Illustration for article titled Why You Can (and Should) Start Learning Martial Arts Later In LifePhoto: maRRitch (Shutterstock)

In the western world, especially in the US, martial arts are usually defined by stereotypes: people who train are either eight-year-olds learning karate kicks or bloodthirsty thugs hoping to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. But the notions that define the prevalent popular notions of martial arts are not true, and there are many reasons why normal, well-adjusted adults can benefit from starting their combative journeys later in life. And you don’t have to bow to a fifth grader if you want to explore the martial arts after your 30th birthday.

Illustration for article titled Why You Can (and Should) Start Learning Martial Arts Later In Life

Training gives you specific goals

Children train martial arts for a variety of reasons, such as: B. to strengthen their self-esteem and to defend themselves against bullies. In most cases, however, their training is an extracurricular activity akin to a daycare center. At the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) school I have trained at for the past eight years, many children come and go, and few are serious enough to keep the sport competitive as a teenager and later as an adult Operate level.

Martial arts training, however, is a practice where tangible rewards are based on merit. If you decide to train in a discipline based on belt ranking – BJJ, judo, taekwando, karate, and many other martial arts use belt systems – you may find additional incentive to improve. Also, you can train in certain martial arts like BJJ, which has a rugged competition track, to compete. Chasing medals and competitive awards can feel like a catnip to some martial artists, and you may find that the challenge of competition gives your life exciting meaning.

That being said, various martial arts and other flashy disciplines like boxing and muay thai (Thai kickboxing) can get you in fantastic shape. Many people struggle to find a compelling exercise tool once they grow up, but martial arts give you cause to keep coming back, even if you get kicked in the ass – because you learn and improve with every passing minute in the gym.

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You will build a community

Sometimes adults have a hard time building a community outside of traditional social institutions. When it comes down to it, there is only so much time to devote to hanging out in bars before the presumed community you are building breaks down without alcohol.

Personally, I have met so many interesting people that I would never have the privilege of knowing if I had not gone on my foray into argument and strike. It is easier to get to know someone when you are studying together and pushing each other to get better with each workout. Without exception, if you pursue a craft similar to someone else, you are spending a lot of time together and potentially forming strong bonds.

Illustration for article titled Why You Can (and Should) Start Learning Martial Arts Later In Life

You will build confidence

The idea of ​​a mid- or quarter-life crisis is a cliché, but it’s still a term people often use to describe something of a mental void that affects adults. Of course, learning to hit or roundhouse kick won’t eliminate all problems, but achieving your goals is a fantastic way to build self-esteem and future motivation.

In addition, you will learn how to develop a sense of resilience under pressure. Exercising can be strenuous (if you take it seriously) and you may be exposed to more exercise than ever before, but you will also find that you have the strength to keep going in the face of that exertion and that you are in the midst of the intensity of a sparring round can stay calm. And while that’s implied, it’s worth noting that consistent training in any discipline will help you defend yourself if it ever matters.

However, be sure to listen to your body

When you start exercising as an adult, remember that we are no longer kids with elastic limbs and bodies healing on mind-boggling schedules. For this purpose, listen to your body. If you feel like some excruciating pain is worsening, and possibly causing an injury, take a week off (or how long it takes). Longevity should be the goal here, and treating your body the way you did when you were 17 doesn’t help.