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Six Reasons Why Martial Arts Benefit Your Mental Health

Updated: Jan 11

  1. It’s well-known that people who suffer from depression can benefit from physical exercise, like martial arts. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins and cannabinoids in the brain that lift mood. Other mood-boosting benefits of the martial arts are similar to those that come from completing a task or mastering a hobby. You will also make friends with fellow students & so seeing them on a regular basis will help your mood to improve.

  2. Anyone can suffer from self esteem issues from time to time. Children especially can suffer from these issues, but adults also live in a world now where they are bombarded with images of the perfect person, unbelievable success stories & the achievements of others. It is tempting to compare ourselves with our peers, despite our best intentions. Martial arts training has an ingenious reward system - the Graduation/Grading system - which allows people that work hard to be rewarded for those efforts at regular intervals. The Graduation/Grading process uses a coloured belt system together with a certificate of progress. The important part of this is the recognition - to have someone telling you that you have achieved your next step in your martial arts journey. Having someone confirm you are getting better & provide you with proof really helps boost self esteem.

  3. It's easy to dismiss martial arts as an activity that promotes violence. In truth, they are all about RESPECT! Every class starts with a salute & bow and after each different drill, we bow to our training partners before swapping over. With this bow, we are thanking our opponent for their help to practise as without them we cannot improve - we need these others to help us practise, just as we need others in life. It helps us to recognise that there are strengths in others & by working together we can get the best out of both ourselves & our 'team'. This is team work - mutual respect for others. With this respect an come self-respect - often a missing ingredient with mental health issues.

  4. It gives you a sense of self-determination. In martial arts, one thing you will face is adversity & that comes in many forms - examples include sparring with a more experienced opponent, training through an injury, dealing with fatigue or from failing a Grading. Adversity & martial arts go hand in hand. However, it's not about how many times you get knocked down, but about how many times you get back up - if you get knocked down nine times, you have to get up ten times. This is the Moo Do spirit & one of the reasons that adults & children learn to deal with the issues that face them in their daily life. Every drill, every session that tires you out, every strike you take that takes your breath away, helps you to face the adversity that we all have to face in real life.

  5. It can help you to control your emotions. Walking into a martial arts club for the first time is one of the hardest things that you will ever do. At Family Martial Arts Centres, we will help make that easier for you, but it takes real guts & courage to take that first step! A great boxing trainer once said: 'The hero & 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’ From that first step inside the club, you will feel your heart racing & when you have your first drill, throw a punch or be asked to do something you've never attempted before, it all requires courage. It is that courage that keeps you coming back. It builds week after week & will help you to do the ‘right thing’ more often. Courage comes in a lot of forms - it might be telling the gang of youths not to swear as they walk past your young child; it might be calling out racism or sexism at work; it might be telling the teacher you or another child are being bullied; or it might be approaching your manager with a new idea for work. It doesn’t matter what form that courage takes - martial arts requires courage every time you step through the doors, so you will soon see that courage flowing into your normal life!

  6. The best reason is that it is FUN. Martial arts should be all about fun & enjoyment, lifting yourspcirt & mood. Our aim is to ensure that anyone who comes to our classes, leaves having enjoyed themselves & learnt something new

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