Updated: Oct 24, 2021
Whether you term them spiritual or emotional, martial arts can bring intangible benefits to your approach to life. Martial arts training has a reputation for being a contemplative sport. However, these benefits are not mystical. There are a number of ways that you can grow and develop as a person from participation in martial arts including:
Mindfulness and Well-being. Most martial arts disciplines begin by calming and focusing the mind. Your instructor may encourage this through lessons in breathing techniques. In either case, a calm mind allows you to focus on your body and ignore distractions. Mindfulness can help you in work, school, and relationships.
Goal setting. Martial arts is not just about learning new skills. It is about building on previously taught skills and bringing all your skills together into a skill set. This is one reason why martial arts are often taught in skill levels. This facilitates goal setting, particularly for children, and a sense of accomplishment when those goals are reached.
Self-esteem and confidence. Self-esteem arises from the accomplishment of goals. Confidence arises from the knowledge that you can handle a situation. Together, these boost your view of yourself and the way that you project yourself to others. You will likely never need to use the self-defense skills you learn in martial arts classes. However, you will carry yourself very differently knowing that those skills are available if you need them.
Social interaction. Martial arts can bring families, friends, or co-workers together. Martial arts can also lead to new friendships. Learning together, advancing through the training together, and accomplishing goals together can give your class a sense of shared experience and camaraderie. From this, you develop teamwork and co-operation skills.
Respect. Martial arts are typically taught as a set of structured skills. Teaching these skills safely and constructively requires rules. Observing and learning these rules allows you to interact with classmates and instructors in a respectful way. Moreover, the martial arts that involve sparring teach the important life lessons of winning or losing gracefully, learning from defeat, and striving for improvement.
A Sport for All. Martial arts are often recommended for children and adults who cannot participate in team sports due to physical, developmental, and communication disabilities. By progressing at their own speed without feeling as if they are holding back teammates, these children and adults gain all the benefits of sporting activity without the negative aspects.