The Many Benefits of Martial Arts

Martial arts, whatever the style, are widely practised across the globe. There is a huge variety of martial art styles and people have been fighting with each other since time immemorial to prove who’s better – though not always in such friendly ways as today! Martial arts offer physical and mental benefits that can help you improve your life.:

The “what are the benefits of martial arts” is a question that has been asked many times before. The many benefits of martial arts include improved health, increased self-confidence, and more.

Man practicing flying kick karate at outdoors.

Note from the editor: This is a guest post by Rodney King.

The fighting mentality was “hard wired” in males, according to psychologist and theologian Robert Moore. Our forefathers were fighters among our hunter-gatherer forebears. They had to protect themselves in order to live as warriors. They needed to protect their tribe and family. This was required in order for the family bloodline and succession to continue.

While most of us in the Western world no longer travel the Savannah plains, our male hunter-gatherer counterparts’ basic reflexes of flight and battle have not vanished. Today’s issue is that many men have lost their capacity to appropriately exhibit the evolutionary adaptation of their fight and battle reaction.

Men will commit 90 percent of all guilty violent actions today. Men will make up 70% of the victims of these violent actions (Australian Bureu of Statistics). On all fronts, men are battling men. Men are the ones who dominate addiction, suicide, accidents, and early death.

Men seem to be losing their bearings. We have lost our feeling of fraternity and connectedness to one another. We used to run freely on the Savannahs in the distant past, and we’d be together as men. A brotherhood of brothers. We’d go hunting together, give each other strength, and encourage each other to face our inner demons. We’d learn to trust one other as a result of this. We would be able to exhibit good male qualities such as valor, honor, and bravery. We’d gather around a campfire at night, reciting hunt tales, playing drums, and symbolically reenacting the day. When we were called upon to safeguard the tribe, we would rise up as warriors in the service of something higher than ourselves.

In the Western culture, this essentially masculine rite of passage has mostly been wiped out. We still hear the faint voice of adventure beckoning to us as men; we still hear the cry of the ‘Wild Man,’ as Robert Bly, author of the classic book Iron John, refers to him, shouting at us to reawaken our masculine spirit. But we’re too preoccupied, too distracted to notice, and we only notice when another man commits a crime against another. “But now he has two Toyotas and a mortgage, maybe a wife and a kid,” Bly says. “How can he let the Wild Man out of the cage?” says the narrator.

While there are numerous methods for the contemporary man to connect with his ‘Wild Man,’ martial arts is one that pulls together many of the lost masculine energies of the male hunter gatherers.

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If properly instructed, martial arts may be a great way to express masculinity and the warrior archetype in a healthy way. The majority of individuals who practice martial arts are males, which provides a rare chance to re-unite a tribe of brothers, figuratively expressing the ‘search’ for manly traits such as bravery, tenacity, and grit. Men are able to redirect their destructive energy and impulses via the symbolic enactment of the’martial’ process, enabling them to work with conflict creatively while also modifying their perspectives of the situation.


As a result, the expression of martial art movement may become a ‘playground’ for men to safely project their feelings and relive some of the traumatic experiences they may have encountered in their lives. Martial arts enactment may help men recognize, reflect on, and change their conditioning, helping them to reclaim their male vitality.

Martial arts training that emphasizes fun, challenge, connection, and brotherhood is akin to the rough and tumble play that most males enjoyed as children with their friends and brothers. In some ways, we were closer to our hunter-gatherer ancestors as small boys than we are today as adults.

Scientific study has demonstrated that rough and tumble play in animals and people is “essential for the development and maintenance of social awareness, collaboration, justice, and altruism,” according to the National Institute of Play. Its nature and significance are underappreciated, particularly by early (preschool) teachers, who frequently see normal rough and tumble play behavior such as hitting, diving, and wrestling (all done with a smile, between friends who stay friends) as anarchy that must be controlled, rather than as a state of play.”

As guys, we’ve always intuitively recognized that roughhousing between boys is essential for the development of the masculine spirit. “If you want to get along with your lads, you have to learn to wrestle,” said Paul Whyte, an Australian men’s movement leader, during a conference in Hobart in 1993. Author Steve Biddulph recounts in his book Manhood how a parent grappling with his sons teaches him how to play fight without injuring them. It teaches the child how to master and manage his innate male bodily expression. Later in life, he will be grateful for that instruction. As a parent and spouse, he would have learned from his father’s wrestling training to “argue, accept criticism, feel powerful emotions, and never use his physical might to injure or control others weaker than him.” Boys who lack “experience with this kind of play impairs the usual give and take essential for social mastery, and has been related to poor control of aggressive impulses in later life,” according to the National Institute of Play.

As a kind of rough and tumble play, martial arts may assist males in developing and maintaining social awareness, collaboration, justice, and charity. Martial arts are a terrific opportunity to relive that crucial period of male development if you missed out on rough and tumble play as a kid. As an extra benefit, all martial artists will tell you that being focused, concentrated, and calm is essential for performing at a high level while dealing with a resistant opponent. “Anger drives you to the dark side,” as Yoda from Star Wars understood all too well.


You must embrace, accept, and ride the wave of rage to perform at a high level in martial arts. Fear, frustration, worry, and a lack of concentration become all too familiar. Unlike in reality, martial arts allows you to learn from your mistakes and embrace them as a natural part of the process of discovery and growth. Most importantly, as a guy in a martial arts context, you are permitted to express these feelings.

Something great occurs when you can truly explore your rage, fury, and anxiety as a male in martial arts without shame or embarrassment. You begin to gain confidence inside yourself. You have a strong sense of being alive. You are in flow at times. You develop a close relationship with the current moment.

As you walk away from the mat and gaze down the long path of daily martial arts, you know you’re ready, because you’ve regained your manhood!

As you walk away from the mat and gaze down the long path of daily martial arts, you know you’re ready, because you’ve regained your manhood!

Author Biography

Rodney King is a Somatic Movement Educator, Embodied-Warrior Coach, and the developer of the world-famous Crazy Monkey Defense Martial Arts Program. Rodney has been dubbed “one of the most intelligent and imaginative martial artists in the world today” by Dr. Randy Borum PsyD, Professor at the University of South Florida.

Rodney teaches martial arts as a tool to reconnect with the good masculine spirit and the warrior path in programs all around the globe. He and his wife Louise, as well as their two kids Egan and Tobynn, reside in South Africa. is the global site.



The “the benefits of martial arts quizizz” is a website that has a list of the many benefits of martial arts. The site also gives you a quiz to test your knowledge.

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