We are all familiar with martial arts. Chances are, you can name a dozens of them from the top of your head. So What Are the Benefits of Martial Arts?
Martial Arts meaning refers to a collection of sports, disciplines, self-defence techniques, and combat systems. For example, disciplines like boxing and Muay Thai are focused on striking, were Judo and wrestling focus on the grappling aspect of fighting.
However, things weren’t always that way. The many arts we have today are the result of thousands of years of evolution in martial arts. There was something a lot more basic before we had pay-per-view, world-famous fighters, uniforms, and belts. Some martial arts have been around for mere decades, where others date back centuries.
With the establishment of the UFC back in the early 90s, martial arts became even more popular. To that end, we’ve put together a list of the eight biggest benefits of martial arts.
1. Weight Loss Benefit of Martial Arts
Weight loss comes down to creating an energy deficit – burning more energy than you consume every day. One way to create this deficit is through diet and running, sure. But a much better, more enjoyable, and more sustainable way is to practice martial arts instead.
You see, the body burns a certain number of calories every day to sustain itself, move around, digest food, and more. By adding martial arts training to the list, you bump the number of calories your body burns substantially. For example, a good martial arts workout can burn upward of 600 calories. If your daily energy expenditure is typically around 2,600, it will go up to 3,200 on the days you train.
If you do four martial arts workouts per week, that can be an extra 2,400 calories burned for the week. This alone can be enough to help you start losing weight without having to modify your nutrition or otherwise increasing your activity level.
2. Strength And Explosive Power
At their core, martial arts require strength and explosive power. Without the two, no matter how skilled you otherwise are, you won’t be able to strike and grapple your opponents effectively.
With that said, some people see strength and explosiveness as the same thing. Though subtle, there are some differences. Strength refers to your ability to exert force. Explosiveness refers to your ability to exert a lot of force in a short amount of time.
For example, physical strength often comes in handy when trying to overpower an opponent and hold them down. On the other hand, explosiveness becomes more critical when trying to land effective blows with your hands, feet, knees, or elbows.
The fantastic news is, merely practising martial arts with opponents is a great way to develop your strength and explosiveness. As the SAID principle states, “the human body adapts specifically to imposed demands.” In other words, the more you practice grappling techniques, the better you become. The more you practice other aspects of martial arts (such as striking), the more accurate and explosive you become.
3. Mental Toughness And Grit
Many people scoff at the idea of using physical activity to develop mental toughness and grit. But here is the thing:
Martial arts training is one of the best ways to become more mentally-resilient. Pushing your body and developing numerous fighting skills is a great way to build mental strength. What’s more, martial arts challenge your mind and force you to become an effective problem solver.
Seeing attacks and deciding how to evade or counter them on the fly is an incredibly valuable skill because it teaches you how to think on your feet.
While it might not seem like much, overcoming opponents is much like overcoming problems in your everyday life – both help you become a stronger and more resilient person.
Besides that, going up the ranks, earning belts, and honing your martial arts skills all involve a lot of trial and error. Failing, learning from your mistakes, and doing better.
When combined, each plays a role and works toward an outcome: to help you become mentally tougher and a more confident individual.
4. Improved Cardiovascular Health
Aside from the numerous physical and psychological benefits, martial arts are a fantastic way to improve your health and live a longer life.
The body’s primary goal is to stay alive. To achieve this, it has to produce energy at roughly the same rate as it expends it. The primary energy currency is ATP, and our aerobic and anaerobic systems produce it.
More readily abundant ATP molecules allow us to perform better and reach fatigue more slowly. Superior aerobic and anaerobic systems also improve our rate of recovery and allow us to train more frequently.
All of these benefits tie neatly with improved cardiovascular health. By taxing our energy systems regularly, we develop a more robust cardiovascular system, the heart becomes much more efficient at pumping blood, and we live longer.
5. Building Your Social Skills And Making New Friends
If you’ve never tried any martial arts, you’re probably reluctant to get started because you don’t know what to expect.
While martial arts have you face off against various opponents, the atmosphere is often relaxed, and everyone is friendly and helpful.
Most people who sign up for martial arts do so to better themselves, build social skills, and develop new friendships.
Plus, martial arts often involve teamwork in the face of practicing various striking techniques, doing competitions, and more.
6. Stress Relief And Improved Mental Health
It’s been a long day at work or school. You feel stress out and a bit angry. What is the best thing you could do now? Most people would say, “Go home.” But here is the thing:
Practising martial arts is one of the best ways to relieve stress, boost your mood, and improve your mental health. Aside from the social aspect of martial arts, physical activity is incredibly beneficial because it improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. It also improves blood flow, and both are incredibly beneficial for brain health.
Besides that, physical activities such as martial arts stimulate the production of endorphins – opioid hormones that naturally work to suppress pain and bring about a better mood and help us melt stress.
So, if you’re looking for a way to blow off steam and melt some of the stress away, martial arts are one of your best options.
7. Improved Balance And Coordination
Among the many benefits of martial arts, improved balance and coordination are some of the most profound ones.
You see, many forms of physical activity today tend to be one-dimensional. You do a set of movements through a particular range of motion and call it a day. Sure, this is infinitely better than not doing anything. But martial arts are much more beneficial, especially for balance and coordination, because they provide novelty all of the time.
You never know what type of movement you might have to do any because martial arts are much more dynamic, you develop your balance and coordination a lot more.
In some arts, dedicated balance training is vital because advanced techniques like kicks require it. If you’re unbalanced, you won’t generate as much force, and the risk of injury will be higher.
Thanks to the many striking combinations and techniques, martial arts are also incredibly beneficial for improving muscle coordination.
8. Gaining Self-Defense Skills
While we certainly don’t condone going out and looking for trouble, having self-defense skills can be immensely valuable. The truth is, life can be uncertain at times, and having the ability to defend yourself, and your loved ones is incredibly important.
For example, disciplines such as Jiu-Jitsu and Judo are fantastic for people who want to become good at self-defence. Many of the tactics and techniques allow the trainee to overcome and incapacitate larger and stronger opponents.
More importantly, martial arts teach us when and where to apply our knowledge and expertise to prevent a situation from escalating.
So There are lots of benefits of Martial Arts?
Before we wrap up this post, let’s recap some of the fantastic benefits of martial arts:
- Martial arts allow for easier and seamless weight loss, even if you’ve struggled with the goal before.
- Thanks to the SAID principle, martial arts are fantastic for developing physical strength and explosiveness.
- Martial arts develop mental toughness and grit because they often push us outside our comfort zone.
- Aside from the numerous fitness and mindset benefits of martial arts, you also get to improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen your aerobic and anaerobic systems.
- Martial arts practice is a fantastic place to develop social skills and make new friends.
- Martial arts are a fantastic way to melt stress, improve your mental health, and prevent depression.
- Due to the dynamic and varied nature of martial arts practise, we can become much more balanced and improve our muscle coordination incredibly well.
- Martial arts are immensely valuable because they teach us self-defence skills that might come in handy at some point in our lives.