Confront Your Fears: Martial Arts

At the end of the school day, everyone is off on their own separate way, playing a sport, participating in an activity or club, or pursuing a hobby. I have been practicing MMA, kickboxing, and grappling for several years now – an activity that is quite out of the ordinary.

Everyone has heard of the “roundhouse kick” or the “crane kick” made famous by the Karate Kid in his match against Johnny of the Cobra Kai. Although people are at first amazed when they hear these words, the reality is that martial arts is not an easy sport to master. Fights seen on TV show fighters making smooth and effortless transitions from one punch to a kick. These seemingly effortless moves take time and focus to master. Fighters dedicate a lot of time to practicing the techniques and form required to master the sport.

Without a strong foundation and technique, fighters would be incapable of becoming champions. A strong focus on technique is imperative to ensure confidence and self-protection. Many students begin kickboxing or grappling classes so they know what to do if they are attacked by multiple people from any direction/angle, standing or on the ground.

Exercising can benefit one’s health by reducing blood pressure, optimizing weight, and stabilizing cholesterol levels. An hour of training in MMA can burn more calories than can most other sports, including swimming and aerobics. Hitting heavy bags in daily training classes can reduce stress as well. A reduction in anxiety can alleviate other pains and lead to a more enjoyable day. With less stress and lower blood pressure, the body can operate optimally.

I attend mixed martial arts classes, compete in competitions, take advancement tests, and participate in social events related to MMA. Before I started, I wasn’t the most outgoing, confident, or talkative person. I never participated in class because I was too afraid of judgement. Along with being shy, I was small for my age and thought people perceived me as  fragile and unable to protect myself in an emergency. After joining MMA, however, I was no longer a turtle hiding under a shell. I talked to people more and became comfortable with my abilities. I was learning how to defend myself.

Martial Arts is difficult at first, but after a while and with practice, it has become more instinctive and has helped me in life. It isn’t just about being able to fight – it’s a way of life that focuses on improving the strength of the body, staying fit with a healthy diet, strengthening the mind, and developing the will to face adversity and confront your fears.