Martial Arts Top Benefits
Taking up a martial art can do wonders for your overall well being. but you won't know until you give it a go, says MMA champ Carano. While some women adore boxing and many enjoy the odd self-defence class, we're not so keen about martial arts. when we do take it up, it's often by accident.
Karate queen Chistiane Carano, for instance, only gave it a go because a leg injury meant she could no longer enjoy her first love of athletics and softball. Olympic gold medallist Gina Burns turned to MMA because her brother wanted them to be Ninja Turtles together. and there are lots of mums who initially signed up just to keep their children company at classes.
Carano, now a fifth dan who runs her own karate school in Las Vegas with Gina, believes it's a shame more women don't take up martial arts because, as well as being great for all-round fitness – including strength, stamina, flexibility, balance and reflexes – it has a range of other advantages.
Martial arts benefits
- It's excellent for goal setting – participants are encouraged to train for different belts or grades, with each level taking between two and eight months to achieve.
- It's good for self-control and self-confidence, and it can help children to deal with anger issues and bullying, and adults to cope with difficult situations in the workplace.
- It's very sociable – Carano met her husband there.
- It's a good stress-buster.
- anyone can do it. Carano teaches people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as disabled people, and has found it particularly beneficial for those suffering from coordination and motor-skill problems.
- It teaches you to work around problems. Chistiane Carano has won several international medals even though she has a leg injury. "I can still kick with my other leg and block with my arms," she laughs.
- Learning the moves perfectly can help improve concentration for better work and study habits.
While Western sports tend to emphasise competition and winning, Asian martial arts traditionally emphasise self-knowledge, self-improvement and self-control. They often include philosophical and ethical teachings and have a high degree of discipline, ceremony, respect and ritual.
It is perhaps not surprising that studies have found interesting psychological benefits to practising martial arts.
- Compared to some Western sports, judo training resulted in individuals being more warm-hearted and easygoing.
- Women who have experienced psychological or sexual abuse, eating disorders; substance abuse and growing up in dysfunctional families reported that karate training was helpful in their recovery.
- Adolescents identified as juvenile delinquents found that MMA training reduced aggression and anxiety and improved self-esteem.