Why Practicing a Martial Art is Good for You


Martial arts remain a mystery to many people despite its growing popularity over the years. There is still a lingering perception that not everyone is up to the seemingly painful and violent nature of practicing them. But learning a martial art is not about embracing violence as a part of life. It is more about developing the patience to avoid conflict. Like any other sport, practicing a martial art is good for you. Here are some of the reasons why.

It’s a character builder

Discipline, honor, and respect are some of the fundamental teachings across different martial arts. It is deeply embedded in traditional martial arts like aikido, karate, and kendo. Students learn to respect their teachers, seniors, and even their juniors. They are taught philosophies that promote etiquette. Honor is strongly built into various martial art systems. Those who practice the arts are able to tap into these lessons to build character.

It promotes self-mastery

Self-discipline paves the way for self-master. You can learn a lot about discipline when you practice a martial art. Showing up and sticking to a training routine regardless of how tough it get is a form of discipline that brings you a step farther into the path to self-improvement. Discipline in martial art also takes the form of the ability to deal with conflict without resorting to violence.

It gives you the experience of being in the zone

Artists, performers, athletes, and martial artists have talked about being in the zone or what is also known as the flow. It is a state where everything seems to flow seamlessly. The mind is empty of needless thoughts and instead focused on the here and now. And by being fully present in the moment, the mind and body is completely engaged with the task at hand. In the zone, you are left undisturbed by distractions. Instead, you perform at your best regardless of the challenges you have to overcome to complete the task.

It teaches you what it takes to succeed

The lessons in martial arts set you up for success. More importantly, it helps you understand what it takes to succeed in martial art or in life. It teaches you to set goals and to persevere to achieve them. One of the important lessons you learn when learning a martial art would be this: There is no shortcut to success. It often takes years of continuous practice to advance to a higher level. Many who are considered masters in their arts believe in the importance of maintaining a beginners’ mindset. So essentially, there is no end in sight towards mastery. You are in for the long haul. The ability to persevere sets you up to succeed in any endeavor in life.

It builds confidence

You gain confidence every time you overcome the challenges in training. As you develop the skills, you begin to believe in your own abilities. You begin to welcome situations that may require you to step out of your comfort zone. You become comfortable in dealing with the difficulties practicing a martial art sometimes present.

Lessons from the Masters


There are many martial arts quotes that will make you reflect on your own journey. Some inspire even those who are not practitioners of any martial art. The lessons they teach are often universal. And most of them require a deeper understanding that may be achieved by walking the path. The following are some of the best quotes about martial arts that will make you think about your own journey.

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself” – Chinese Proverb

“When the student is ready, the Master appears.” – Buddhist Proverb

“The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy’s cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.” – Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

“The true work of the martial arts is progress, not perfection” – Gene Dunn

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee

“He who is taught only by himself has a fool for a master. “ – Ben Jonson

“Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.” – Matsu Basho

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. “ – Bruce Lee

“Some Warriors look fierce, but are mild. Some seem timid, but are vicious. Look beyond appearances; position yourself for the advantage.” – Deng Ming-Dao

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

“Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” – Tsukahara Bokuden.

“One finds life through conquering the fear of death within one’s mind. Empty the mind of all forms of attachment, make a go-for-broke charge and conquer the opponent with one decisive slash.” – Togo Shigekata.

“The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind.” – Yagyu Jubei

“To practice Zen or the Martial Arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve – as if you might die in the next instant” – Taisen Deshimaru

“Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further you progress, the fewer teachings there are. The Great Path is really NO PATH.” – Ueshiba Morihei

“To all those whose progress remains hampered by ego-related distractions, let humility – the spiritual cornerstone upon which Karate rests – serve to remind one to place virtue before vice, values before vanity and principles before personalities.” – Sokon ‘Bushi’ Matsumura

“Nothing is more harmful to the world than a martial art that is not effective in actual self-defense.” – Choki Motobu

How to Become a Better Martial Artist


Improving at any martial art requires the same principles or strategies as most anything in life. You will have to be committed and tenacious in your efforts to become better. It may seem daunting in the beginning, but you gradually get the hang of it as you go along. The path towards self-mastery takes time. And it often starts with paying attention to small details that will make you a better martial artist.

Practice consistently

Your innate skill or talent will not get you far in martial arts without consistent practice. You have to set aside the time for regular training. This means not missing out on practices in the dojo or training center where you practice. You also have to devote some time to train on your own. The best martial artists are those who have made training a part of their lifestyle.

Listen, observe, and follow

Listen attentively, observe, and follow. These are among the things you have to live by if you want to progress in martial arts. Pay attention to what your teacher is saying or doing. Many traditional martial arts teachers do not say much. Instead, they let their actions speak for themselves. You could miss a lot of lesson if you do not listen well or observe what your teacher is doing. You also have to learn how to follow instructions to make the most of the lessons from your teacher.

Stay humble and be respectful

There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Getting better at something makes you more confident. But do not let that cloud your views. Stay humble and respectful to the people you practice with regardless of their rank or level of experience. It helps to keep in mind that everyone you are practicing with has something to teach you. And they are your partners as you strive to improve.

Warm up and stretch

Start and finish your practice with the right warm-up and stretching routines. It is necessary not only for improving your performance. It also helps in preventing injuries. Learn how to do the warm up, stretching, and cool down properly. And be diligent in doing them before and after your practice.


You cannot perform well in practice without proper hydration. Drink the right amounts of water before, during, and after practice. Do some research or consult fitness professionals on how to best hydrate based on your body’s requirements and the type of martial art that you do.

Spend time on extra practice

Practice the techniques you learned or do some cross training on your spare time. You can lift some weights at the gym, go for a run, or practice techniques specific to your martial art. This not only helps you stay in top shape. it also hones the skills you have already learned.