While schools of martial arts differ in their teaching approach and philosophy, each form has something to offer outside of physical fitness. In fact, by training in martial arts, kids, adults and seniors can pick up on a plethora of life lessons. All those kicks, punches and times you've been knocked to the mat may just teach you a thing or two about making your way through life. With that in mind, here are some of the valuable lessons you can learn during training:
Perseverance is something you choose
No one masters martial arts in a day – that's why it's called an art. You have to pour in years of practice and dedication to get to a "master" level, and even then your work isn't done. During the time you study your chosen martial art, you will make mistakes. You'll be knocked down or feel like you don't have the energy to keep moving. This is when you can make a choice to either persevere or give up. Perseverance doesn't happen automatically. It is an intentional decision every individual must make, and martial arts will force you to choose. The good news is that your peers and teachers will be there with you, cheering you on.
Learning never ends
While you can earn a black belt or the rank of "master" in martial arts, you'll never stop learning. The most skilled fighters know that they can always improve, which motivates them to keep training and testing their limits. In fact, your instructor probably still takes classes and trains with others. The same is true of things you learn in other facets of life. Whether it's your job or a hobby, you can always improve your skills. Adopt this attitude in martial arts and in life, and you'll be more likely to grow in your abilities and as a person.
Challenging yourself will help you grow
As you train in martial arts, you'll quickly notice that who you practice with and how hard you work affects your growth. Pairing with students who have greater experience than you can help you learn new skills more quickly. What's more, working hard on your own time and going to tournaments will kick-start improvement. Essentially, martial arts will teach you that challenging yourself and going outside of your comfort zone will pay off, no matter what you're doing.
Even small steps matter
You may not notice many of the improvements you make while you train in martial arts. But low and behold, after some training time has passed, you'll see just how far you've come. Martial arts can teach you that seemingly insignificant steps ultimately lead to a brighter future. In other words, change is slow, but it's happening constantly. The same is true in all areas of life. Saying "yes" to something small you would otherwise have passed up could lay the foundation for things to come.
You are stronger than you think
After persevering, challenging yourself and making small steps, you'll soon realize that you're stronger than you could have ever imagined. Those falls, mistakes and losses all helped you become who you are, and you ultimately succeeded. Even in work, home and personal life, you are strong. Martial arts merely shows you in what ways.
While martial arts offers physical benefits, it can also help you see possibilities. Remember these life lessons you received while training and bring them with you through daily life.