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How Martial Arts Connect Your Mind, Body and Spirit

How Martial Arts Connect Your Mind Body and Spirit
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If you talk to any karate or jiu-jitsu fighter and they will tell you that martial arts are the best thing you can do for your body and mind. They don’t only approach your health from the fitness standpoint, but they also condition your mind and your spirit. So, how do martial arts connect all these different parts of the human being?

It teaches you how to find your center
One of the main points of every martial arts training is finding one’s center and focusing properly. Through mental exercise, practitioners are able to learn how to quickly clear their mind and reach a state of Zen that will allow them to function to their best abilities.

In order to use the best potential of the human body, martial arts tend to dive deep into our mental state. A martial artist who’s calm and focused is usually much more effective than the one that’s distracted and stressed. This rule is valid outside of the dojo as well! If you calm your mind, you can be quicker and more efficient in accomplishing your tasks no matter if at school, in college, at work or at home—all that thanks to being more centered.

It calms your body, mind and spirit through meditation
Meditation is a huge part of many different martial art disciplines. Though this altered Zen state, practitioners can have a better grip of their mood and lead to better conversations with their own spirits. This is especially important as many people today struggle with stress, anxiety and finding their own identity. Some people don’t even know what they are capable of achieving because they are so full of stress and anxiety. But, with martial arts, you can find (or create) a bridge between your mind and your body.

With breathing techniques and guided meditation, you can dive deep into your spirit and discover, rediscover and reexamine your feelings and find that which keeps you restless. Some martial arts like capoeira also employ music and rhythm in order to time strikes, but also to get people into a pleasant trance-like state that helps meditation. This mesmerizing sound helps practitioners get in touch for their souls and become better fighters and people. This Afro-Brazilian art is also very ancient with heavy and not so cheerful history and learning about Capoeira can bring your closer to its roots and your own roots. Plus, it might get you motivated to try it yourself—it’s very fun and rewarding.

It makes you more balanced
Perhaps the most beneficial thing about martial arts is training to use your body as a one, joined unit. Many people are very uncoordinated, raw and lack any sense of unity and cohesion. When our body parts don’t work in unison, we feel off-balance. This is where martial arts come in—they fix this problem by teaching our body, mind and spirit to function as one. Since martial arts affect every single muscle in the human body, trains the mind to be aware of itself and things around it and teaches the soul to harness the capacity of our body and mind, martial arts help people become more complete and balanced.

It gives you valuable experience
All the fighting principles you learn and practice in class do help in all aspects of life, not just in the ring. Just imagine yourself in a very stressful situation—you got fired from your job. This situation would make anyone stressed and angry. However, there are different ways you can approach this misfortune: you can be disappointed and angry at yourself and others and completely shut down mentally or you can be calm and patient, learn from this experience and come out a better person. This is a difference between getting punched in the face and deflecting the punch and use the opponent’s momentum to your advantage.

It treats the body as a whole
Every limp and every joint is activated when you practice martial arts. It combines both cardio exercises and strength exercises which allows people to shed fat and build lean muscles. Some disciplines like kickboxing use both the arms and the legs and various rotary motions to execute complicated kicks and punches. Wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses on core strength and uses the person’s natural weight to manage the opponent and put them in different advantageous positions. This requires speed, strength, skill and flexibility. If you constantly train every part of your body, your mind will also learn to be more aware of the space around it and its place in it. If you learn to understand the way your body moves, you’ll develop better spatial intelligence and become more conscious about how your body functions. This results in more effective movements and a better understanding of one’s self.

So, if you want to take up a physical activity that trains the body, mind and spirit, head to your local dojo and sign up for some martial arts classes. There are many different variations, so more practical and some more theoretical, but they will all bring you a world of physical, mental and emotional benefits.
Written by Ian Lewis
Ian Lewis is a father, writer, and a fitness nut. He’s passionate about many forms of strength training and spent years lifting all kinds of heavy objects. His favorite quote: There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. You can find him on Twitter @IanWLewis
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