When I ask people why they train martial arts, I expect to get the typical answers about how it is a great work out and makes you feel great from the rush of endorphines or how it teaches you hard work and discipline. However, as I discuss more and more I get answers that are not so common. Here are 5 unexpected benefits of martial arts.
1 - Self Perception
When you walk into a martial arts gym, the environment is completely different than anywhere else in the world. People smile at you, talk to you and do not judge you. When you struggle, people are always encouraging you and tell you that you are strong and that you can do it. Some people who are judged, bullied and verbally abused start accepting what they are told and they start to believe it. From this belief, stems their action to reflect what people have told them and since they act this way, it yields results. When they see these "negative" results they think "wow, they were right I am weak, dumb, or not capable".
THIS IS WRONG. This is cycle that I often see in depressed, struggling etc. people.
Everyone is born with unlimited potential; everyone has the ability to achieve anything, what you need is the correct mindset to find it. That mindset, can be unlocked by having a team of supportive people that encourage you, and build you up so that you dare try to take action. Once you take action, you will get result. Once you see that positive result, you think "Oh wow, I can't believe that I can do that!" and from t here you build confidence to put in more action, and thus getting more results. This is the cycle that high achievers take. When you walk into a muay thai gym, you will be encouraged to try something that you probably didn't think you could do, but you will soon discover through action, that you can!
This sense of accomplishment and strength will change yourself perception and thus change how you see yourself, and how you carry yourself and ultimately how others see you.
2 - Humility
Any combat sport teaches you to be humble. You can be the biggest most athletic person in the world but if you do not know the techniques properly you will be beat by a much smaller person. In reality, in the ring you will find out who you truely are. You can not put on a fake personality or pretend to be tough. You are in there by yourself and your true strength will be tested. Everyone has to learn how to deal with pressure and accept it. This is very humbling experience and a great challenge.
3 - How to enjoy the moment
In this day and age we are running around trying to balance 10 things at once. When your training, you focus on only training. Your time training is your time away from all life's problems. When your in the ring, how much money you have doesn't matter. Even if your rich, a punch will still hurt. When your training, all of life's problems is left outside the gym, and when your training you are relaxed and just focused on you.
4 - Team Work
Although martial arts is considered a singular person's sport the power of a team cannot be underestimated during the preparation and training. The strength of having a strong support team to create a challenging yet healthy learning environment is essential to a person's development. As human beings, we all get weak and tired, its inevitable. This is where your support group comes in, they will motivate you and help you when you need it. Even more importantly, when you are at your weakest, perhaps when your having a hard time in your life or if you lose a fight, you will count on your team to catch you when you fall. They are the MOST important people to you and therefore you will learn how to value people in a team setting.
5 - Going Out of Your Comfort Zone
In order to grow as a human being; one must go out of their comfort zone to learn and explore new opportunities. However, going outside what we are used to is a taunting task. By training martial arts, you can practice going outside of your comfort zone. By making the conscious decision to push yourself outside of your comfort zone you make the ability to step outside of your comfort zone easier. Therefore, when you are able to overcome your fears in something like training, you will be more likely to go out of your comfort zone in other areas of your life.