Martial Arts have many benefits, whether it be for the body, the mind or the spirit. In our next few posts, we will look further into our top five benefits for each, starting with the body.
Unlike other fitness programmes, Martial Arts training develops flexibility.
Rather than focusing on separate movements to increase your range of motion, self-defence training uses the entire body to protect, defend or attack. The body will learn to perform in all directions, in all aspects of movement and through full ranges of motion. The more you train, the more fluid and smooth your movements will become.
When muscle flexibility has significantly improved, your mind will have confidence in moving with maximum speed and reach. Flexibility will remove resistance.
Balance requires shifting weight, or adjusting the muscles supporting you, smoothly.
When trying to deceive an opponent, you will need to develop the ability to cause this shift in balance.
Much like flexibility, Martial Arts training will improve your balance when performing techniques. Many Martial Artists believe that training helps to prevent injury and assists with regaining balance before falling.
Martial Artists must have a balance between offence and defence, punching and kicking, and physical and mental abilities. When a Martial Artist has developed strength in all aspects, and has balanced these strengths, he or she is a truly good Martial Artist.
In general, sport is likely to help improve coordination. Martial arts can be particularly good in this area when moving in specific ways to master certain techniques.
One of the best ways to improve coordination is to simply drill your kicks, punches and other techniques endlessly. Over time, your body will become programmed to develop the necessary muscle memory, allowing the movement to become graceful and confident.
Visualisation also helps coordination, by making the mind’s vision become the body’s ability. Many different factors may affect the level of coordination in a positive way too; timing, speed, balance and flexibility.
Coordination is the ability to make the body do what the mind requires. We are all born with a certain amount of coordination however, much like balance, it is a skill that requires development.
When training, body weight is used to move and perform techniques. This type of body training is similar to bodyweight calisthenics, which has been used for centuries by the military and athletes to get in supreme condition. Martial Arts training builds lean, functional muscles that is the perfect combination of strength, speed, size and endurance.
Endurance is key with Martial Arts – muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and mental endurance. Each contributes to increased stamina, and can be improved dramatically through Martial Arts and self discipline.
Muscular endurance is the ability to continue to relax and contract the muscles for extended periods of time. Cardiovascular endurance allows the heart and lungs to circulate oxygen and blood to the muscles, maintaining a heart rate that supports continued activity. Mental endurance allows us to psychologically keep going, maintaining focus and attention.
Endurance training in Martial Arts involves raising the body’s heart and respiration rate. This helps in boosting overall fitness and to improve the health of organs such as the heart and lungs.
Therefore, flexibility, balance, coordination, muscle tone and endurance are just some of the many important factors that benefit the body when training in Martial Arts. Next time around, we’ll look further into how Martial Arts helps the mind.
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