10 Reasons You Should Totally Join the Martial Arts

by Anya Razmi

I’ve been doing karate and kung fu for almost seven years now, and I wish I could convince everyone I know to learn some sort of martial art. So here you are: ten reasons you should totally join the martial arts.

1. It teaches you to defend yourself.

We live in Cleveland, and it’s an unfortunate reality that every one of us faces the threat of assault or attack. The martial arts teaches us to fight back should the need ever arise.

2. It increases your confidence.

Because knowing you can defend yourself comes  with perks. Not only do you feel safer, you’re more confident with who you are. You know that you have the discipline, courage, and strength it takes to fight back.

3. It keeps you in shape.

Without karate, I probably wouldn’t be able to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath. In all seriousness, the martial arts are such an amazing way to keep in shape. Train long enough, and not only do you increase your muscle strength, you also become flexible, balanced, coordinated, and increase your cardiovascular strength.

4. It teaches you discipline.

Wax on, wax off is a thing, seriously. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll have to do exercises you don’t understand (and push-ups all the time). But not only do you become stronger, you learn to respect authority. You become humbled and learn to listen and obey your teachers and elders.

5. It teaches you persistence.

No one ever said karate or kung fu was easy. Someday, you’ll be confronted with the urge to quit. You’ll lose fights and you’ll get hurt, but if you stick with it, you’ll achieve a level of persistence you never knew you had.

6. It teaches you about yourself.

Sounds cheesy, I know, But learning to fight also pushes you to your limits – and sometimes past them. The harder you train, the more you learn about yourself. You learn to be strong and courageous and you develop persistence and character.

7. It’s never too late to join.

I’ve seen six-year-olds and sixty-year-olds train in the same room. No matter how physically taxing the martial arts may sound, it’s never too late to join. And don’t think that joining later means you have a disadvantage – the masters I’ve trained under all started learning well into their twenties.

8. It’s something you can do your whole life.

In a similar vein, you also never have to quit due to age. Karate and kung fu are some of the most adaptable sports I’ve ever seen. The older you get, the better you get. The greatest fighters I’ve met are in their sixties and above, and believe me they can hold their own against people far younger and stronger than they are.

9. You never stop learning.

The martial arts aren’t something you can start and finish. Believe me when I say it is physically impossible to know everything there is to know about fighting. With countless styles, centuries of development, and dimensions of knowledge to unravel, you’ll never run out of things to discover.

10. Bragging rights.

Most important, of course. Because who doesn’t want to say they’re a black belt?