Martial arts is a physical activity that just about anybody can benefit from. But with peer pressure and unrealistic images in the media, martial arts can be extremely beneficial for girls in their formative years. Here’s why.
1. It’s sustained vigorous physical activity. Martial arts is a physical activity that involves the entire body. Kicking, punching, forms and sparring all require the entire body to complete the movement. Movements are done over and over again to practice them, and as a result, endurance and strength improve, which improves overall fitness. This boosts the metabolism, vital in assisting weight control.
2. It helps with flexibility. The benefits of improved flexibility may not be immediately apparent, but they do make a sincere impact on self esteem. Improved flexibilty can prevent injuries, facilitate circulation and most importantly, promote better posture. Research has found that better posture can have a positive effect on self esteem. This is due to the relationship between how we carry our bodies and how we feel. Think about it: how do you feel when you hunch over your shoulders and slouch? If you stand up straight with your spine aligned properly, it may improve your mood – and flexibility can help you do this.
3. It makes you stronger. Martial arts utilizes your own body weight to improve strength. This, in turn, helps to make you stronger and you can even incorporate some weightlifting to accelerate results. A strong mind equals a strong body!
4. It teaches you respect. In structured martial arts classes, particularly in more traditional styles like kung fu and karate, there is a clear distinction between teacher and student, as well amongst peers. You are taught discipline and humility. The entire class structure is based on respect for all, including yourself. You respect and are respected. This is beneficial for self esteem and self confidence.
5. It makes you view the world differently. The world isn’t viewed on appearance alone. Rather than seeing things superficially and judging them by their looks only, an appreciation for what others do and say is developed. Respect is based on the merit of another’s actions, and this alters your world view.
Each of these points shouldn’t be taken alone. They are intimately related to one another. While there are several other benefits of taking martial arts, these five points are perhaps the most important for a girl developing in this society.