5 Reasons Women Should Practice Martial Arts

Whether or not you like her, Ronda Rousey has brought to the world of health and wellness an arresting light. Millions of women around the world look at her and think about her courage and strength. You can have it too, you know.

It does not matter what style of martial arts you find yourself participating in, as long as you give it a try. Coming from someone who has integrated elements of martial arts into dance training and workouts, I can tell you that there are several reasons why women need it in their lives.

1. Self-defense

Let’s face it, ladies – we are no safer from objectification and exploitation than we were centuries ago. It is a sad reality that does not seem to be changing anytime soon. But that does not mean you should not learn how to stand up for yourself.

Martial arts teach us how to utilize our minds and bodies to think and act defensively. Even as a kid, I was encouraged to take karate to learn a basic form of self-defense. Living in Japan, I frequent gyms and dojos and always broach the question of which skills are most useful for women.

It is an amazing feeling to know that should I get attacked, I have the ability to extricate myself from the danger in one piece. Can’t say much for the other person, though.

2. Empowerment

Going off of No. 1, if you know how to protect yourself from aggressors, you can be that much more confident with traveling this world alone. Through martial arts, you can cultivate the knowledge of inner strength and composure that allows you to tackle more than physical demands.

You will also be able to think more critically, see things from all angles, and know that you are capable of overcoming obstacles without relying on someone else. In other words, martial arts are not solely for the enhancement of your physical wellness. You will feel more confident in all facets of life.

Read also – 7 Inspiring Ways to Become an Empowered Woman

3. Exercise

Although I dislike these fad kickboxing workouts and choreographed Tae-bo routines because they teach you nada about the real world, I must confess that varying martial arts are amazing for sculpting seriously voluptuous physiques.

Depending on the style you choose, you will scorch calories while building muscle strength and cardiorespiratory endurance. Better yet, the mind-body connection of some martial arts works in the same fashion that yoga does by urging the body into a homeostatic calm.

To show you the calories burned during a 45-minute martial arts class*, here is sample data based on my stature of 169 centimeters (5’6.5”) and 56.7 kilograms (125 lbs):

  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – 480 calories
  • Judo – 440 calories
  • Karate – 420 calories
  • Tae Kwon Do – Same as above
  • Kickboxing – 450 calories
  • Tai Chi – 170 calories

*Not including the warm-up and cool-down, which usually takes around 10-15 minutes given the structure of the class.

The bonus about taking a real martial arts class is that you can apply these skills to real life. I will set aside the wood chopping and brick breaking jokes for another time. But I cannot emphasize enough the total body effects.

From the feet up, you will work various muscle groups together, naturally, helping maintain your posture, strengthening the core, warding off scoliosis and tight hips. You will get defined curves. Moreover, the moderate impact of these workouts fights osteoporosis. The martial arts were developed to be functional, and that kind of fitness is the best kind.

4. Community

Regrettably, the amount of ladies in the MMA world is few. Most women seem turned off by any type of training that other chicks do not swear by (and I see the same with men), and I don’t understand why.

Probably because I have always been a competitive tomboy, even though I am also a ballerina. But I digress. No matter where I have gone for martial arts training, the amount of ladies usually amounts to 1 (me) or 2 in a room full of men. It can be slightly intimidating. Yet, this can also be a moment of extreme grace under pressure.

Beyond that, you will form amazing relationships with your teammates, regardless of gender. Dojos are very tight-knitted communities where competition is healthy. People support and raise one another up through the levels of technique. You will gain a different kind of family – one that is strong in body and mind.

Read also – I Grew Up Thinking the Lowest of Myself

5. Discipline

So many people nowadays complain that they haven’t the inner strength to fight off sugar cravings let alone an attacker. Ladies, you have to learn how to say no. Martial arts teach you just that.

There will be times when you are down on the mat, ready to drown in a puddle of your own sweat. But you will get back up. You will keep moving. You might not win the battle, but you will learn how to rebound from anything that life throws at you.

Now that you know some of the most important reasons to practice martial arts, what are you waiting for? Start building your inner strength today.