Why Every Athlete Should Do Martial Arts

Martial arts are a great builder of many intangibles. For me, it was merely a cool thing to do. You know you would watch the latest action movies, and you would get excited to do the same thing. I started karate when I was 12 years old. I had no real reason to do it other than needed something outside of school to keep me busy. To get me away from my parents so they could have a much need break for a few hours.

It wasn’t until I started karate that I was taught far more than work ethic. I learned respect, discipline, and made more connections to other real-world situations than I could have made before. I went in eager to punch and kick and left karate with a new respect for the art and life in general.

There are so many lessons that you can learn from joining any martial art. It wasn’t until I joined jujitsu that I learned the most, I learned that my strength and my physical size meant absolutely nothing. I was getting tapped out left right and center. A large slice of humble pie is what I was dealt that day which only served to get me more intrigued. There are far more lessons to be taught for those looking or thinking about joining a martial art; it is a great complementary tool for whatever your primary sport may be.

Learn Discipline

When you are learning anything new, and you have a lack of discipline you are not going to get anything out of it. You need to be willing to listen and apply the techniques being taught to you. You have to form a routine around whatever it is you are doing. Whether it is Jujitsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, boxing, or karate, it doesn’t matter you need to be disciplined both in your approach to it as well as your execution of the moves, and lessons being taught.

There is a reason that thee are levels of the seperate disciplines. It not only indicated how far along you are in your journey but it also indicated how much time one has put into it. The pursuit of a black belt in any martial art is a long one that does not have a set timeline. It is a personal journey that once achieved does not stop there. There are high-level black belts that still learn new things every day. The discipline takes to realize that it is a never-ending journey of improvement is difficult to swallow for some people but necessary if you want to reach any level.

The reason any of this is important is that you can take the mindset of martial arts and apply it to your training for whatever your primary sport may be. It is a long road, a hard road and you should ask for nothing more. I have spoken about choosing the hard road many times before and this is no different. You need to develop the discipline to achieve the results that match or exceed your potential. Martial arts will have to develop that discipline.

Humble Yourself

Humility, an uncommon trait in today’s society. Everyone thinks they are better than they are and think they can hop into anything and do it like a pro with minimal to no training in it at all.

This is a false way of thinking because if it were true, then everyone would be a black belt in every discipline. Everyone would be running fortune 500 companies making millions of dollars a year.

We all know that there are people who are just better than we are in certain things. We may be better than a lot of people in other situations. That is not the point, however. When it comes to martial arts when you first walk through the doors of your respective dojo, you will be met with people who are doing it for decades.

You will get put on your ass and submitted, knocked out, or humiliated in some form or fashion. That is the way it is. There are few if any people who can walk into a room filled with highly skilled and experienced individuals and hold their own for very long. That is the natural order of things. Rookies come in, gets a slice of humble pie, they fall in line, they learn, and they get better every day without putting expectations on any of it.

This new sense of humility will set you up for increased learning, increased performance, and a better understanding of the concepts of continual improvement. You will be able to improve yourself without the comparison to others. You are on your path, and no one should determine how you train.

Cross Training

On the performance-enhancing side of things when you drop yourself into a new training stimulus you will be making more mind-muscle connections than before. You will be training your muscles in positions you are just not used to.

Training in martial arts will make you learn how and when to apply certain levels of strength. You will be put into situations that are uncomfortable; these uncomfortable situations will make you adapt or quit either way they will become learning experiences for themselves.

There are plenty of different forms of martial arts. Each one could train you differently to ends up benefiting your first sport greatly. There is not an exact science to this logic. It just makes sense that trying new things may help with your current sport in directly. There are plenty of NFL athletes that train BJJ (Brazilian jujitsu) religiously in the offseason. It helps keep them in shape but also throws in an entirely different training stimulus. Which in turn helps them on the football field.

Make Connections

 

As stated in the section above, doing new things will make connections both in mind and in the body. When you are doing a martial art such as jujitsu you are trying to exploit a weakness or an opening given to you by your opponent.

The act of knowing how to exploit or cause an opening and then reacting to get your result is much like chess. We all know that chess is an excellent game to build and displaying mental capabilities.

This can be true of all martial arts, they call this fight IQ, and it is something that is built up over time. Just like anything you do for a long time, it becomes something that is second nature. These new connections can then be used to help with more things. Like in daily life more specifically allow you to view your primary sport in a different light.

Conclusion

Martial arts have many more benefits than I have even explained in this article. There are so many things that need to be experienced in person. No amount of reading about it will help you appreciate the real world effect training in a martial art. It will affect you both physically as well as mentally.

I understand that going out and starting this journey may be a difficult one, an intimidating one as well. It is ok, the people who are responsible for teaching the arts are aware of how it feels to start the journey. They are sympathetic to that fact. You will find many people who were in the same position you were in right now.

It is ok to take your time, and there is no rush at all. Just think about the benefits and the rest will fall right into place. Remember having fun is the most essential part of all of this.

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