This article was last updated on December 30, 2015
Walk down any city street and look around – chances are you are going to see a lot of people who are seriously out of shape, overly emotional and locked in their own little world. We have lost some very important social skills in the modern age, we have sacrificed them along with physical fitness, health and mental toughness in exchange for a cozy life. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with having technology make our lives easier, or living in a world where we can feel safe and have our basic needs met, but we do need a meaningful activity in our lives that helps keep us fit, healthy and happy.
There are a lot of different activities which can make us healthier, stronger and more agile, but there are some things you get from training combat sports like boxing, Muay Thai, Judo, wrestling or MMA, that you can’t get from aerobics or cycling. Combat sports offer the most complete package when it comes to physical and mental health benefits, and there are several ways in which this type of training will improve your life.
6 Ways Combat Sports Help You Become More Successful
1. They Are a Fun Form of Exercise That Develops Practical Skills
The problem with most forms of exercise is that they feel like a chore. Taking yourself to the gym and going over the same routine can get boring real quick, but coming in and learning new techniques keeps you motivated. You don’t want to miss a training session, because you know that you need to stay sharp, and the skills you use can be applied in the real world.
Your reflexes and balance improve, you learn to think on your feet and make split second decisions, and you become more coordinated. When you are doing something fun, and are able to gauge your progress in a practical way, you are more likely to stay on track with your training. Furthermore, it helps you develop a different outlook on life and how you approach you everyday struggles.
2. The Training Is Multifaceted and Covers All the Main Areas of Fitness
To become a good fighter you need strength, explosive power, and good anaerobic and aerobic stamina. The training will include building strong muscles, tendons and bones that can take a hit, as well as deliver force into a target, but you will also do things like jumps, sprints, long distance running and shadowboxing.
Of all the different sports and physical activities, combat sports have the best all-round approach to physical fitness, as they do not neglect any aspect of training. The training you do at the gym will be supplemented with things like weightlifting and running, but you’ll be doing all these exercises with a goal in mind – to become a better athlete. You are not trying to make your muscles bigger, you are creating a better version of yourself.
3. You Develop Confidence and Improve Willpower
Once you attain a decent level of skill, become stronger and develop an aesthetic body, you’ll notice that your confidence levels have risen. You will know what you are capable of, and will have nothing to prove, and you will become more assertive, which will enable you to set boundaries and walk away from bad situations without your ego getting bruised.
The iron will you develop through years of pushing yourself to go as hard as you can for as long as you can, will definitely come in handy in other aspects of life like your career or relationships. Marshall arts teach you that with training anything is possible, and this is an outlook on life that means a lot on your way to success.
4. The Better a Fighter You Become, the Calmer and Less Impulsive You Get
Not only will you gain confidence, which is important for staying out of trouble and being able to take action, but you will also learn to keep your emotions in check even under a great deal of pressure. If a fighter allows himself to get angry and start swinging wildly, he will get knocked down or thrown to the mat by a more tactical opponent, so you quickly learn to think with a clear head, and deal with adrenaline more effectively. This is something that will do wonders for your love life and your professional life, as you will be able to think rationally and make good judgment calls even when those around you start getting heated.
Furthermore, people who take up combat sports get a chance to physically get rid of the stress they piled up. Punching, pulling and defending against opponents, imaginary or sparing partners, makes no difference, allows the fighter to get rid of all those negative emotions in a safe and welcoming environment. Stress produces energy and that’s why you can’t sleep when you are stressed out. Get rid of that negative energy and burn out those negative emotions on a punching bag – you’ll be a better person for it.
5. Training is a social environment
Being around a bunch of different people for an hour or two, several times a week, allows you to develop new friendships, but it can also provide you with some interesting opportunities. Most people in a class are not professional fighters, and even those with a bunch of fights under their belt will likely have another job, or at least some other set of skills.
Training partners can help you get a job, recommend a good electrician, connect you with a potential client and so on. A certain sense of camaraderie is developed between people who learn how to fight together and have been through some difficult training sessions.
6. You learn to push your limits
Although the starting period will probably not be very intense and demanding, all combat sports have a growing difficulty curve. As your body gets stronger and your mind more focused, a good trainer always pushes you to do more. Why? Because you can, and the progression itself becomes somewhat addictive to the fighter as well. There are few things as satisfying as pulling off a complex punching sequence, perfectly, for the first time. That moment when you know it’s good, that it felt right, that’s the moment of focus or zone, if you will, we are all chasing after. This transfers to all aspect of our lives and fighters are always ready to take on new challenges and are not afraid of working for success.
In the old days, these “fighting sports” were considered a manly affair, and were associated with aggressive people, but these days people from all walks of life train and reap the benefits. Men and women are both welcome at any boxing or MMA gym, and you don’t have to compete if you don’t want to. Combat sports can improve the quality of your life in many ways, and everyone should definitely give them a shot. It is probably easier to adapt to this kind of physical activity than going to the gym if you are struggling to become active due to the fact that you are working in a group which will keep you in check and alongside a trainer who is there to guide you and help you recognize your mistakes.
Finally, there are tons of combat sports and a lot of them come with a unique philosophy and state of mind so you can certainly find the one that fits your mind-set.
Photo credit: Republic of Korea