10 Benefits of Martial Arts that aren't Martial
Practicing martial arts can have quite a few benefits that are measurable through the physical experience such as weight loss, balance, and coordination. Self-defense practices can cultivate the confidence and skills needed for protection and can help many people in these trying times. However, the point of this post is to high light some of the personally developmental aspects of martial arts that can serve the mind and spirit of a practitioner.
Martial Arts can ...
1) Help to cultivate the strength needed to process traumatic experiences throughout life - Grief and trauma are unavoidable and valuable aspects of the human experience. Martial arts can help direct a mindset towards acceptance, growth, and healing while building mental and emotional fortitude.
2) Build confidence through repetition and knowledge - Confidence comes from being sure of one's self. Repeating exercises and drills to the point of second nature can build a sense of certainty and execution which affects the way we carry ourselves in the world.
3) Generate Body Control and Awareness - Being aware of one's structure, body language, and posture can bring tremendous presence and power to the way we show up in life. The ability to be self-aware while also engaging with the environment is a valuable tool both personally and professionally.
4) Enhance focus, cognition, and mental acuity - The sharpening of the mind can lead to better memory, concentration, and dexterity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to make new neurological pathways throughout life and is associated with learning, development, and adaptation. Many martial arts practices can aid in expanding neural networks and balancing the hemispheres of the brain.
5) Establish a sense of discipline and structure - We are a result of our thoughts, actions, deeds, and habits. Having the discipline to commit to a practice and way of living can bring the structure needed to build a successful and fulfilling life.
6) Cultivate strong boundaries and self-respect - The energy of our body language can determine the kinds of experiences and people we let into our field. Strong verbal boundaries and confidence can lead to the prevention of dangerous or unwarranted situations.
7) Can lead to empowering and unabashed self-expression - The precision, power, and beauty of martial arts is truly something to behold. By cultivating dynamic movement and mindful exploration, a practitioner can find a path of expression that is highly unique and radiant.
8) Reduce stress and elevate healing - Chronic stress is at the root cause of many conditions and pathologies. By exercising in a conscientious way and incorporating practices such as breath work and stretching, we can address the imbalances that lead to so many of the health challenges of today.
9) Teach you how to "take a hit," and how to get back up - From constructive criticism to total condescension, it can be hard to be on the receiving end of peoples opinions - especially if we are already hard on ourselves. By learning how to take a physical hit, the mind also becomes less reactive to those figurative stabs that hurt emotionally and mentally.
10) Build community, friendships, and support - Social connection is so valuable. In fact, it's extremely important for health! One of the biggest benefits of training in person is the connections one can make with people who share a common interest and passion for the arts.
Find and support your local dojo/kwoon/training space to bring some of the amazing benefits of martial arts into your life.