Feel the Difference

 Dynamic Martial Arts for Adults

Say you've always wanted to try martial arts. Or, possibly, you've just discovered an interest. You read a book, saw a movie, or your friend does Tae Kwon Do, Karate, or any of the many martial arts available. Maybe you are looking for something new, and just put martial arts on your list of possibles.

Now you have to think about why. It looks like fun. It is fun. But you're an adult. Your money is mostly budgeted, your energy seems more limited, and your time is precious. Doing something new has to be justified. You want to know that the benefits exceed the costs. Some people have such a passion for martial arts that such an analysis seems unnecessary, possibly even crude. But let's face it. You're in college, or you work, or you're raising kids. Maybe all three.

So go ahead, look behind the curtain. Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kung Fu, Ju-Jitsu are all ancient arts. But all are still popular today. They must have something to offer, and it isn't all that mysterious or mystical.

Tae Kwon Do, sometimes grouped with Karate, is our primary focus. But what's true here is true for most martial arts. Of course, like most things, the benefits you receive depend mostly on your effort. Students who come several times a week, work hard, listen well, practice outside of class, and push themselves will obviously get more of almost every benefit than those who show up once in a while and go through the motions. 

Balance, agility, and coordination 


Some of us were awkward as children. Others were naturally athletic, flexible, and coordinated. The gawky ones get older and grow into their bodies, but they haven't really learned the limits of those bodies. The graceful ones often find that they can't do what they've always done so easily. In either case, training in martial arts is filled with balance drills, stretching exercises, and many of the activities serve to develop better coordination. If you want to spend your adulthood comfortable in your body, martial arts training is one of the best ways to get there.

Strength training

A typical Tae Kwon Do workout includes deep stances, push-ups, sit-ups, slow-kicks, and many other exercises that work major muscle groups as well as the micro-muscles that machine exercises often miss. Because the workout emphasizes many different types of movement, the well-developed martial artist can apply his or her strength through full range and in many directions. The type of strength built in this practice lasts throughout a long life. One master, in his seventies, is known for dropping and doing 100 pushups almost anywhere.

Aerobic conditioning



The mind is part of the body, the body is part of the mind. This is not some abstract new-age philosophy, it's a simple, physiological fact. The mind is an organ, if the body slows down, so does the mind. If the mind loses focus, so does the body. People who don't exercise are more prone to depression. So it shouldn't be surprising that developing physical confidence through a discipline such as martial arts will also produce mental confidence. Tae Kwon Do techniques are only mastered if the mind is truly focused. A mind that can accomplish a complex form knows it can accomplish many things.

Social Interaction

Friendships can start in many ways, but mutual respect is probably one of the best. In a martial arts school, you will be growing and accomplishing in the company of others on the same path. They will appreciate your achievements, and you will appreciate theirs. Not everyone in the school will become your close friend, but even those who don't will still understand and respect you because they have gone through the same struggles.


Self Defense


I leave this for near last because, to many, it seems the most obvious. But really, it isn't. Some people think self defense is an aggressive response to any situation. They imagine Steven Segal or Jackie Chan beating off multiple attackers with no thought of fear. If they cannot imagine doing the same, they dismiss the idea of self-defense. In real life, the best trained martial artist may never get mugged. His or her self-confidence makes an unlikely target. Awareness keeps her out of most situations. Even if she is mugged, she may choose to do the safest thing, giving away her wallet. Her skills greatly increase her odds if she does try to disarm an attacker. But even a small chance of death is too much to risk over $50 dollars. But those abilities are still there, helping her stay calm, helping her cooperate, not threaten, but all the while allowing her to evaluate whether the situation will take a bad turn. It's often the people who don't really know what to do who try and do the wrong thing at the wrong time. So training in martial arts may never show itself on the surface, but that doesn't mean it hasn't kept someone safe.                           


We already knew this, didn't we? It's hard work, sometimes painful. It calls on us for discipline, stamina, and control. Even so, or perhaps because of all this, Tae Kwon Do is fun. There is the pleasure of seeing your body do things you didn't think it could, the pleasure of intense physical exercise, the friendly competition of sparring. And there is the pleasure that comes from learning something new. Just because you're an adult doesn't mean fun should be left out of the equation.