Getting fit is always presented as this Herculean effort. But when you talk to people who stay slim and athletic all their lives, that’s not what they tell you. Instead, it’s just something they enjoy, and it becomes a habit, like cleaning their teeth or watching TV.
For many people, there’s nothing to it. Training at lunchtime or after work is just a happy part of life, and something to pass the time.
The same is not true, however, for everyone. A lot of people loathe the gym and can’t abide the idea of just grinding away on a treadmill for half an hour. It’s painful and tedious. You can keep it up for a couple of months, but not any longer than that.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people fall into this second camp. Exercise is a chore and unpleasant, and becomes a massive mental burden. Staying fit is a considerable effort, and eventually, people give up.
For some, though, martial arts provide a way out. It’s physical activity (which is a good thing). But it’s also technical, meaning that you have to engage your brain while training. You do not constantly have to focus on how your body feels. Instead, you’re doing something cognitively demanding.
For many, that’s the crucial difference between regular exercise and judo or jiu-jitsu classes. When you engage in the latter, you have to think.
People discover martial arts in all sorts of ways. A friend could invite you to come along to a local class, or you might do it for self-defense reasons. Whatever the cause of your interest, it can be a great way to get fit.
It Gives You Confidence
When you’re plodding away on the treadmill, you’re almost always watching the clock. You’re not actually enjoying the process. And any emotional rewards you get only come afterward.
The same is not valid, though, when it comes to martial arts. You get an immediate confidence boost, while you’re doing it, learning practical skills that could come in handy in the future, if you find yourself in trouble.
Being more accomplished at martial arts could make you more confident with everyday things, like going to the gym or walking to work. Knowing that you’re strong is always a massive benefit for taking on any project in life, including getting fit and losing weight.
It’s Great For Weightloss
You might think that the rowing machine is the best tool for losing weight and working up a sweat, but that’s not always true. If you’ve ever tried punching a punching bag consistently for thirty minutes, you’ll know how exhausting it is. It makes a massive difference to your fitness levels.
Most martial arts involve warm-ups that come before you start with the technical skills. This cardio helps activate the muscles before engaging in any rapid, jerking movements. Typically, it lasts around ten minutes before you move into regular drills.
Martial arts also activate your fight or flight response unconsciously. This feature of the activity might sound like a bad thing, but it automatically primes all the muscles in your body, giving you a more intense workout compared to being in a relaxed state.
It Improves Your Self-Defense
The primary reason for learning martial arts is to improve self-defense. You want to be in a position to defend yourself, whether you’re wearing a BJJ GI or not.
In martial arts, you can study a range of styles, each of which has different real-world applications. Some schools focus on traditional martial art forms, like karate and judo. Others are more experimental, like kickboxing. And a small subset caters to real-world situations, teaching you the best approach to defeat your opponent, even if it breaks the rules of the traditional sport.
Martial arts training helps to build your reflexes. Over time, your brain and muscles develop a more intimate connection, allowing you to react faster. Soon having a fast response to your opponent becomes second nature.
You Can Train With Other People
Most people go to the gym train alone, battling the weights while listening to their favourite music through headphones. Martial arts, though, aren’t like this. Fundamentally, they are a group activity, meaning you get the social element whenever you train – something you don’t have when you just go to the gym.
Having other people there also diverts your attention from the physical element of the activity. You’ll often finish a martial arts training session feeling tired, even though you weren’t aware of expending energy.
It Helps You Grow As A Person
There are sorts of routes to personal development, but martial arts is one of the best. It’s a form of training that exposes you to failure and criticism and forces you to contend with both. Nobody begins their martial arts career as the perfect fighter. It is something that takes time to build – often a decade or more.
You Can Take It All Over The Globe
Martial arts are a global phenomenon – something that people do all over the world. Over the last ten years, it’s ceased being a fringe sport and is now loved by millions. As a practitioner, it is something you can take with you, no matter where you go. There are many different schools in multiple countries, each with their own curriculum and traditions.
It Promotes Equality
Martial arts aren’t elitist. It’s something that anyone can do, and become proficient in. You don’t have to be a grandmaster or even in particularly good shape. All you need is a minimum of fitness, and you can begin your journey. If you decide that it’s something you want to do long-term, you can add extra activities to improve your fitness alongside it.
Kids and adults alike benefit from martial arts. Plus, unlike many forms of training, it is something that people of all ages can do together. What’s more, it’s one of those rare sports where men and women regularly mix. This makes sense because you might have to protect yourself against somebody of either gender.