Mainstream American culture sees martial arts through a lens that involves kicks, punches, and awe-inspiring spin moves. While the ancient traditions train students to be more physically fit and able to use their bodies as a self-defense tool, emotional and mental health benefits seem to take a backseat to hand-to-hand combat. What Kung Fu, Tai-Chi, and Shaolin Kempo practitioners discover is a lifestyle that supports improved mental health and inner peace. If you or a loved one is interested in taking a holistic approach to fitness, wellness, and mental health, these are ways self-defense training could prove invaluable.
Self-Defense Training Provides Stress Relief
Tai-Chi is an example of a crossover discipline between self-defense and mindfulness. The slow, sweeping movements are a graceful way to work through fighting and defensive postures. Students focus on gentle shifts, steady breathing, and holding poses. In many ways, Tai-chi mirrors popular yoga classes people take to improve flexibility and reduce stress.
It’s important to note that experts outside the martial arts field agree that Tai-Chi ranks among the proven methods to improve quality of life. Medical organizations such as the Mayo Clinic indicate that Tai-Chi helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Physical Exercise Releases Endorphins
Self-defense training includes an exercise regimen designed to increase muscle strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance. The conventional wisdom is that everyday people would be unable to defend themselves if they became winded or lacked the basic fitness to fend off an attacker.
Working out in any capacity triggers a series of positive reactions in the body. One of the benefits experienced after only a few classes is a mood boost following a strenuous class. Endorphins are typically released when the body strains, which explains the elation long-distance runners enjoy.
As your body becomes more physically fit and your endurance improves, martial arts students also tend to feel good about their self-image. It’s important to understand that a responsible self-defense studio works closely with students to create individual programs that sync with their physical abilities.
Self-Defense Helps Release Negative Emotions
It’s no secret Americans are living through troubled times and frustrations build up despite the best efforts to remain positive. These negative feelings are likely to manifest in ways everyday people don’t realize or want. Venting on a friend or family member is not usually someone’s intention. Unfortunately, we are all fallible, and our mental and emotional capacity to cope has limits.
One of the more straightforward ways self-defense instruction helps release negative feelings involves kata. This Japanese word means “form,” and students work through choreographed martial arts patterns that emulate kicks, punches, and blocking. Making front kicks, chops, and punches feels aggressive and releases the pent-up energy in a safe space.
If kata doesn’t purge someone of their frustrations, striking punching bags and dummies will. To remain mentally stable and emotionally calm, everyday people need to find a place to release bad juju. A self-defense studio ranks among the best places to ground yourself.
Martial Arts Help People Embrace Forgiveness
When human beings are wronged or feel hurt by others, that pain too often manifests in anger, resentment, and impacts our mental health and wellness. It may sound counterintuitive, but self-defense training teaches ways to avoid conflict. Forgiving others for their mistakes or misdeeds allows us to move forward and not allow negative forces to impede our emotional wellbeing.
One of the martial arts techniques that buoys our ability to forgive is meditation. During this process, practitioners allow the mind to relax. Thoughts enter the mind, and then they are let go. This forms the basis for a process of forgiveness. A hurtful incident occurred, and a time comes to let it go. It’s not necessarily realistic to forget a more painful memory. But the mindful meditation involved in self-defense training helps people prevent it from overwhelming them.
Prolonged Self-Defense Training Improves Self-Esteem
Feelings of inadequacy can have a debilitating effect on wide-reaching aspects of our lives. And perhaps the people who struggle with self-esteem issues the most in our community are teenagers. It’s not uncommon for young people to need to develop skills that make them feel valued. When peers excel in sports, music, or other areas, that only exacerbates a lack of confidence for some.
Self-defense can prove an excellent elixir for teens dealing with low self-esteem. That’s because everyone comes into the studio at the same level and adds new skills together. A martial arts studio is a supportive and encouraging environment where people of all ages see tangible progress based on their individual efforts. Each time someone learns a new kata or earns a belt, their self-confidence is boosted. And the process of learning and progressing becomes applicable in other aspects of their life.
Self-defense training is a habit-forming endeavor that positively affects mental health and quality of life. For information about programs and classes, contact United Studios of Self Defense in Vancouver.
Contact USSD Vancouver
The United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) Vancouver offers world-class instruction in three different types of self defense and martial arts: Tai-Chi, Kung Fu, and Shaolin Kempo. We offer both group instruction and one-on-one classes to fit your schedule and instruction needs. We offer classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced in each of the above three disciplines. Classes are available for both adults and children.
Contact us today to learn more about our martial arts programs or to set up a time to visit one of our classes in person. Our instructors work with students at every age and stage of martial arts development and are dedicated to helping you cultivate self defense skills that meet your goals and make you feel great about yourself.
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