Invest in Martial Arts, A Sport Actually Worth Your Time

Issue 7, Volume 113

By Saoreace Johnson 

Cover Image

Boxing. Wrestling. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Most people associate these words with violence, blood, risk, and injury. However, these types of martial arts are so much more than the danger they are associated with. Mixed Martial Arts is my escape from the world. The art of MMA has entered my life and sparked a burning ambition inside me. Martial arts has given me a kind of hope that I cannot seem to find elsewhere.

I am repeatedly told that MMA is futile simply because of the possibility of injury. The media portrays martial arts as dangerous because of how aggressive they seem. Since martial arts revolve around striking the other person and engaging in physical contact, people often view it as violent. Because of this violence, one is more prone to injury. However, what many people fail to realize is that martial arts provide the opportunity to gain confidence through self defense, as well as mental clarity that cannot be found elsewhere.

Often, in action movies such as The Karate Kid, the plot centers around the violence and competitive nature of karate, portraying martial arts in a negative light. These movies are focused on the idea that martial arts is about competition. In reality, the martial arts community is extremely supportive. Even in matches or when sparring, it is not about the victory or the outcome, but about how you can grow in your skill and constantly improve. When you are sparring or in a match, the “attacking” stays in that match. The most important rule you learn in martial arts is that these methods cannot be repeated outside of the class unless necessary. The media often portrays instances of violent outbursts resulting from martial arts, but these are not as common as people believe.

Martial arts is such an incredible sport because it can support your growth both physically and mentally. Of course, MMA will make you physically strong and confident in your body, but it can also improve your mental health. Many teens and high school students face the burden of managing grades, balancing their social lives, and developing a sleep schedule. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one in three adolescents faces anxiety. While professionals have developed many coping mechanisms, martial arts allows you to lose sight of your daily struggles. The training sessions require your complete focus, which enables you to let go of all the negativity present in your life. While this effect is apparent in other sports, MMA specifically emphasizes the importance of mental clarity, not only through letting go of your stress, but also through the development of alertness. In martial arts, you must train your mind to keep focus. With this concentration, you can better succeed in certain fights and matches. From the concentration, self-awareness emerges, which allows one to be calmer and contradicts the idea that martial arts promote aggressiveness.

Our world is becoming increasingly dangerous. According to the NYPD, violent crime rates have increased by 19.91 percent over the past 12 years. This situation is why martial arts are vital. When faced with certain situations, martial arts give people the confidence needed to respond appropriately. Martial arts can teach people how to stay calm and prepare themselves for dangerous situations. I am comforted by knowing that I am capable of defending myself. It is at these times when the “violence” people associate with martial arts becomes a powerful tool.

Practicing MMA is so much more meaningful than people give it credit for. Everyone should try it at some point in their life. Through martial arts, you are able to be more present and improve your mental clarity, as well as develop ways to protect yourself. Whether you practice it once a month or almost every day, you will reap the benefits of a less stressful life, along with the powerful support you gain from your peers. Everyone deserves a less stressful life, along with the confidence that is developed when studying martial arts.