Martial arts cover a broad range of activities that involve fighting techniques, physical exercises, and mental discipline. It originated in the ancient cultures of Asia and is used today around the world for self-defense, exercise, health, spiritual growth, and athletic competition.
The importance of breathing
Martial artists use their breath to quiet their nerves, steady their movement, and maintain their endurance. Inhaling helps prepare the body for a block or strike, and exhaling helps execute the movement to its full potential. As you move through your form inhale as you prepare, and exhale as you execute.
Breathing isn’t something only martial artists do, we all need to breathe, every system in our body relies on oxygen. From cognition to digestion, effective breathing provides mental clarity, helps you sleep better, digest food more efficiently, improve your body’s immune response, and reduces stress levels.
Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—it brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind.
As simple as breathing seems, effective and efficient breathing can take YEARS of practice.
Martial Arts for Adults
I always ask people “What are you doing to make sure you are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong in such a stressful world?!” Before responding there’s always a long pause, filled with questions and realizations. Martial arts can greatly benefit people of all ages for several reasons, including building confidence, reinforcing discipline, teaching respect, and relieving stress.
Many people believe that training martial arts make a person violent. People think that because they’re exposed to so many techniques, it’s only natural that they would use it on others. A true martial artist is the complete opposite of violence, they will walk away from getting into fights because they know that using martial arts against other people is the last option, even if they’re being attacked.
The benefits of Martial Arts for Adults
- Cognitive improvements: Attentiveness (the ability to divide attention between two tasks), reaction time, and mental resilience under stress.
- Mind and body connection: Martial arts have a unique way of helping make a connection between mental and physical. Through training, you learn to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.
- Full Body Workout: Martial arts uses every muscle group in the body. Your stamina, muscle tone, flexibility, balance, and strength will all improve through martial arts.
- Stress Relief: In martial arts, you get to kick, punch, and scream, which is a great stress release no matter your age. The practice of martial arts has a calming effect that melts stress away.
- Self Confidence: You become more comfortable in all situations – whether you’re in danger or simply doing a task that takes you beyond your comfort zone — you’ll discover you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
- Self Control: Accepting and controlling your emotions. When practicing martial arts, you will feel anger, fear, frustration, and anxiety at some point. The way you deal with these emotions will help you grow mentally. This will also help in everyday life with how you deal with discussions and disagreements with others.
- Self Defense: You will learn how to think before making a move, to anticipate and avoid potential danger. Training also helps build reflexes, and give you the confidence to stand up for yourself and fight back if needed.
- Goal Setting: Most traditional martial arts programs have a belted system. Each belt is a new goal, and along with it comes a new set of criteria that must be accomplished for that goal achievement. When we get into the habit of achieving those belt goals, it translates to other goals in life. It becomes a blueprint.
Martial art is a physical expression of ‘practice makes perfect’. In class, students may execute a single movement or series of related movements, hundreds of times. This teaches students that progress always happens during small improvements through endless repetition.
One of the greatest gifts martial artists inherit from daily training is the strengthening of the mind, body, and soul. In life, we encounter failures, setbacks, obstacles, and so much more, but we must battle our fears, doubts, and insecurities.
The outcome of training countless hours will be the warrior spirit within you that will be unbreakable.
There’s no doubt that training martial arts have a tremendous effect on your life. The changes may not be instantaneous, but if you accept the mental, physical, and emotional challenges and stick around long enough, you’ll meet a new you.
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