Firstly, what does the term “Martial Arts” mean? Martial Arts are various sports that historically originate from Asia as forms of self-defence. There are fundamental differences between styles, identifying and choosing the style that suits you is the first step. There are so many benefits when training regularly in martial arts regardless of style.
What are the Benefits?
One of the hardest things about beginning anything new including a martial art is the initial staring point. In martial arts that is normally getting up and taking part in your first lesson, nerves kick in and you can feel a lack of confidence and you’re asking yourself, will I be able to do it, will I be any good? Well, you won’t know until you try. If everyone was perfect at everything and never made a mistake, then there would be no need for an endless number of things but that’s not the case.
All martial arts improve confidence endlessly. They have recognised progression which provides a sense of achievement and development whilst improving self-defence skills which also helps confidence.
It isn’t just physical exercise but also a mental work out. Most martial arts have a sequence of techniques and moves that need to be remembered advancing in difficulty the more you progress. Regular practise will bring focus and help improve your memory.
No matter what age you are when you start, you will gain flexibility, and your body will improve balance, muscle tone and stability. Whichever martial art you choose, the exercises will feel alien at first, but with control and repetition comes increased benefit.
It’s great having a structured way to do something especially when learning but using your own imagination and creativity helps too. Martial arts have both elements, you have a structured system with set moves and sequences, and areas where you encouraged to create your own combinations and sequences.
WEIGHT LOSS & FITNESS
Any physical activity is going to aid weight loss and martial arts is no expectation. The beauty of martial arts is you can control the intenseness of the work out, lessons are structured and have a variety of activities that develop diverse areas of your body. It isn’t necessarily about weight loss but that is very often the outcome. If you are considering martial arts mainly for weight loss, choosing a one that has lots of kicking, sparring, pad work & cardio might be your best option.
Martial arts are a lifestyle choice, you will find that it isn’t just a physical activity it’s so much more. The majority martial arts have an aspect relating to respect, morals and values which transfer over to every area of your life.
What do I need to start?
It’s never too late to take up martial arts, you can do it at any age, at any level of fitness and with commitment and regular training you will improve very quickly.
You require very little when starting, can it is best to go to your local martial arts school/club and speak to the instructor. They will be able to advise you on what is required at that particular school/club. Below are some items that are required for beginners.
A Licence / Membership with insurance.
All reputable martial arts schools will have some kind licence with insurance that covers you in case of injury, the instructor at your chosen school will be able to advise you more.
This will be specific for both the discipline, and the school that you have joined, so talk to your instructor and see what is needed.
Items to consider in the future.
Focus Pads or Kick shields
These are used for practising techniques to improve your accuracy, power and speed. Sometimes the school will provide them but it is useful to have your own.
If your chosen martial art requires sparring then you’ll need to purchase equipment at some point. This usually consist of Head guard, gum shield, gloves, shin pads, boots, groin guard.