How Martial Arts Training Effects the Mind
How Martial Arts Training Effects the Mind

If you’re looking to improve your health and fitness levels, committing to martial arts practice is definitely something to consider. The physical aspect of martial arts practice brings obvious benefits to your physical health, but can also boost mental well-being. In fact, there is considerable evidence to show that martial arts can yield significant improvements to cognition, focus and attention spans. Furthermore, martial arts training can massively improve your emotional well-being. 

How Martial Arts Training Effects the Mind 

Enhanced Focus and Attention

Martial arts can be considered a form of attention state training. Unlike conventional attention training, which usually involves practising a certain skill repeatedly with the aim to improve, attention state training requires the individual to achieve a certain mental state. Achieving this focused mental state can be achieved through yoga or meditation exercises, although practising certain forms of martial arts can achieve similar effects. Martial arts is also useful for those who need to split focus and commit their attentions to multiple tasks at any one time. Enhanced attention and focus ability has several general applications, not least when it comes to handling demanding workflows in the office or in the classroom. 

Reduced Stress Levels 

Martial arts can also help individuals deal with high stress levels. Many forms of martial arts, including several styles of kung fu, incorporate breathing exercises and some element of meditation. These basic exercises can be used independently of martial arts practice, helping the individual reduce heightened stress levels in their daily lives. Breathing exercises are particularly useful for those looking to combat stressful situations as they arise. 

Boosted Memory Recall 

Martial arts training can also greatly improve your memory function. Many forms of martial arts involve complex patterns and techniques, which practitioners required to master advanced techniques via repetitive training and repeated practice. Provided an individual is committed to a training routine, this training can have a direct impact on the working memory function of an individual. This has far-reaching benefits for martial practitioners, allowing them to put their improved memory function to use in their daily lives. 

Improved Confidence 

Developing a proficiency with any form of martial art can also lead to improved confidence and a greater sense of well-being. Physical exercise has been shown to combat things like depression, but mastering a martial art form can also boost self-confidence. Developing a martial arts proficiency can also leave an individual with a general sense of confidence, safe in the knowledge they have the tools and techniques to protect themselves in a potentially volatile situation. 

As you can see, the impact martial arts training can have on the mind can not be underestimated. Claire Bouchard, a member of the AJKA United States National Karate Team lays out the complexities of the martial artists mindset in her TEDx talk.

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Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight?
Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight?

If you’ve struggled to achieve your weight loss goals with conventional forms of exercise, martial arts training may be something to consider. Although some low-key martial arts styles might not provide the rigorous workout required to burn a sufficient number of calories, many martial art forms are ideal for improving overall fitness levels and shifting those excess pounds. 

Can Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight?

Thai Boxing 

Thai boxing, otherwise known as Muay Thai, is one of the most popular styles of martial arts for those looking to lose weight. What makes this martial art form so effective at triggering weight loss is that it involves all areas of the body, with particular demand put on the limbs. Muay Thai relies fairly heavily on kick-boxing techniques, with leg movements particularly useful for those who want to burn calories. In fact, you can expect to burn hundreds of calories after just half an hour of rigorous Muay Thai training. 


This Korean martial art form is another great choice for those looking to shift weight quickly. Although this martial art has plenty of detractors, the fitness training side of the fighting style can’t be called into question. Taekwondo is a fairly accessible martial art, with foundation-level training involving low-key techniques and basic moves. As you progress, techniques and patterns become more complicated. As you develop proficiency with taekwondo, you’ll have to develop some key muscle groups, including your core and those in your leg. Developing these muscles will dramatically increase your strength, which will make it far easier to perform more demanding exercises and techniques. The more you train, the stronger you become and the easier it becomes to undertake extensive cardio training sessions that will help you achieve considerable weight-loss results. 

Mixed Martial Arts 

If you’re new to the world of martial arts, mixed martial arts may be worth investigating. As the name suggests, this martial form involves a diverse range of approaches that incorporate styles from across the world. Mixed martial arts not only provides you with effective self-defence techniques you can utilise in everyday life, it also provides you with an incredibly accessible gateway into the world of martial arts. Unlike other fighting styles, teaching of mixed martial arts often compensates for existing shortcomings on the part of the practitioner, helping sharpen skills in the weakest areas before moving onto other areas. Not only does this prevent frustration from derailing training efforts, it also ensures the entire body is granted a rigorous workout. This makes mixed martial arts one of the best options for those looking to maintain steady weight loss as they train. 

Watch Inanna Sarkis’s journey to getting rid of access pounds in order to reach her goal of becoming a successful actress.

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Can Martial Arts Build Muscle?
Can Martial Arts Build Muscle?

Martial arts training can be a great way of improving your general fitness levels, while a commitment to training can also help you shift the calories and lose weight. Martial arts can also be utilised to build and maintain muscle. Some martial art forms, such as Thai boxing, are incredibly useful at developing the core and leg muscles. However, many other martial arts styles can achieve similarly impressive results. The reason for this is that many martial arts classes incorporate high intensity interval training (HIIT). 

Can Martial Arts Build Muscle?

High Intensity Interval Training Explained 

HIIT training is increasingly popular with those who are short on time, but still need to ensure their fitness levels remain in check. If you are struggling to find time in your schedule for an hours-long gym visit, HIIT training can be a good compromise. Generally speaking, most HIIT sessions will not exceed more than 20 minutes. However in many cases, HIIT sessions are often much shorter. When incorporated into a martial arts class, a HIIT session may last as little as a few minutes. 

One of the main reasons why HIIT training is so effective at building muscle mass is that such training leaves many areas of the body with depleted oxygen levels.

This is particularly important when it comes to the muscle groups. When muscles are left with depleted levels of oxygen, they need to work considerably harder after HIIT training in order to recover. In other words, HIIT puts more demands on muscle tissue when training. In some cases, HIIT training can put almost twice the demand on muscle fibres than conventional exercise.

Provided you are undertaking HIIT training regularly, such demanding exercise will inevitably lead to improved muscle growth. What’s more, if you’re practising a martial art that involves all key muscle groups, you can expect to see impressive growth and development throughout the body. 

Bruce lee workout

When it came to writing this article, I accidentally stumbled upon the workout below. The truth is, I’m not entirely sure if this is the workout Bruce Lee actually did – however, there’s no denying that it’s a fantastic regime.

Bruce Lee Workout
From Pinterest

Key Benefits of HIIT

High intensity interval training is not only effective, it is incredibly easy to work into a busy routine. A rigorous workout of just 10-15 minutes is often more than sufficient to help everyday practitioners achieve their muscle-building goals. In addition to helping build muscle, HIIT can help you lose a considerable amount of weight.

Provided you are partaking in HIIT on a regular basis, you can look forward to an increased metabolism that will continue to remain active long after you’ve finished your workout. In many cases, increased metabolism levels will remain active for up to a day after training has been completed. 

Here’s a 5 minute martial arts ab workout session by Jesse Enkamp

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