Martial arts are among mankind’s oldest and most effective holistic self-improvement disciplines. When used to their full potential, martial arts offer far more than personal self-defence skills. They cultivate wisdom and mind-body harmony that can literally change every aspect of your life for the better.

Fundamentally all martial arts are based on moral teachings which not only encompass physical aspects of training, but mental and emotional lessons as well. The physical aspect, in fact, is the means of last resort. In the long run, they build your character and intelligence.

All traditional martial arts styles are based on a non-violence principle. Great emphasis is placed on respect for others, humility, confidence, responsibility, honesty, perseverance and honour, not violence as many people think.

These are 7 great benefits of martial arts for your personal growth:

1) Physical fitness and better health

Martial arts movements and exercises are very diverse and comprehensively work with the whole body, tremendously raising physical awareness. Combination of warming up exercises and physical training develop strength, stamina and good flexibility. Balance, posture and coordination evolve during regular practice. Senses become alert, contact and visual reflexes – faster; thus reaction and response time improve.

2) Discipline and self-control

The practice of martial arts is an excellent way to practice and develop discipline. In a supportive environment, you are pushed to excel yourself every time. You are encouraged to face and work upon the challenges you would otherwise comfortably avoid. Discipline becomes a part of not only trainings, but also all other parts of daily life. It also includes the ability to control your emotions, impulses, desires and behaviour.

3) Focus

Martial arts are all about focus, executing proper techniques at the precise right moment, judging your opponent’s movements and counter acting at the right time, improvising your strategy on the go. Martial arts improve focus like nothing else.

4) Confidence and respect 

Martial arts inculcate a strong sense of confidence. This is very different from ego, which is born out of fear. All martial artists have a strong sense of respect towards self and others. Unlike what most people would believe, most martial artists are very humble in nature. In fact, most martial arts teach to avoid threatening situations and ego fights. A good martial artist is not he/she who beats every other person down, but the one who does not get into a fight at all. He/she is a cool headed individual who is neither afraid nor eager to face any dangerous situation, be it in any form. You get into a flow where you know how to find the path of the least effort out of a dangerous situation.

5) Calmness 

Martial arts will calm down your mind. To a certain degree, martial arts have the same effect as mediation. It is very important during practice to keep alertness in the mind and a feeling of being present in the current moment. Sophisticated martial arts practice is very spiritual in its nature.

6) Moral integrity 

Martial arts are a way of life. Most of them have related philosophy too. These philosophies focus on the development of a good moral character, a warrior spirit. For example, effective responses to fear, anger, violence and discord, learnt during the training, will also help you a lot in all other spheres of life.

7) Connecting with others

Each lesson will involve working with a training partner at some stage. Growth of emotional intelligence is another important aspect of working in pairs. Work together encourages teamwork to learn and accomplish goals. Martial arts develop a strong sense of connection, camaraderie and respect for fellow students. When you step out of your training school, you find that this feeling starts extending to other beings too.

There are a lot of different types of martial arts and one can always find something suited to his/her interests and physical disposition. They have so much to offer that can be used as a lifelong personal development tool.

Are you up for the challenge?