People ask me every now and again why I study martial arts. “Just get a gun,” they say. “Or a knife.”
That’s for them, but it’s about more than that to me. Here are my three reasons to learn martial arts.
1. You’ll Learn Self-Defense
“I hate violence,” Dan Inosanto told Black Belt Magazine several issues back.
I do, too. And I think more people should adopt that attitude.
Most martial arts classes – that I’ve been a part of, at least – focus on some level of combat in their programs. Whether it’s sparring, kata application, or some other pre-arranged self-defense scenarios, that’s great.
But what if we don’t want to get involved in combat in the first place? In other words, what if we never want to use what we’re drilling so often in class?
As martial artists and authors Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder always say, “If you are not there, you cannot get it.” Avoiding a situation in which you find yourself in a physical altercation is always the best. Kane and Rory Miller describe six levels of force in their book, Scaling Force (which I’ve reviewed on my personal blog). Choose the appropriate level of force to escape the bad situation, but more times than not, I’d suggest your mere presence (or lack thereof) would be enough to stymie would-be assailants.
I graduated college not too long ago. Several years ago, tension had been brewing at a New Year’s Eve party I was at between neighboring apartments. I looked at my friend who had come with me and told him we should get going. Within minutes of our departure, I was told, the cops had shown up.
2. You’ll Get Fit
Put in enough practice and you’ll see incredible changes to your body.
When I was awarded my black belt in 2006, I weighed somewhere around 215 pounds. As a result of focusing on my karate practice, as well as making refinements in my diet, running, biking, and lifting weights, I am now 40 pounds lighter than I was on test day.
Other Metamora Martial Arts students have seen similar results.
Karate works all of your muscles. Your whole body must be involved – everything from your toes up to your hips up to your arms up to your mind.
Remember when I talked about presence up above? Being in shape may help you avoid confrontations merely by your presence alone.
3. You’ll Be Disciplined
I don’t know if I like that word: disciplined. It’s got a negative connotation to it.
But discipline describes the ability to persevere, to work through challenges when you know they’re tough. Discipline means studying for that test when you just don’t care about the subject. Discipline means getting a half-hour or hour workout in when you’ve had a long day at work. Discipline means practicing your kata before your next karate class because you know your instructor wants to see improvement from the previous class.
Try Your Free Class This Thursday
Take a chance. Stand up against violence. Get fit. Improve your mindset.
Karate helps teach you all of these things.