Improve Your Physical Fitness And Self-Esteem With Martial Arts
Once you decide to become more fit, a whole world of choices becomes available to you. The hardest issue oftentimes turns out to be discovering the best method to be motivated until the benefits become apparent. It is a fact that many good intentions to begin an exercise program are abandoned through not really thinking about choosing an activity that is both enjoyable and yet gives us the discipline to continue when the novelty wears off. One exercise type you may not have considered is martial arts although this is an area which is easier than ever to get involved in. Read on if you want to discover some of the benefits you will experience when you engage in different forms of martial arts.
The most well-known types of martial arts are those that may be thought to be the harder type of disciplines such as Karate and Taekwondo. We use the “harder” because these disciplines stress physical conditioning over mental conditioning. In a lot of cases, men and women attend these types of classes because of the self-defense aspect which, obviously, is a good reason to get involved. Still, following these training methods will unquestionably improve your overall physical fitness and conditioning. This is because you have to have your body to be flexible and your muscles strong to advance to a higher level.
These martial arts classes give a sense of discipline and encourage you to strive for each new level of training while encouraging you to be mentally strong. At every level, you earn a different colored belt and this keeps you working to obtain the coveted black belt status. Taking part in martial arts competitions will encourage you to continue with your training. Ultimately, the level of fitness you will achieve with these types of martial arts and the strength you will feel is tough to match with any other type of exercise.
With some of the gentler types of martial arts like Tai Chi and Chi Kung, you will feel improvements to your health in the form of more energy and feeling better generally. These are often seen as meditating while moving and you will definitely experience the benefits in your mind which can help with stress and anxiety. But you can also expect to improve your shape since these movements were designed to help energy move throughout the body.
The health benefits of martial arts will be seen in your life outside of the training you do. The qualities of discipline and respect will help to improve your career prospects and human relationships. The training is founded on inner and outer strength which can provide you with a much more full feeling of health and fitness when compared to other kinds of training.
Hence, martial arts may be just the solution to help you improve both your fitness and self-esteem.
There has been much controversy over the years about which martial arts style is the best, or most lethal. I remember back to when I first started my training in 1975 it seems everyone thought there was an ultimate fighting style out there some where. When I started training in Tang Soo Do, now known as Soo Bak Do in some circles, people used to ask me what the best martial arts style was. I told them Tang Soo Do. Hey, admit it, everyone wants to think they are part of the best thing going don’t they? Sure they do, it’s human nature. No one wants to be part of something that is considered inferior. And the masters of the individual styles are and were proud of their accomplishments and the art they chose to devote themselves to, so it is only natural for them to tell their students how fortunate they are to have found the best school available.
In recent years mixed martial arts has gained popularity with the masses. And once again I hear people saying that it is the ultimate fighting art. However, you need to remember that even in MMA there are rules, and therefore still not “the real thing” in terms of an actual street confrontation. In the street, when you are fighting for your life or the life of a loved one, there are no rules. Small joint locks, eye gouging, groin smashing, and biting a good sized chunk of flesh off your attackers body is perfectly acceptable. In other words, you do whatever it takes to survive and walk away.
When you begin to try and number the different styles of fighting systems you see pretty quick that there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of styles. I have heard it said that there are over 300 different styles of kung fu alone; and they are divided into the northern and southern styles. Some are considered hard styles while others are considered soft styles. In the Japanese, Korean and Okinawan systems there are both hard and soft styles. Some major in stand up techniques with kicking, kneeing, elbowing and striking as their main arsenal of weapons. Others major in grappling, throwing and joint locking techniques as their main area of expertise. Others still have combined some of both for what they believe is a “more balanced” system of self defense. So which is best?
I believe there is no best style of martial art. I believe the secret to being a superior martial artist lies within the individual. When you stop to think about it, all styles are teaching basically the same thing in a general way. How to defend and attack, hopefully in a way that brings you out on top as quickly as possible. I believe that there are poor, average, good and very good instructors out there and always has been.. The quality of instructor you train under makes a big difference. I believe the same holds true for students. If you have ever studied martial arts you know by now that you get out of it what you put into it. If you just train two days a week and that’s all, you aren’t ever going to be very good. This is an art. An art has to be cultivated and developed over consistent practice.
Everyone knows that in the world of art there are bad painters, good painters and there are exceptional painters. Its the same in martial arts. Even in the same gym it is rare when you find two people in the same rank that are equally proficient. I have always competed in “open” tournaments against martial artist of all kinds of styles. There is no one style that dominates. It all boils down to the man/woman, the artist. Who has developed his skills the most is the one that will come out on top.
You also have to consider things like an individuals pain threshold, how much heart and determination he has, etc. Then there is that thing called “luck”. I’ve often said I’d rather be lucky than good any day. And, have you ever heard of a fellow called “Murphy”? He seems to follow me everywhere I go. The truth is that anybody can be beat. It just takes the right circumstances or timing. An experienced fighter knows this all too well.
You may not agree with this. That’s fine, it’s your prerogative. But after over 36 years in the arts I have come to embrace this belief wholeheartedly. I think that if you will look around, watch and observe for as long as I have you will come to believe this way too. I appreciate all of the martial arts. I believe each system has valuable techniques and philosophies. I believe they all have things that aren’t so valuable too. Bottom line, there is no ultimate martial art. It’s all about you baby. Train hard, train often, don’t take shortcuts, be the best YOU can be.