by James Davis from MMAstation.com

Although I may not have agreed with all my parents’ decisions, sending me off to my first Judo class at the age of 5 was one of the best things they could have ever done for me. Not only was I one of the most athletic kids at school, I made a ton of friends who I got to travel around the world with, attending various training camps and competitions.

By the age of 12 I was Nation Schools Champion of Great Britain and was a member of the “World Class Start Programme”, a programme designed for kids under the age of 16 to train and compete with the GB team. Since then, I’ve studied various martial arts and combat sports such as Muay Thai, BJJ, wrestling and boxing. Today I want to share with you my 5 top reasons to start a martial art, no matter where you live, your age, or your gender.

Martial Arts are suitable for everybody, and have something unique to offer anyone willing to attend a class, even if that’s once or twice a week.

Ok, lets take a look at why you should pick up a martial art.

Learn to Defend Yourself

First, and perhaps foremost, martial arts provide you with the knowledge and ability to defend yourself, should that unfortunate situation ever arise. Admittedly, the best way to prevent such a situation is to avoid confrontation at all costs, however that may not always be possible.

With that in mind, knowing a form of self-defence is an invaluable skill, one in which the vast majority of people do not spend the time learning. Considering the vast array of different styles and disciplines, you’re almost certainly going to find a martial art that suits you.

That being said, defensive martial arts such as Judo, or even BJJ are perhaps better designed for self-defence. This is due to the fact that their techniques involve leveraging skill and your aggressors’ momentum into your favour.

Get in Shape

Getting into shape is definitely a popular bi-product of training a martial art. Martial arts classes tend to be very physically intensive, often involving long periods of sparing alongside drills of different techniques.

The physical benefits you’ll receive from training a martial art will depend on the discipline that you decide to take up. If it’s a grappling based martial art, you’ll more than likely notice improved muscular strength and endurance in your core, arms and legs.

Whereas striking based martial arts will likely focus more the endurance of your arms and legs, as these are what you use to throw a strike. That being said, your overall fitness level is sure to improve as you continue to attend a martial arts class, and if you follow a somewhat healthy diet, you’re bound to see a few pounds shed here and there.

Make new Friends

I feel that this is often an overlooked aspect of training a martial art, however for me personally, it’s very important. The bond you create with other members of your club is an incredibly strong one, as you both learn from each other and continue to improve together.

Of course, there’s a good chance you’ll end up sparring against one another, but a bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone right?

Ultimately, there’s something special about the bond you create with your fellow martial arts practitioners, that until you experience it, you may never fully understand.

Discover Your Potential

One of the best aspects of learning a martial art is unlocking potential you never knew you had. There’s nothing more satisfying than tapping someone out for the first time, or seeing your hand-speed progressively increase with each class.

Similarly, a lot of the more traditional disciplines follow a belt system in which you progress to the next color as your skill level improves, often with black being the highest. Ever wondered if you could be a black belt martial artist? Well, there’s only one way to find out!

Who knows, you could even decide to take things to the next level and enter some competitions. Here you can put your newly acquired skills to the ultimate test and see how you match up against other martial art practitioners. With a bit of training, who knows, you could be wearing that gold around your neck from atop the podium.

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Learn to Overcome Adversity

There’s no denying that life consists of both highs and lows, with the high points flying by in a flash and the lows seeming to linger.

Martial arts in that respect teaches you how to deal with adversity and to find a way to power through to the other side. World champions, UFC fights, any martial artist will have experienced defeat, whether that’s in competition or training in the gym.

Take for example BJJ, you’re sparring (often referred to as rolling) and find yourself being submitted. You’re seconds away from tapping, but you find that slight gap that you can utilize to your advantage. While there is no shame at all in tapping, voluntarily putting yourself into these situations can get you comfortable being out of your comfort zone. This allows you to fully comprehend that you’re capable of overcoming these low points, which can very well translate into everyday life.

By dealing with such adversity on the mat, or in the gym, you provide yourself with the knowledge that no matter what situation you’re in, there’s a way to overcome it.

Final Thoughts

All in all, martial arts provide a ton of different benefits, physically, mentally and even spiritually. Considering that most martial arts gyms offer a free trial lesson, why not give it a go?

You’ll get in the shape of your life, learn to defend yourself and even make some life long friends.

Thanks for reading.

About the Author:

James is a martial arts fanatic who became National Judo Champion at the age of 12 and a member of the Great British Judo Team, competing at an international level. Since then, James has studied various different disciplines such as BJJ, Muay Thai, wrestling and MMA. He spends his time blogging about different martial arts on his website MMAStation.com and obsessing over the UFC.

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