Growing in Fitness for Self-Defense

Before you can understand how martial arts and combat training can help improve your fitness and health, it is important to understand what “fitness” really is. There are two essential aspects to your personal fitness.

The first relates to your physiological well-being. In order for this aspect to be actualized, it is important for individuals to adhere to the right kind of diet, do some form of physical activity regularly, get the right amount of sleep on a consistent basis, and as much as possible, refrain from harmful habits like excessive drinking and smoking. This will ensure that most or all of the systems and parts of your body are functioning at maximum capacity, which helps you avoid painful, costly, and prohibitive medical conditions in the future.

Physical and mental fitness

The second aspect of fitness actually relates to the physical capabilities of your body. This aspect of fitness is also intimately linked with sharpness of mind as well. Apart from being able to use your body to perform difficult and exhausting physical feats, your mind must also be able to assess and evaluate a threat or a life-endangering situation quickly enough for you to take measures to protect yourself. You must be able to endure monotony, even pain sometimes, to push your limits and reach your goals – which requires both physical and mental stamina. Martial arts training is particularly well-suited for self-improvement training for this reason.

An important thing to remember about martial arts training is that it is ultimately geared toward self-defense. Do not begin training with the intention to cause someone else harm; you will instead learn respect. This kind of training is designed so that you are able to properly handle yourself during a confrontation that could potentially threaten your life or those of your loved ones. As such, martial arts training is designed to help you maneuver yourself out of a violent situation in the most practical and quickest way possible.

Martial arts can be beneficial if the practitioner can use them properly in a street fight, but the real key to self-defense is keeping your body and mind healthy. Studies have shown that athletic training in martial arts can do wonders to stave off conditions like osteoporosis, obesity, joint problems, and neuro-muscular problems. The idea behind this alternating high and low impact training is not to grow to the size of a body-builder, but to allow you to control your own body weight in the best possible manner. In doing so, you will be able to build strength, speed, flexibility, and agility to extremely high levels without compromising the physiological balance of hormones and chemicals in your body.

Increase the Quality and Results of Your Physical Fitness Routine

A professionally-taught Karate program can yield better specific and overall results from your personal investment (time, effort, and money) in a supervised physical fitness regimen. Martial Arts schools have been helping adults and children improve the quality of their lives for some time, with tangible, enduring, life-improving outcomes for many students of all ages. Taking classes at a modern training facility is a great way to increase your confidence, make new friends, increase your personal security, and have fun while improving the overall quality of your physical fitness routine.

Maybe you started working out at a conventional gym a couple of years ago. Like many others, you probably got great, motivating results – at first. And perhaps not unlike them, you eventually “reached a plateau” somewhere – seeing fewer returns from your effort and resources. If this sounds familiar, training at a reputable Martial Arts school could be just the thing to get your fitness progress back in gear.

Training in a quality program provides students a well-rounded, comprehensive program for complete fitness. By practicing Martial Arts, you become faster, stronger, leaner, and more flexible while simultaneously reducing stress and increasing your level of cardiovascular fitness. Training in Martial Arts allows you to feel more “in tune” with your body than ever before. Martial Arts are a holistic practice. Along this bodily accord comes a new sense of mental and spiritual calm, paradoxically giving you the capacity for explosive power. Many students find this mental, physical, and spiritual clarity carries over into every aspect of their lives.

Friendly, experienced instructors work with students individually and as groups to achieve their personal fitness goals at your own preferred pace. People are different. A trained instructor will understand that what works for one student may not work as well for another. Fortunately, the Martial Arts provide effective, enjoyable exercise for all fitness levels, goals, and schedules.

If you’re bored lifting weights, spinning, or climbing stairs for hours on end, or feel frustrated by a lack of discernible results, Martial Arts training could be the ideal solution. Martial Arts classes offer students an excellent means of achieving the best physical fitness of their lives while simultaneously providing them with the tools not only to defend themselves, but also to grow as individuals.

Fitness Isn’t a Chore When It’s FUN!

Training at your local Martial Arts facility provides a remarkable series of experiences that are anything but boring, same-old same-old routines! Training gradually improves your abilities, incrementally reaching personal goals in a safe and fun environment. Martial Arts are well known for their ability to develop impressive combat skills and self-confidence. They enhance strength, stamina, focus, reflexes, and more. And it’s more fun, more motivating to sweat and train with classmates who share your interests and support your goals!

But a quality program will provide much more than mere yelling, jumping, kicking, and punching. Whether confidence, discipline, fitness, or self-defense is one’s motivation for training, the central aim of every Martial Arts student is to improve. To get tougher; to be more adept and effective. We train to conquer obstacles and fears, to broaden our capacities, to learn and earn respect in all areas of life. It shows in our Black Belt attitudes – and in our physical fitness!

If your exercise routine is no longer motivating, or seems to be producing less and less of the toning and conditioning results you want, you just have to try Martial Arts! Consider: you’ve tightened your abs, stretched your hamstrings, and built your biceps, but have you done any work to stretch and build your mental stamina? Exercise helps your body’s systems resist stress- related disorders and dysfunctions. Martial Arts training for many is intense, relaxing, and ultimately satisfying all at once. In large part we must thank our incredible brain chemistry for the relief and improvements we receive.

Martial Arts training help practitioners “keep our cool” – stay calm and not panic or overreact – in stressful situations. Simply put, through our practice, we learn to control our minds and bodies so that less adrenaline is released whenever we experience stress.

Here’s how it works: The brain neurologically signals the body to produce adrenaline during stressful situations, but the surge is beneficial only for short periods of time, not long-term. Long-term exposure to adrenaline is now known to cause many physical problems. It can contribute to headaches, digestive problems, colds, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stomach fat! According to Barbara Brehm-Curtis, Ed. D., professor of exercise and sport studies at Smith College in Northampton, MA, “If done consistently, physical activity actually reduces your stress reactivity. That means less adrenaline gets released and you don’t get as stressed out by things that used to upset you.”

Choose physical activities like Martial Arts that allow you to have fun, make friends, and push your own boundaries in a safe place. Actually enjoying the exercise alters our brain chemistry to reduce and resist stress, ultimately leading to mental clarity and better performance at all levels. Playing vigorously has the added benefit of ridding your body of stress-causing hormones such as adrenaline. Activities like the Martial Arts are shown to significantly bolster the brain’s and body’s stress resistance functions.

Strength training, yoga, or any exercise that involves tensing then releasing muscles can act as progressive relaxation. As Dr. Brehm-Curtis explains it, “When you measure muscle electrical activity after weight training, there’s less electrical activity, indicating that the muscles are more relaxed.”

If you are not the type to meditate, try rhythmic, repetitive activities such as certain Martial Arts styles, swimming, rowing, or running, all of which increase alpha brain waves. These are the same waves that produce a meditative calm.

How many of us have said we can’t find time for one 30 or 40 minute exercise session? The American Council on Exercise suggests taking a 10-minute break every 90 minutes to climb stairs or walk around the building. You’ll accumulate 50 minutes of exercise in an eight-hour day and be more productive, because you’re reducing stress and physically moving.

For stress-relieving benefits, try exercising at least 30 minutes most days of the week. If you are new to exercise, begin with just two or three days, then work up to five or more days. If you need help or have questions, ask your Martial Arts instructor. Remember, exercise doesn’t just affect your physical appearance but your mental health too!

Common to most popular Martial Arts styles practiced in the U.S. today are the terrific mental and physical benefits derived from the total body workouts, especially in supportive classes where partner stretches, exercises, drills, and free sparring intensify the experience! Long-lasting fitness doesn’t have to be boring! Martial Arts are anything but routine, and the amazing benefits are available to anyone – at any starting fitness level or age – who is willing first to try then to persevere. Perhaps the secret to the longevity of traditional Martial Arts could be how personally and collectively enjoyable the practice, and how varied and advantageous the rewards. Fitness is not a chore when it’s fun!