There are a number of reasons why people decide to pursue training in the martial arts. The most common is likely to be self-defense. Being able to protect oneself is important to a large number of students who sign up for classes in karate and taekwondo. However, martial arts aren't just designed to help someone win a fight. There are a other inherent benefits to training in specific disciplines that can be applied in other areas of life, such as acting.
Most fans of the Marvel Comics blockbuster movie series, such as "Iron Man," "Thor," and "The Avengers," are probably familiar with Clark Gregg, the actor who plays Phil Coulson, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the covert agency that works in partnership with the fictional superhero characters.
Although his role in the films – as well as in the popular TV show, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." – is that of an unassuming secret agent, in real life, Gregg is also a martial artist, who is currently training in the art of Brazilian jiujitsu.
"I really liked it right off," Gregg told Fox Sports while explaining he'd become introduced to the discipline while working on a film more than 10 years ago. "I found a lot really useful about it. Being able to relax and breathe when you're under great pressure, it comes in handy all around your life. It's been a really long road."
Fox Sports stated that Gregg had reached brown belt status a year ago, the highest-ranking color belt in the discipline before black belt, which signifies mastery. Typically, it takes Brazilian jiujitsu students up to four years to earn their brown belts. However, Gregg's busy acting schedule forced him to take a more circuitous route.
"In jiujitsu, every instinct you have wants to do everything but relax or breathe when someone's attacking you, and learning that takes a long time," he explained. "I think that's why a lot of people stop at blue belt because it's really hard to do. It's hard to take that next step. It took me a long time."
Clark Gregg's training is yet another example of the benefits of learning martial arts and applying the disciplines into other areas of life besides being able to win a fight.