Quick! What do you think of when you hear the term “martial arts”?

You probably think Karate, Judo or some other Far East combat sport steeped in mysticism and ancient spirituality. You automatically envision some Asian sport or competition, because that’s what you have been taught to believe martial arts are.

Well, if that’s the case, you wouldn’t be wrong, but you wouldn’t exactly be right either. That’s because martial arts are defined as …

“codified systems of combat practices, practiced as sport,
for fitness, self-defense, for military and law enforcement applications, as entertainment, or to preserve a cultural heritage.”

Nowhere in there does the definition pigeon-hole martial arts to Asia or the Far East. And in addition to sport, these art forms can definitely be practiced for physical fitness.

Think about it. Most martial arts require tons of aerobic movement. You are constantly on the go, defending and attacking, so your heart rate is up and you are burning calories. This is great for weight loss and healthy body weight maintenance.

Depending on the sport, you have to grapple, kick, punch and otherwise get your opponent to submit. This means balance, agility, speed and power come into play. Training to develop those traits makes for an excellent all-over fitness practice. You build strength and burn calories, while enjoying excellent balance and mobility, and learn some great self-defense techniques at the same time.

If you are thinking about taking up an exercise program, you have to consider martial arts for all-around health and wellness.