a happier and more confident person every day.
Full Body Workout
Martial artists have always been famous for their attractive non-bulky physique. Martial arts training is no joke, and it contains physical exercises, besides your usual techniques, that are designed to improve your stamina and keep you in shape.
Each academy approaches this differently, but usually, you’ll see a mix between cardio training and calisthenics. You might be doing push-ups, burpees, jumping jacks, and various other bodyweight exercises to improve strength and explosiveness. Grappling and wrestling truly use every muscle in your body to generate force and will make it the most exceptional workout of your life.
You will learn dedication, direction, and structure: showing up when you don’t feel like it and realizing that your progress depends on only you.
One of the most quoted lines from Bruce Lee is, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” It’s a quote that emphasizes the importance of focused practice and a high level of proficiency, or in other words: “practice makes perfect.”
During one training session, you could be executing a single movement or a series of related movements dozens or even hundreds of times (hey, karate!). Endless repetition and consistent micro-progression is what makes the difference not only in martial arts but also in life.
An average martial arts session is between 1.5 and 2 hours and involves calisthenics, techniques, and live sparring. Not only does the high-intensity cardio help you burn the extra calories you don’t need, but you also get to enjoy an increased metabolism, which in turn promotes fat burning. This is a highly-entertaining way to lose fat.
As said before, this differs from academy to academy and from class to class, and depending on the martial art you study, it can get more intense. It’s such a great way to stay in shape (and fun too)!
Martial arts academies offer you a unique opportunity to meet people that come to kick and choke each other multiple times a week for fun and then go back to their normal life. For some people, this is the only place where they can be and enjoy themselves and share their intimate feelings.
During competition season, club members are known to travel together locally and overseas. I’ve personally made a lot of great friends on the mats who helped me in my career, personal life and even helped me with things like getting my citizenship or driver’s license.
When most people think of flexibility, they think of passive flexibility. Doing “splits” is an example of passive flexibility. Dynamic flexibility is the ability to move your muscles to bring a limb through its entire range of motion. The latter is desired in martial arts.
Repetitive movements like high kicks and various rolls in BJJ will improve your flexibility and mobility and offer the following benefits:
- improved posture
- better freedom of movement
- reduced muscle soreness
- improved relaxation of the mind and body
- reduced risk of injury
Become a Better Person
By far the most important item on this list is that martial arts offer a better life compass. You will train with young and old, male and female (or non-binary), and you’ll come in contact with almost every single culture on earth. You need to be focused, exercise tolerance and humbleness, and always be disciplined. Martial arts offer you a safe environment to grow and practice new life skills.
I’m glad I’ve decided to start training because it allowed me to meet people all across the globe and develop new relationships. I’m more confident in my personal and professional life, and I believe I became a better human being overall who stands up for what’s right.