The Benefits of Martial Arts Training
The intention in this paper is to discuss the benefits of martial arts training, with an emphasis on their contribution to increased selfesteem for both children and adults. Martial arts are a blend of mind, body, spirit training that can enable the individual to become centered, grounded, and in control of their presence in the world. Martial arts are similar to hatha yoga in that they offer a physical discipline that also enables the individual to master the restless mind and bring the whole organism together in a unitive state.
There are a number of different styles of martial arts, and many schools of training within each of them. Some of the more common martial arts in the West are judo, karate, aikido, tai chi, and tae kwon do. They stem from practices ancient to the Far East, generally originating in China, Japan, or Korea.
In contemporary times, they also often represent an amalgam of styles and teachings. For example, one Asian woman has created her own discipline of Jung SuWon, starting from the principles of tae kwon do, which she learned in her native Korea (Jordan, 1994). This particular discipline involves the means to access ki (the same as the Chinese chi, life force or vital energy), without the lifetime of study generally required by most martial arts.
Although selfesteem is not a term associated with the tradition of martial arts in the Far East, it has become clearly associated with martial arts in the West for a number of reasons. First, martial arts training provides both children and adults with a sense of confidence in their bodies, and the belief that they can protect themselves more effectively. Second, martial arts training provides both groups with the discipline not only to master the moves involved with the training, but the discipline to accomplish their own goals. Finally, martial arts training gives both children and adults a sense of selfem...