Learning a martial art and how to attack or defend isn’t necessarily why most people decide to learn a martial art. The majority of people in our society don’t get involved in fights and brawls on a daily basis – in fact a great amount of people can go through life without even going close to one. Being in martial arts myself, I have never been involved in a fight or had to defend myself in the real world – just in the ring. So although a minority attend purely to learn the particular martial art, the majority of people do it for Health and Fitness.
The great thing about any martial art, is that it offer discipline, is structured and helps increase physical health and helps with spiritual growth. To children it can offer discipline and respect – encouraging children to learn another way. In my years of training I have seen many a child change from being hyperactive to a model student, both in training and in the classroom. I have also seen it help very shy children become more confident and grow into successful adults.
As well as all the above, martial arts is available to everyone – men or women – young or old, even people with disabilities have done extremely well with martial arts. In some of my early years, one of the classes I attended had 3 deaf students and there is a great You-Tube video of a great wing chun martial artist who only has one hand.
Martial arts as well as offering a disciplined, structured program that helps increase physical health it also encourages spiritual growth, especially when you chose the right school. For perfect health and well being, we must be healthy physically, mentally and spiritually. Looking after our bodies and mind together makes for a great combination, one which you will find in the martial arts training environment.
People who attend martial arts sessions have made a commitment to their well being. Whether you go once a week or several times, the real world concerns are left behind and you learn to focus on your body and mind. Repetitive health routines in gyms and at home can become very boring, at least with a martial art you are learning a skill and becoming healthy and physically fit as a consequence. It also takes the boredom out of your fitness routine, as you are doing different things all the time and progressing through the ranks as well.
Dedicated practitioners of all ages have well documented health benefits. Improved stamina, conditioning, less body fat, flexibility and balance. Have you ever seen the people at the park practicing the dreamy, slow moves of Tai Chi? It looks mellow but it is actually a rigorous form of stretching, balance, control and discipline. The slow part is healthy because it stretches your muscles, teaches balance and improves willpower but remember; Tai chi chuan means ‚ÄòSupreme Ultimate Fist’.
When you choose a school you must do your research. In this era of mixed martial arts tournaments on TV, there are indeed new schools that focus more on brutality than spirituality. Obviously, these are not good for people who are seeking to improve their health.
Think about your goals. If you are seeking intensive cardiovascular workouts you might want to try Tae Kwon Do or some other Karate style. If you want to stay flexible and focused try Tai Chi and Kung Fu. I practice Wing Chun kung fu, which is based on ‘No brute force’ and was actually developed by a female. Also, do not be afraid to switch classes if things are not working out.
While martial arts demand a level of commitment, the key to your health is your happiness. Keep looking until you find the perfect choice. Find a martial art that suits your personality and your lifestyle and is in line with your values and belief systems.