The modern world often seems to move at an incredible pace. From technology to expanding business hours, humans stay busy. And while working late, going to social events and taking your kids to extracurricular activities are all beneficial, you may often be left disquieted. However, swapping your regular fitness routine for martial arts may help you find some calm amidst the chaos of modern life. Here’s how:
You can’t passively learn martial arts. Rather, you must actively observe, try forms and practice the moves you’ve seen. Once you know the moves, you must continue to rehearse them, paying attention to form and correcting subtle errors. This process of constantly altering your body and its movements to better perform a martial art helps you learn mindfulness, or the act of being totally aware of what you’re doing.
Being present and in the moment helps you disconnect from stress that may have been bothering you prior to stepping in the dojo. When you’re in class, you’re focused on perfecting your art. This may seem like a contradiction, but it can help you reduce stress and find a little peace throughout the week.
Breathing is full of mental benefits, which is why many suggest taking deep breaths whenever you’re frustrated or sad to help you calm down. Martial arts features a lot of mindful breath use. Most instructors require their students to either exhale audibly or shout when they punch or kick. This act helps practitioners remember to breathe during their fights. What’s more, exhaling supports the core, and can help you maintain balance during practice or sparring.
While breathing is necessary for the physical component of martial arts, it can also have mental benefits. As you actively engage your breath, you can focus on breathing instead of whatever distracted you outside of the dojo.
Most forms of martial arts have meditative qualities, whether it’s practicing a series of moves to promote concentration or breathing with intention. However, some forms more heavily emphasize peace of mind than others. Tai chi and qi gong, for instance, both incorporate gentle and fluid motion, breathing exercises and meditation. In many aspects, these styles of martial arts can feel similar to yoga, but with more movement.
Martial arts can help you stay fit and achieve peace of mind amidst a fast-paced lifestyle. If you’re looking for some quiet in your week, give martial arts a try.