Hit like a girl: How martial arts empower women

With Ronda Rousey fighting her way to stardom in the UFC, no one can say women aren't strong. This mixed martial artist has won matches in mere seconds, quickly becoming a role model for girls and women everywhere. Even if you don't follow Rousey's fights, you can learn something from her sport of choice. Martial arts provide plenty of opportunities for women to show their strength, enjoy a good workout and feel empowered.

Physical and mental confidence 
Martial arts can be an intense workout, especially when sparring. You're moving your entire body, incorporating strength training and cardiovascular exercise in one session. Over time, training in martial arts can help you strengthen your body and lose weight. For many, feeling their fitness improve boosts confidence, both in their abilities and their overall sense of wellness. You'll learn what you're capable of, and having the confidence to work hard physically can inspire you to thrive in other areas of your life.

Of course, feeling like you look great doesn't hurt either!

Sense of security
Unfortunately, we live in a world where women have to play it safe. From carrying pepper spray to walking in groups at night, women are burdened with being careful. That's why self-defense training can be so valuable. Ideally, you'll never have to use the skills you learn in martial arts, but it's better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.

Many martial arts instructors are trained to teach self-defense moves specifically to women. These individuals will provide you with moves you can execute easily and effectively, and show you the exact situations in which to use those moves. That way, if a dangerous situation ever occurs, you'll be armed with the right self-defense techniques and be able to get away safely. 

Knowing you're trained could help you feel more empowered to do things you may not have otherwise. It's amazing how much more confident you'll feel when you're not worried about safety at every turn. Of course, knowing self-defense skills isn't an invitation to neglect other precautions. 

Peace of mind
Martial arts training not only promotes strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health, but it also teaches discipline and focus. By taking control of your movements and concentrating on the lesson at hand, you'll learn to remain calm even in stressful situations. When you come to the dojo, you leave the frustrations of the day behind, or work them out. This leads to peace of mind and a sense that you're greater than your circumstances. 

For women, martial arts can be a gateway to self-esteem, safety and peace.