There’s an array of reasons as to why people choose to incorporate martial arts into their lives. Many people start training as an avenue towards weight loss, others may be seeking to improve upon their physical strength and their ability to defend themselves. However, the benefits of training martial arts go far beyond physical improvement. Anybody who’s gone for a light run can attest that exercise can improve your mental state. However, for people who suffer from severe depression, anxiety or other mental struggles, it makes a drastic difference in quality of life.
Just like any other physical activity, training martial arts releases endorphins that help combat stress levels. However, unlike most other forms of exercise, learning a discipline like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, or boxing is just as much of an exercise for your brain as it is for your body. Learning a technique is very similar to studying in school; going through steps over and over again until you can mold something into muscle memory. Applying techniques in a real time situation such as sparring or competition forces your brain to constantly re-calibrate, assess the situation and apply necessary changes. It’s a constantly evolving puzzle that can only be solved by training your body and mind to work in unison.
Through navigating the challenges presented in martial arts and constantly sharpening your mental and physical skill set, training can instill a strong sense of confidence. Confidence can manifest itself in numerous ways throughout your training. The first, and perhaps most obvious way that training builds confidence is through building a good physique. Consistently training martial arts will not only visibly change your body, but will also result in augmented strength and flexibility. The combination of having pride in your physique and waking up feeling strong and healthy every day feels fantastic. This can also lead to higher energy levels during the day, resulting in more productivity. Additionally, pushing your body and brain during training will lead to deeper and more consistent sleep at night.
Although improving your movement and health through martial arts is a great way to boost confidence, the mental benefits seem to outweigh the physical for most people. Learning a new skill set can be challenging, but engaging and effectively applying that skill set is incredibly rewarding. Becoming competent at something that you’ve put time and hard work into helps to establish a strong sense of self pride and establishes goal-oriented behavior for every aspect of your life. Making training a regular part of your routine requires dedication; not only by showing up to the gym, but through diet, mentality and creating healthier habits. It requires being able to get through small setbacks such as injuries, scheduling and exhaustion. Training equips you with the tools to be able to handle mental battles as well. You’ll learn to keep your ego in check, not to get too deterred after a tough sparring session, and how to get yourself up and into the gym even when you don’t feel like training. All of these mental tools are applicable to the other aspects of your life as well and can help you perform to the best of your ability at work, in social situations and personal relationships.
Most of us think of a martial arts academy as a place to learn hand-to-hand combat, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a community of like-minded people, gathered for the same reason; to improve their lives through martial arts. The community aspect is one of the most understated benefits of training. It’s a strange concept; a group of people voluntarily coming together to practice punching and strangling one another, but the bonds developed on the mats are some of the strongest friendships that I’ve experienced in my life.
If you’re a resident of the Hudson Valley and want to make your MMA dreams a reality in a safe and fun environment, come check out Precision Boxing and MMA; the Hudson Valley’s premier mixed martial arts academy. Give us a call at (845)392-8495 to schedule your free lesson today!