There are many areas where combat sports can improve your life and help you become more successful. In no particular order, we’ll name a few and then dive deeper into each below:
3.Enhanced physical fitness—more energy to deal with life in general
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Combat Sports Can Improve Discipline
Whether you are starting up with Jiu-Jitsu classes, boxing, Muy Thai, Judo, Wrestling—pick any combat sport—the first thing you’ll notice is it’s humbling.
Many ‘tough guys’ have walked into the BJJ academy I train at and have their butts handed to them by what to them looks like a nerdy guy, half their weight. It’s humbling, and it makes you reconsider your ego. Quickly you learn to leave your ego at the door and just work on your own self-improvement journey.
Every night you step onto the mats, you are reminded of how much work you are putting into your sport. If you’re not giving it much effort, you see the results of your lack of effort manifest physically. You get crushed. If you put the effort in, you quickly see positive results. Maybe you still are not winning, but you’re not struggling as much, and this is tested and validated night in and night out. Because of this simple, primal test, you get motivated to do better. To BE better.
You become more disciplined. You are showing up to class on the regular. Maybe you even start eating a little better to have better fuel coursing through your body. Now, maybe you find yourself doing pushups and calisthenics during your lunch break.
Combat sports help you build discipline as a habit. This translates over to other areas in your life, such as your work and relationships. You learn to put in the work and be better.
Combat Sports Improve Confidence
Learning how to handle yourself is a beautiful, empowering thing, especially if you lack confidence or have been bullied throughout your life. Men often don’t consider that women are basically bullied by men their entire lives. So, for a woman who has to proactively think about things that us guys never consider, like can I go for a run at this hour, or, I really like this outfit, but am going to get hassled simply because I look good in it, combat sports can be incredibly empowering and build confidence.
Much like discipline, newfound confidence in yourself isn’t contained to just the gym, ring, or mat. It pervasive spreads to other areas in your life and can help you to be a more successful person.
Combat Sports Enhance Your Physical Fitness
Physical fitness is one of the primary reasons people seek out combat sports. They want a fun, exciting, interactive way to get into shape or stay in shape. Feeling good about your body breeds confidence but it also radically increases your energy levels and your ability to tackle each and every day. This is especially true for those who have been living a sedentary lifestyle. After a month or so of training with a boxing or Muy Thai coach or doing animal movements for warmups and then grappling against other human beings, the difference in fitness and energy is significantly noticeable.
Combat Sports Help You Manage Stress
While it’s true that any form of exercise will help you manage stress, combat sports are a different breed. Human fight or flight—stress response—used to be triggered by a bear or tiger chasing us. Or perhaps a warring tribe approaching at dusk.
Now, for most of us living in developed countries, our stress response is triggered by a crappy email from your boss or that guy that almost hit you while stuck in a traffic jam. It’s not normal. Yes, it’s stressful but our body and mind don’t really know what to do with it. You can’t run away from it, and you can’t really turn around a face it either.
The beauty of combat sports is you give your body a healthy dose of controlled stress. After rolling with a training partner who is simulating trying to choke the life out of you—you know that he or she is not going to kill you, but your brain just registers a possible life or death situation that you MUST fight your way out of—or dodging punches and kicks that someone is throwing at you reminds your body of what real threats are.
Then something like sitting in traffic is much easier to deal with. That missed email seems trivial. Things that would have stressed you out before are suddenly insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
This ability to manage stress is highly important. Chronically elevated stress can be the root of many serious health concerns, such as inflammation, dysregulated hormone levels such as cortisol and insulin, problems sleeping, which further compound your stress and energy levels.
So, ask around. If you have a friend who boxes, ask them about it. If you have buddies that do Jiu-Jitsu ask. Most combat sports academies offer a trial class or two for free. Improve your life and work towards being a better person, perhaps even more successful through the habits you’ll build.