There are a large range of mental benefits of martial arts, but I want to hone in on just two in this blog. Many people see martial arts purely as a physical activity, but good martial arts also requires mental stamina and a positive internal monologue.
People often come to us looking for 'confidence' or some variant of 'discipline/respect' as the main reason. Yes we can teach you to be a trained killer, but here's how we work on 'confidence' & 'self-respect'
You may already feel supremely confident in other areas of your life - your job may be going well, you might be ace-ing it as a parent & your current exercise regime may be proving fruitful and the beach body is nearly ready.
But do you feel confident in your ability to protect yourself? If push really came to shove (literally), would you know how to defend yourself against an attacker? Would you know how to protect the people you love.
Learning to defend yourself & to keep your loved ones safe is important. Finding out that you don't just at the moment when you need it the most can have devastating consequences. Learning self-defence to keep yourself & the people you love safe is so important & it’s why we want to teach everyone how to defend themselves against an attacker.
The physical skills are not the only thing either - imagine how much more confident you would be if you were positive that you could handle a physical situation if it came your way. That self-defence knowledge is just be one more thing for you to feel confident about. It’s a huge mental benefit of martial arts.
Less well known as a benefit is self-respect. This is important in my view because once you learn to respect yourself & your body, you start to make better choices. When you make better choices, your life improves.
Take your decision to start martial arts classes. Once you get into it, you will notice you have more energy in general (not straight after the class, obvs!). You may then start to eat more healthily (I became a vegetarian) and you might start to think about the food & drink you put into your body. Your behaviour starts to change - you walk to the shops instead of driving; maybe you spend more time in physical activity with the kids; or you might start going for long walks. Don't get me wrong, I love my time on the sofa, but I also lead an active, busy life - one I put down to martial arts at the grand old age of 50!
This starts a positive reinforcement cycle - you exercise, you feel more confident, you improve your self-respect, which in turn, increases our confidence, etc, etc, etc...
Also, when you respect yourself, you start to treat others with more kindness & empathy because you see & respect them too. This makes others feel more confident because they feel your kindness. They then pass that feeling on to others… and so your little virtuous circle makes its way out into the community.
So follows world peace.... all because we took up martial arts!
Now that last comment was firmly 'tongue in cheek' but there are many well known benefits of martial arts in terms of the standard models of mental health - staying active, engaging in social communities, achieving goals, having control to name but a few. Martial arts can help you to improve the basic building blocks of your mental health.
So if you are already with us, let's keep going. Concentrate on the mental side of your health as well as the physical and let martial arts work its magic. If you're not currently a student, get in touch and start your personal improvement journey today.
World peace, team! World peace!