The Mental Health Benefits of Martial Arts

The Mental Health Benefits of Martial Arts

Why Martial Arts are so Good for Your Mental Health

Everyone knows martial arts are great for your body. It makes you strong, it whips you into the best shape of your life, and it teaches you how to defend yourself in precarious situations. But did you also know that martial arts are great for your mental health?

Not only is it great for your mental wellbeing, but martial arts can help you learn leadership skills, the fundamentals of responsibility and teamwork, give you a sense of purpose in the world, and allow you to earn the respect of your peers through hard work and determination.

Let’s look at some of the ways martial arts can benefit your mind.


Discipline is Good for the Mind

Learning martial arts takes not only physical strength, but also mental strength. I don't care if it's Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, mixed martial arts, or some kind of hippie dance fighting. You cannot learn martial arts or be part of a fighting team without learning discipline.

Why do you think discipline plays such a huge role in assimilating recruits into the army? It teaches a person their place in the order of things, how to act accordingly and give respect to others. This form of discipline is especially useful for troubled youth, younger kids that have trouble acting out, and even those with ADHD disorders. Discipline gained through training in martial arts can have serious benefits on a person’s behavior.


Some Say Spiritual

Many people claim that practicing martial arts makes them feel more spiritual, which works to help their mental health. Haven't you ever seen The Karate Kid? Haven't you ever heard of chi? There is an undeniable closeness to the spirit when you are training heavily in a physically demanding sport, especially one that requires massive amounts of mental and physical discipline and concentration.

For the less spiritual, you can still benefit from a certain mindfulness instilled by practicing martial arts. Many forms of fighting teach a person to pay attention to their body, to their inner self, and also to the environment. This is another reason why people who have difficulty focusing benefit immensely from pouring their energies into martial arts.


Martial Arts Can Help Defeat Depression

I am not going to tell you that martial arts can cure your anxiety, your depression, or your boiling angst. However, I will tell you that practising martial arts is an excellent way to improve your mental wellbeing. It does this in a number of ways.

Firstly, everyone knows that physical exercise - whether running or jogging, lifting weights or punching the bag – produces feel-good endorphins, those delicious brain chemicals that we love so much, the very same ones that boost our mood when we receive notifications or accomplish something.

Along with the endorphins produced by copious amounts of physical exercise, you are also going to feel good about yourself because you are mastering something. If you have been depressed, in a slump, moseying aimlessly, try signing up for a martial arts class.

By putting yourself in a situation where you are getting stronger, improving your health, maybe losing some weight, and learning a skill that makes you feel good about yourself, your mind is going to feel good too.


Good Energy

Energy may not be something that you can weigh or measure, but it definitely exists. If you are having trouble with your mental health, chances are you are stewing in a vortex of self-imposed dark energies. Or, it could be that you are coming from a situation saturated in bad energy.

The moment you walk into a martial arts gym, it is impossible not to feel the positive energy. Some of these guys may look mean, with their huge muscles and neck tattoos, but everyone I have ever known who has practiced a martial art exudes good, positive energy. And being around good energy is critical when improving mental health.

After a few weeks of practicing a new martial art, or even just hanging out at the gym, most people are going to feel refreshed with positive energy. You start to look better, you start to feel better, and you start to make friends. If you let yourself, you can sweat out all the bad and negative energies while working out at the gym and learning a new skill.



If you have ever felt down, worthless, or maybe just powerless, martial arts can allow you to feel empowered. There is a certain inexplicable feeling when kicking a grown man in the ribs that gives you a sense of power and self triumph.

This is especially true for those who have been victimized or who are suffering from personal trauma. By embracing martial arts, you may learn that you have more power than you previously imagined. This can inspire self-confidence, personal wealth, and a general feeling that you are strong and in control of your life.

It is also nice to know that you are able to defend yourself, to defend your boundaries, and to defend your loved ones. Plus, martial arts can give you the skills you need to stand strong when overwhelmed by your fight or flight response. It can bolster you in the face of anxiety and keep you calm in high-stress situations.



I cannot tell you that martial arts are going to cure your mental illness or mental ailment. All I can tell you is that it does not hurt to try. If you are reading this, chances are you are open to suggestions. I highly recommend anyone who wants to improve their mental health and find some stable ground in an otherwise chaotic life – try martial arts.

Even if you are a perfectly happy person, getting in on martial arts now is still a good idea. After all, it's not like you can be too happy. Martial arts can help organize your life. It is a great hobby, a challenging sport, and a great way to stay mentally fit.