Martial Arts: The True Body and Mind Exercise and How to Incorporate it

Introduction: Long time ago, there was a type of exercise that has been passed down from generation to generation. The term is martial arts. The term martial arts defined by ThoughtCo as “all of the various systems of training for combat that have been arranged and systematized”. According to legends, Bodhidharma, the Indian monk, moved to Southern China and taught his skills as a martial artist there and since then, his teachings have spread across the world and created many forms and philosophies of martial arts as a whole. In simple terms, if it were not for Bodhidharma, martial arts wouldn’t be popular to this day.

Photo a Man and Woman Doing Martial Arts
Source/Credit: Craig Adderely from Pexels

Types of martial arts: In general, martial arts have been categorized into 5 types: Striking, grappling, low impact, weapon based, and MMA or hybrid martial arts. Striking type includes karate, boxing, krav maga, kickboxing, muay thai, and taekwondo.

Muay Thai boxer kick opponent
Striking style: Muay Thai Source/Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/h8sl-oNcat0 Also credit to Pablo Rebolledo

Grappling type includes the popular style of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling.

Bruno-F-Fernandes-inaction.jpg
Source/Credit: Bruno F. Fernandes from Wikimedia CC Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Tai Chi is the most common style for low impact martial arts.

Tai chi Source/Credit: Chayo from Flickr CC

For weapon-based styles, kali is the most popular weapon-based martial arts.

two person playing Japanese sword game
Sword playing martial arts Source/Credit: Bernd Viefhues from Unsplash

MMA is mixed martial arts and hybrid martial arts include Jeet Kune Do, made famous by Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee action figure with black background
Bruce Lee action figure, the man behind Jeet Kune Do and is considered by Dana White, UFC President as the father of mixed martial arts Source/Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/kKLEgX-Z_O4 Credit to Fervent Jen from Unsplash

Another type of martial arts included called the takedown styles, a style where the defender takes down the opponent to the ground. This is similar to grappling style, the takedown style includes Aikido, Judo, and Hapkido.

Aikido at the Japanese Garden 03.jpg
Aikido Source/Credit: Neil – Flickr fro Wikimedia CC

Benefits: What makes martial arts a great exercise is that it provides physical and mental health benefits. For physical aspect, you can experience increased speed, endurance, and stamina. Cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility are shown too improved. Better balance and reaction times resulted as well.

Man Holding Black Dumbbell
Source/Credit: Anush Gorak from Pexels

The mental health aspect comes from the fact that your self-well-being becomes positive. Evidence highlighted from the article “The Physical & Mental Benefits of Martial Arts” by the website SilverLiningtkd.com that doing martial arts is a form of therapy. Therapy meaning that people use this method to express emotions and feelings in a healthy manner. Martial arts can express anger and frustration by letting it out and feel better afterward. Evidence also shows that martial arts can improve mental focus, attention, and alertness. However, the three important benefits of martial arts are the teaching of self-defense, resolve conflicts without inciting physical violence, and teach self-discipline. Self-defense can help you to protect yourself against things that can harm you like bullies, intruders, strangers with harmful motives, or attackers. Yet martial arts morality and values are not to start physical fights instead resolve conflicts to prevent any form of attack. Self-discipline expresses the idea that your emotions and feelings needed control by oneself and overcome negative emotions and feelings while also overcoming weaknesses. More benefits claimed in the blog “The Top 6 Health Benefits of Martial Arts” by the website Evolve-MMA includes improvement of self-confidence, teaches morals and values, better concentration, lose weight, and may help you become a better athlete.

group of martial artists sitting on the grounds
Practicing self-discipline and focus Source/Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/yYSY93clr4w Credit to Thao Le Hoang from Unsplash

Caution: Like other things that have benefits, there are cautions to remember. You must warm-up before you start doing punches, strikes, or kicks because you want your body to prepare for these movements. The warm-up is also good to prevent muscle soreness and injury. A cooldown is important as well to make sure your body is at resting state and decrease the chance of soreness and stress. Always start at the beginner level if you’re new to martial arts. Learning proper form and technique is necessary for beginners, so that practice makes perfect and master basic moves like punches, palm strikes, front kicks, sidekicks, jab, cross, and hook. With improved fitness, form, and technique, you can move on to an intermediate or advanced level. If you want to learn martial arts, you can either do online training or attend your local area that practice different martial arts styles. Although it is not required, the recommendation is to have a partner to help you practice your skills.

man and woman doing karate on road at daytime
Practicing proper technique Source/Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/uGbG4LnMFMY Credit to Thao Le Hoang from Unsplash

Sample:

For Muay Thai

Warm-up: Arm circles, hip circles, leg swings, Frankenstein, jog in place, jumping jacks, knee circles (do these exercises between 5-10 min)

Workout

Combo#1: Jab+Cross

Combo#2: Jab+Cross+Hook

Combo#3: Jab+Cross+Hook+Uppercut

Combo#4: Jab+Cross+Hook+Uppercut+Elbow strike

Combo#5: Jab+Cross+Upper Elbow strike+Roundhouse kick+Back kick+ Front kick

Combo#6: Jab+Hook+Cross+Side kick+ Side kick+knee strike

Combo#7: Roundhouse kick+turning back kick+elbow strike+knee strike

Combo#8: Jab+Cross+Hook+Uppercut+Elbow strike+Knee strike+ Roundhouse kick+back kick+cresent kick

*Do the combos between 30-60 sec and you can repeat the set as much as you want*

*You can create variety in combos. If you can create your own combos and it works well for you, stick to it and keep being creative.*

Cooldown: Butterfly stretch, standing quadriceps stretch, Chest stretch, shoulder stretch, cobra stretch, seated or standing hamstring stretch (5-10 min)

Conclusion: Martial arts is a good way for people to get better physically and mentally. Don’t stick to one style of martial arts. It is best for you to try much variety of martial arts and see what fits you and what does not. Be a better person you were in the past because the future is bright. Don’t lose yourself and like Bruce Lee said, “Honestly express yourself”. Be the artist of your kind of martial arts. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE all the time and you can become the champion.

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Reference:

The Top 6 Health Benefits Of Martial Arts – Evolve Daily. (2017, August 22). Retrieved from https://evolve-mma.com/blog/the-top-6-health-benefits-of-martial-arts/

Rousseau, R. “What are the different types of martial arts?” ThoughtCo. 2018, April 14. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/martial-arts-styles-2308281

Rousseau, R. “What Are Martial Arts?” ThoughtCo. 2017, May 15. Retreived from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-are-martial-arts-2307702

The Physical and Mental Benefits of Martial Arts. (2018, March 19). Retrieved from https://www.silverliningtkd.com/post/the-physical-mental-benefits-of-martial-arts

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