Posts Tagged ‘martial arts’

Tips For Sparring Success

5 Tips For Sparring Success

Over the last decade, we’ve helped hundreds of martial arts students achieve sparring success. There’s no shortage of helpful advice we can offer when it comes to technical tips:

  • Keep your guard up
  • Maintain a stable stance
  • Focus your eyes on your partner
  • Retract your punches and kicks
  • Keep moving

But if you’re new to martial arts training, and especially just starting to spar, these technical tips can sometimes fall short of being helpful. So, if you’re frustrated with your most recent sparring experience or you’re just ready to take your skill development to the next level…keep reading.

First, it’s important to acknowledge that sparring is more than just a physical exercise. There’s a mental component to sparring that must be equally developed. Clearly, the best tips for sparring success encompass both the physical and mental.

Keep in mind that sparring is simply an opportunity to try out your martial arts skill development on a resisting partner and, with the right mindset, it’s quite fun!

Here are our five tips for sparring success:

 

Have A Plan

Sparring is just as much a tactical exercise as it is a physical one. Sparring requires you to constantly be thinking about your next move. While your plan will need to adapt to your sparring partner, it’s always advisable to start any sparring match with a general plan. Knowing your personal strengths and limitations is a huge benefit. If you’re taller than your sparring partner, you can use your legs to keep them out of range. If you’re smaller than your sparring partner, you’ll want to get in close to take away their optimal range.

Sparring with different partners is also a huge learning opportunity. Want to level up quick? Spar with people who can out-pace, out-punch, and out-plan you. Study what they do and ask them for help. Some of the most effective strategies we’ve learned have been from sparring partners who were better than us.

Stay Calm

It’s ok to feel nervous before sparring. Unless you’ve been training for a while, you’re probably not use to the idea of someone punching and kicking at you.  It’s important to accept that in a sparring situation you’re going to get hit (after all, even the professionals do!). The key is to control where you get hit and how you respond after. Practicing offense and defense drills that help you experience what it feels like to absorb a punch or kick will build your confidence in this area. As you build trust with your sparring partners, you’ll realize it gets easier to remain calm, even with punches and kicks being thrown at you.

Most importantly, remember to breathe. It’s common for people to inadvertently hold their breath as they spar. Practice exhaling when you strike so that breathing becomes routine, even when your focus is on blocking, evading, and countering. Ultimately, breathing and remaining calm will help you conserve energy and strike with better precision.

Stick To The Basics

When your adrenalized, complex movements are more challenging to pull off successfully. When you first start sparring, use the most basic techniques you know: jab, cross, hook, and round kick. Sticking to the basics will increase your skill and also keep you mentally focused. In fact, simple and direct works best 80% of the time. Save the more complex moves for the remaining 20% of the time.

While it might be more comfortable to throw one strike at a time, using combinations will increase your chances of connecting with a viable target. Counters are also key. It’s easy to find yourself in a position where your partner is doing all the striking and you’re doing all the defending. Look for opportunities to counter after defending every strike your partner throws.

Check Your Ego

Every sparring match begins with a respectful bow as a reminder that both partners are prepared to help and not harm the other. Sparring is not about beating up your partner. Ultimately, ego clouds judgment and can cause you to rush and even loose control of your power. If your primary focus is striking with power, your technique will suffer and you will miss the opportunity for growth and advancement in your skill development.

When it comes to having the best sparring experience, adopt a givers mindset. Sparring is not a competition, it’s a partnership. When both sparring partner focus on helping the other improve, magic happens. Mutual challenge and respect results in mutual development and benefit.

Focus On Learning, Not Winning

Sparring is not about winning or loosing. Some days, you won’t be able to miss, while other days, you won’t be able to hit a single target. Sparring is all about learning. Every time you spar, try to improve from the last time.

As we mentioned before, sparring is just as much mental as it is physical. While you’re sparring, rather than focusing on winning, focus on your mental state:

  • Stay calm and remember to breath
  • Be aware of your position and guard
  • Concentrate on your opponent or partner
  • Practice those problem-solving skills
  • Stay in control of your emotions

Most importantly, have fun! Remember, it can take years to get really good at sparring. The best martial artists are the ones who show up, consistently put in the work, and enjoy the experience.

 

Ready to up your sparring game? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Bully-Proof Your Kid

How To Bully-Proof Your Kid

Starting a new school year is an exciting time for many kids. It’s an opportunity to make new friends, learn new things, and tackle new challenges. But for many kids that are prone to bullying, starting a new school year can be a stressful experience. According to recent studies, one in three children will experience some form of bullying in their lifetime.

As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our kids, but realistically, we can’t always be by their side. So, what steps can you take to bully-proof your kid?

Experts have long agreed that enrolling a child in martial arts can dramatically decrease how frequently a child is bullied. In fact, a recent study suggests that training in the martial arts can decrease the likelihood of bullying by up to 64%.

 

Encourage An Open Line Of Communication

As parents, it can be challenging to help our kids work through an encounter with a bully, especially if we don’t know about it. Kids will often feel embarrassed to admit they are being bullied, which is why establishing an open line of communication is so important. When kids feel it’s ok to talk to you about their experience with a bully, they are more likely to talk to other authority figures as well such as a school counselor. Sometimes, simply reporting the incident can resolve a problem with a bully before it becomes a long-term issue.

Martial arts teaches kids to confidently advocate for themselves. In fact, the best martial arts programs stress the importance of using a strong voice to stop a run-in with a bully before it can escalate. Avoiding a physical altercation is always the best bet.

 

Help Them Develop More Confidence

What makes some kids an easy target? Put simply, bullies tend to target individuals who they believe won’t fight back. They look for body language such as crossed arms, rounded shoulders, and lack of eye contact to identify insecure individuals who can be easily controlled or victimized. Experts agree that kids with high self-esteem and confidence are less likely to get bullied.

Building confidence through the martial arts is a great way to keep bullies at bay. Every martial arts class your kid attends is an opportunity to prove to themselves that they are strong and capable of greatness. Sparring drills encourage focusing and performing under pressure which is another great way to develop unshakable confidence. As they earn new belt ranks and learn more challenging techniques, their view of themselves and what they are capable of will shift and you will begin to see an outward demonstration of your kid becoming bully-proof.

 

Surround Them With Good Friends

It’s well known that bullies tend to seek out kids who lack community or are isolated. This is because it’s much easier to take advantage of and control a single kid rather than a group of kids. Also, fewer witnesses mean less of a likelihood that the bully will be identified and reprimanded.

When it comes to standing up to bullies, there’s always strength in numbers. If your kid is struggling to make new friends at school, enrolling them in a martial arts program is a great way to introduce them to new friends with similar mindsets. When it comes to making new friends, quality is more important than quantity. Even having just one significant friend at school can greatly reduce the likelihood that your kid will be bullied.

 

Have Them Learn Age-Appropriate Self-Protection Skills

Even though we always advocate for walking away from a bully, we also understand that there may come a time when that’s just not possible. In this case, it’s important for kids to understand how to appropriately defend themselves from a physical attack.

We often get asked: “what is the best self-defense move?” As you can imagine, it’s challenging to narrow it down to just one. When it comes to kids who are being bullied, verbal assertiveness should always be the first course of action. If this approach proves to be unsuccessful at deescalating the situation, non-violent self-defense techniques are the next best thing. This is because, typically, punching and kicking the bully back will do more harm than good. Instead, kids can learn leverage-based control holds to neutralize the threat without leaving a mark.

Role-playing common scenarios (such as being pushed or grabbed) during martial arts class will give your kid the confidence they need to know they are equipped to defend themselves should the need arise.

 

Ready to help your kid become bully-proof? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Forging Friendships Through Martial Arts

Forging Friendships Through Martial Arts

Of all of the countless benefits of enrolling your child in a martial arts program, one of the most important may be forging lasting friendships through martial arts. Experts agree that good friends can enrich your life and improve your health. In fact, adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of health problems like depression, high blood pressure, and unhealthy BMI.

For school-aged children, having friends is important for developing important life skills such as socialization and conflict resolution. Making friends is also important for a child’s self-esteem. All kids thrive when they feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.

But, let’s face it, making friends can be a challenge for kids. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be!

Surrounding them with like-minded individuals in a positive and supportive environment can make it so much simpler. Developing friendships through martial arts is fun and rewarding! Let’s take a look at what makes martial arts friends so great:

They’re Committed To Self-Improvement

When it comes to making friends, quality is more important than quantity. Martial arts is all about making progress towards the goal of achieving new belt ranks and learning new skills. Setting goals and working towards them with like-minded individuals is a great way to build lasting friendships. Martial artists are often self-motivated and love encouraging their peers to develop good habits such as eating healthy or prioritizing their fitness.

Earning a black belt requires several years of commitment. This presents a unique opportunity to interact with the same group of people for an extended period of time. Nothing feels better than knowing that the people you train with are supporting you and cheering for you on the way to earning your black belt. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

They’re Respectful

Respect is the foundation for any lasting friendship. In martial arts, respect is taught in several different ways. Students learn to bow to their training partners as a sign of respect. They also address each other as “yes, sir” or “yes ma’am” to further establish respectful relationships. Kids quickly learn that they not only deserve respect but that they must respect others as well.

In martial arts training, all individuals are treated with respect equally. Girls and boys train together. Different ages train together. The more diverse the class, the more rewarding the training experience.  Kids develop an appreciation for their peers and learn how to demonstrate respect to them in an environment that frequently reinforces its importance.

They’re Trustworthy

Most people will agree that trust is an important aspect of any friendship. Building trust allows kids to feel accepted as they are and encourages them to share their successes and struggles with others.

Clearly, it takes a lot of trust to work with a training partner who is punching and kicking at you. Martial artists must develop exquisite control to prevent injuring themselves or the people they train with. Whether it’s training with pads or practicing sparring drills, through consistent practice, martial artists learn to rely and depend on their training partners.

They Share Your Passion

Common interests bring people together and create opportunities for building strong friendships. Kids often have a hard time introducing themselves to new people or even starting a conversation. Participating in a shared physical activity takes the pressure off of conversation, especially in the early stages of friendship.

It doesn’t take long to develop a passion for martial arts. Nothing feels better than being surrounded by people who just get it. They understand your excitement when you achieve a new belt rank, empathize with you when you struggle to perform well in a tournament, and even geek out with you at the latest martial arts themed movie or TV show. Martial arts friends will see you and understand you on a level most others won’t. And that’s pretty amazing.

 

Does your child struggle to make new friends? Fortunately, it’s never too late to build new friendships through the martial arts. Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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martial arts improves school performance

Martial Arts Improves Academic Performance

Experts agree that martial arts improves academic performance in school-aged children. It’s true! And who doesn’t want their child to have better focus and higher grades?

In fact, participating in physical activity, such as martial arts, has a direct impact on the behavior and development of the brain.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes, and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance.

Here are three ways martial arts sets kids up for academic success:

Better Grades

According to a recent study, there is a link between children’s cardiorespiratory fitness and their performance in school. In short, the study determined that the more athletic a student is, the better their grades are in core subjects like mathematics and reading. Participating in an aerobic style of martial arts such as kickboxing or Muay Thai, can enhance executive function and overall brain health.

Additionally, another study revealed that children with higher levels of fitness perform better on a relational memory task. This is in part due to having a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for relational memory performance. Reputable martial arts programs require students to memorize specific striking combos or forms at each belt rank. Of course, developing the ability to recall key facts and concepts quickly is critical to doing well on academic exams.

Best of all, exercise has been shown to improve creative thinking. Martial arts drills such as sparring require the student to creatively determine how to strike and defend themselves against a resisting opponent. Practicing this creative approach to thinking and problem solving is key to achieving academic success, especially in STEM classes.

Improved Classroom Behavior

Regular participation in a structured martial arts training program enhances concentration and focus often resulting in improved classroom behavior. Did you know that mixed martial arts training has been shown to improve social skills and lessen behavioral problems in boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Martial arts training encourages students to develop and practice strategies for self-control. Developing this skill can help children with ASD learn to better control their emotions as well as inhibiting rigid/impulsive behaviors.

Additionally, mixed martial arts classes provide a positive environment for hyperactive kids to release energy while improving their ability to concentrate. Kickboxing and Muay Thai classes combine high-intensity exercises with drills that require students to focus on hitting specific targets with technical accuracy. Children learn self-control and discipline while participating in regular physical activity that has been proven to decrease the severity of ADHD symptoms and improve cognitive function.

Boost In Self-Confidence

It is well-known that students who are more confident are better problem solvers. Alternatively, children who struggle with self-confidence tend to struggle with test anxiety. Fortunately, martial arts is great for improving self-confidence in children. Most martial arts programs will have frequent opportunities for students to demonstrate the skills they have learned in front of their peers and instructors. This may be in the form of a competitive tournament or even a test for a new belt rank. These opportunities to have their hard work and commitment recognized serves as a way to help boost their self-confidence. It also reinforces the idea that hard work and practice lead to progress. Consequently, they’ll be more likely to hit the books for extra study time when it comes to their academics.

 

It’s easy to see how participating in martial arts improves academic performance. Whether your goal is boosting your child’s self-confidence, improving their classroom behavior, or helping them score better grades, enrolling in a reputable martial arts program may hold the key to a less stressful, more successful school year.

 

Ready to experience how martial arts improves academic performance for your child? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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All rights reserved. Used with permission. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Why Martial Artists Bow

Why Martial Artists Bow

It’s easy to wonder why martial artists bow. More than just tradition, the martial bow is a sign of mutual respect and humility still honored today.

To a new student just beginning their martial arts journey, it can first appear that they are constantly bowing.

Most schools expect their students to bow as they enter/exit the school, as they step on/off the training floor, at the start and end of each class, to their coach or instructor, and to their training partner.

But what is the significance of each bow?

In short, the bow is a way to practice showing respect and gratitude. Different styles will have different standards as to what the proper form of a bow looks like. At Invictus Martial Arts, students place their feet together and keep their hands at their side before they bend at the waist at a 45 degree angle. This is the most traditional form of a martial bow dating all the way back to 12th century Japan!

It is important to note that a bow at the neck or any bow from the waist that does not break the 45 degree plane does not carry the same meaning. While these less formal bows are not necessarily considered disrespectful, they simply serve as a form of acknowledgment rather than a display of respect or gratitude. For example, a bow at the neck or slow nod of the head most commonly means “hello” rather than “I respect you” or “I’m grateful for you”. That’s a pretty important distinction, isn’t it?!

It is common for some students to feel insecure or even embarrassed to bow at first because they are unfamiliar with the deep tradition and meaning behind the bow. Fortunately, there are several opportunities during each class to practice developing this important skill and the mindset that comes with it. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Bow To Show Respect

Bowing as you enter the academy and before stepping onto the training floor shows respect to your school, the style you train in, and your instructors. It’s also an acknowledgment of your intentions to give your best effort during your class. At the start of each class, instructors and students first bow to the flag out of respect for their country. Next, instructors and students bow to any spectators out of respect for their attention and support. Finally, instructors and students bow to each other as a sign of mutual respect and humility. During sparring or pad drills that require two students work together, partners will bow to each other as a way to signify they will train collaboratively with control and respect for each other’s wellbeing and development.

Bow To Show Gratitude

At the end of each partner drill, the two students that worked together bow to express gratitude for the learning and skill development they received from their partner. At the end of each training session the instructors bow first to the students expressing gratitude for their participation and dedication to their training. Students bow in return to express gratitude for the instruction and mentorship they received during their class. As students leave for the day, they bow at the front door with gratitude for their school and instructors.

It’s easy to see why martial artists bow once you understand their commitment to developing not only their martial arts skills but also their mindset.

Practicing respect and gratitude during each training sessions helps create an unbeatable mindset that will translate into more success and happiness in all areas of life. And who doesn’t want that?

 

Ready to try a FREE training session at Invictus? Click below for the class that interests you the most and get started for FREE…

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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All rights reserved. Used with permission. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Martial Arts Is Medicine

Martial Arts Is Medicine

When most people think of martial arts, they tend to think of the benefits of learning self-defense. But did you know, training in the martial arts doesn’t just teach your body how to protect you from violence? Regular participation in martial arts training also teaches your body to protect you from common medical conditions as well.

Martial arts is medicine, plain and simple.

In fact, the fitness industry as a whole plays an important role in the Healthcare Continuum: preventive healthcare. Experts agree that regular physical activity is vital for the prevention of several chronic diseases. Of course, you should always check with your primary care physician before starting any new exercise program. Here’s a list of some of the most common medical problems and how martial arts can help prevent them:

Allergies

Participating in regular aerobic exercise, like kickboxing, is one of the body’s most efficient ways to control nasal congestion associated with allergies. This is in part due to the dilation of blood vessels which increases blood flow and improves the body’s ability to extract oxygen from the bloodstream. Physical activity results in increased blood flow which allows allergens to be moved quickly through the body and eliminated by the kidneys and skin.

Another benefit of  martial arts training is focusing on controlled breathing. Breathing exercises can help build stronger lungs that can help protect against severe allergy symptoms.

Arthritis

Individuals with arthritis are often reluctant to exercise because they fear their symptoms and condition will get worse. Fortunately, new research shows, that being active actually improves joint function.

In general, more activity mean less disability.

When you train in the martial arts, performing various punches and kicks forces the skeletal joints to move which induces the production of synovial fluid and helps to distribute it over the cartilage and circulate throughout the joint space. While these things won’t reverse the damage already done by existing arthritis, it can help prevent things from getting worse.

Diabetes

In general, exercise helps lower blood sugar levels, strengthen the skeletal muscles and heart, improve circulation, and reduce stress. In fact, a recent study shows that type 1 diabetic patients who regularly engage in martial arts training can achieve or maintain satisfactory glycemic control without the increased risk of severe hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are two main ways that exercise lowers blood sugar:

  1. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity which helps your muscles better use available insulin for the uptake of glucose during and after activity.
  2. During exercise, your muscles contract allowing your cells to take up glucose and use it for energy whether there is available insulin or not.

When you make martial arts training, like kickboxing, a regular habit, it can also help lower your A1C levels as well.

Heart Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control, high levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, training in the martial arts can help raise HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels in the blood and lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) levels.

In fact, an intense martial arts training session can burn up to 500 calories!

Even better, regular participation in martial arts training results in gaining muscle mass. This helps burn even more calories! As your heart rate increases during your martial arts training, your heart learns how to pump blood throughout your body more efficiently. This results in decreased blood pressure, reducing your risk for hypertension.

Osteoporosis

Exercise promotes bone density, thereby lowering an individual’s risk of experiencing bone fracture. In fact, a recent study shows that adolescents engaging in martial arts training presented higher values of bone mineral density when compared to the control group. This means adolescents that train in martial arts will be less prone to developing osteoporosis later in life.

There is also evidence to support learning how to properly fall during martial arts training can be extremely beneficial for individuals suffering with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a well-known risk factor for fall-related hip fractures. Learning and practicing simple fall techniques in a safe and controlled environment can help prevent hip fractures in individuals with osteoporosis.

 

Ready to experience these health benefits for yourself? Invest in a personalized approach to your wellness with a FREE training session at Invictus. We have new classes starting and invite you to get real results today. Click below for the class that interests you the most and get started for FREE…

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Kid's Karate

Kid’s Karate: What You Need To Know

Kid’s karate classes first gained popularity in the 80’s after the the movie The Karate Kid was released in theaters. Every kid wanted to be Daniel and every parent wanted their kids to be able to defend themselves against Kobra Kai bullies. As karate dojos began seeing more enrollment of youth members, other traditional martial arts began to follow suit. Now, almost 40 year later, there is no shortage of martial arts styles and school, from traditional to modern, that kids can train in.

Needless to say, shopping for a kid’s karate program can be overwhelming to parents who have no experience with martial arts.

So how do you make an educated decision?

Knowing what you want your child to learn from the martial arts is a great place to start.

Here’s a list of the most common reasons we hear from parents when it comes to why they sign their kids up for karate:

I Want My Kid To Be Able To Protect Themselves:

You may be wondering, which martial arts style is best for self-defense? While traditional styles like karate, taekwondo, and kung fu have a wealth of history and knowledge, they can miss the mark when it comes to practical application in a modern world. Modern styles like K-1 kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu offer a more practical approach to self-defense focusing on applied physics and body mechanics rather than choreographed movement. Look for a program that doesn’t just teach self-defense techniques, but also explains how the techniques works.

I Want My Kid To Be More Confident:

The key to developing confidence through the martial arts is less about the style and more about the school and instructors. Look for a place that offers a FREE trial class to get an idea of what the culture is like before you commit to long-term training. A training environment with enthusiastic and supportive instructors and other kids that genuinely look happy to be there are great indication of a healthy training environment. Also, find a place that offers smaller class sizes as larger classes can be intimidating to kids struggling with feeling confident.

I Want My Kid To Be Better Disciplined:

Most martial arts schools will implement several exercises to encourage discipline such as saying “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am” and bowing to instructors and training partners. But not all schools have programs in place that teach accountability and self-discipline. Look for a program that has clearly communicated requirements for belt rank advancement that includes more than just class attendance. Clearly communicating benchmarks is a great way to teach kids the importance of setting goals and putting in the work to achieve them.

I Want My Kid To Get Fit:

Contrary to what you may think, not all martial arts programs are created equal when it comes to fitness. Traditional styles can put a lot of emphasis on developing low stances and high kicks, but can lack intentionality when it comes to developing cardiovascular stamina and full-body strength development. Modern styles tend to focus more on developing upper body as well as lower body strength. While sparring is a great way to develop stronger cardio, programs that incorporate regular bag and pad drills tend to develop more well-rounded students. Look for a program that is intentional about including physical conditioning drills into every training session, not just sessions leading up to belt tests.

Ready to get your kids training? Register her for a free training session today to discover how we help develop strong and confident kids.

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five secret benefits of martial arts

Five Secret Benefits Of Martial Arts

If you’re like us, you LOVE finding secret benefits to ethically hack more results from your life.

Let’s be real: we all have the same 24-hours in a day. But some people seem to get more from every hour than us. The same is true of martial arts training. Have you ever noticed some people get better results than us at the gym… but we’re doing the same kind of training?

Which makes us wonder: what’s their secret?

Today, we’re going to give you five secret benefits of martial arts that no one else is talking about… but really should be!

1) Better Insulin Sensitivity

Experts agree that exercise helps improve your cells and muscles’ sensitivity to insulin. This is a really good thing! Because that means your body doesn’t need as much insulin to work effectively. And even better, it means less belly fat.

2) Less Stress

Experience shows that working out with martial arts quickly reduces a person’s stress. That’s because exercise like martial arts reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Why does that matter? Too much cortisol triggers the body to become insulin resistant (that’s bad) and signals the body to store belly fat. Additionally, elevated cortisol stress makes you crave sugar and carbs… a vicious cycle. Break free of the stress-eat cycle with a quick 45-min strength and cardio session at Invictus (BTW, it’s always FREE to try)!

3) Better Brain Health

Our brains perform better in everyday life when we exercise! Martial arts exercise improves memory, enhances learning, and boosts concentration. In fact, vigorous exercise (like a training session at Invictus) is known to even be a great antidepressant working just as effective as common prescription drugs. Exercise helps to improve your mood (we wrote about it HERE), boost your energy, and reduce mental fog and fatigue.

4) Reduced Risk For Chronic Disease

Exercise protects your heart and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, we’ve written extensively about this in previous posts HERE and HERE. Martial arts exercise can reduce inflammation which is the cause of almost every disease associated with aging. Furthermore, it balances hormones that contribute to reducing breast and other common cancers.

5) Enhanced Detoxification

Intense exercise is known to assist your body with releasing toxins through your skin. Now, before you get all grossed out, this is a very common way our bodies naturally detox. Vigorous exercise helps you work up a great sweat (a great detoxifier), but a gentle exercise session will keep your circulation going. This flushes out all the toxic fluids that build up in your lymphatic system.

With benefits like these what’s not to like? Now that you know these five secret benefits of martial arts, perhaps it’s time for you to give it a try for FREE! And best of all you just might like feeling better, feeling stronger, and feeling healthier!

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Isn't all martial arts fitness?

Isn’t All Martial Arts Fitness?

Have you ever wondered: isn’t all martial arts fitness? Or all martial arts essentially do the same thing, right? Sadly, no. In fact, some martial arts styles are great for fitness! But, martial arts styles aren’t all created equally.

And this is particularly true regarding fitness and conditioning.

We believe that all martial arts styles have merit and value. They’re all beneficial in some way. And what you receive from training really depends on your goal. If your goal is fitness and conditioning, you truly need to understand the philosophy of the instructors and coaches.

Why? Because our experience has found that some martial arts styles are better equipped than others when it comes to fitness and conditioning. This becomes even more apparent when you want to develop strength, stamina, agility, power, leverage, efficiency, and durability.

So, if you’re like us and want to truly receive all the fitness benefits that martial arts has to offer, here are three things to consider:

Tradition vs Innovation

Every martial art in existence today has a rich history of lineage with some dating back thousands of years. But to truly be beneficial to you today, it HAS to adapt. No exceptions.

A typical solution to a traditional martial art that has found itself slowly becoming less and less relevant is to add a combative style of training to the base curriculum. This can look like a very traditional style deciding to add Krav Maga for self-defense or even a cardio-based class to the schedule. This “add-on” approach is a great choice for some but doesn’t genuinely create a habit of a fitness-focused lifestyle.

In recent years, a more innovative approach to martial arts has been widely adopted in professional competitive sports. Modern martial arts styles understand that every session needs to smartly incorporate a mindset of practice and even create accountability to help you achieve your goals.

It should come as no surprise that most if not all professionals today choose these modern styles of martial arts when performing competitively. Additionally, you don’t have to want to compete professionally or even want to fight at all to benefit from training like Conor McGregor, Buakaw Banchamek, or Gordon Ryan. As a matter of fact, you can’t go wrong finding a good instructor or coach to help you learn a more modern fitness-based martial art. So, go try a class for FREE and see if you like it!

Isolation vs Integration

Traditional martial arts are well known for isolated movements which only target one primary muscle group at a time. So, if your goal is to develop ridiculously amazing psoas muscles (also known as your hip flexors), then a more traditional martial art may be right for you! Additionally, seniors may find it more challenging since these more isolated movements can put undue stress on joints.

Fortunately, modern martial arts put more emphasis on total-body synergistics for complete muscle integration. Modern martial arts comprehensive training always gives you more benefit and value by targeting muscular kinetic chains. In fact, during a typical training session at Invictus, you can expect to effectively condition your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, lats, delts, traps, pecs, and more.

Choreography vs Performance

Everyone knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is so much to be admired in the fluid, choreographed sequences of patterns of martial arts. It really is beauty in motion!

But in today’s world, choreographed movements like katas/forms have little if anything to do with real-world application. Today, people like you want to know, “Will this protect me?”

Modern martial arts help condition us for chaos and give us the power to do something about it.

Fitness is your potential for performance. Conditioning is putting your potential to work with the physical and mental ability to perform. By focusing on fitness in training then conditioning for unpredictability, you’re not only making yourself more metabolically resilient but cognitively flexible as well.

As you can see, all martial arts have value but AREN’T the same. This is especially true with fitness goals. What matters most is that you find a solution to help you accomplish your goals and coaches who are as committed to your success as you are. So, when you’re ready, come TRY A CLASS FOR FREE and we’ll be happy to partner with you to help you accomplish your goals!

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© 2019-2021 Invictus Martial Arts

All rights reserved. Used with permission. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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mental health and martial arts

Improving Mental Health With Martial Arts

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we’re taking a minute to showcase how martial arts can help. For several years, Mental Health America has acknowledged and advocated for fitness as a tool to help those who live with mental illness find pathways to wellness and ultimately thrive in life.

It is well-known that people who live with mental health issues can benefit from physical exercise like martial arts.

In fact, recent scientific publications in the American Journal Of Men’s Health and BMC Psychology support these claims. Experts agree that training in the martial arts can be a transformative experience offering many benefits to those who live with mental illness including mentorship, a sense of achievement, and increased confidence.

Here are three ways we improve mental health with martial arts…

Manage And Reduce Stress

It is well known that training in martial arts is a great way to get in shape, raise your metabolism, build muscle strength, increases flexibility, and improve immune system responses. But did you know that all of these aspects also play a role in reducing areas of potential stress?

As you train your body to become stronger, physically, you are also training it to better handle future stressors.

Of course, practicing martial arts also naturally releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, into your body. These endorphins can help relieve pain and reduce emotional stress. In fact, the neuron receptors that endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind to some common prescription pain medications. That means you can experience the same relief from martial arts training without the possibility of addiction or dependency. Research out of Harvard Health has also shown that exercise, like martial arts, is an effective but often underutilized all-natural treatment for mild to moderate depression. 

Develop Self-Control

Being able to manage and regulate our emotions is something we practice every day, but for those who live with mental illness, this can be a significant challenge. A common strategy used for regulating emotions is attentional deployment, or redirecting attention. For people who struggle with managing anger or anxiety, martial arts can be a positive channel to redirect their energy. Training in the martial arts can also help redirect feelings of powerlessness and encourage feelings of self-confidence. Specifically, learning self-protection skills helps shift feelings of victimization to feelings of self-control. Sparring under adrenaline stress helps develop skills to manage adrenaline and learn to control fight or flight responses. Ultimately, martial arts training helps people develop improved self-control, form healthier habits, and reduce impulsivity.

Increase Self-Esteem

Because strong social support is important for those with depression, participating in a small group martial arts class may be beneficial. In fact, martial arts group classes can improve self-esteem through consistent positive verbal reinforcement from peers, instructors, and coaches. Additionally, when a person masters a new skill or earns a higher belt rank, their sense of achievement automatically boosts their self-confidence and they learn to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

So, when you’re ready to experience how martial arts can transform your life, SCHEDULE YOUR FREE SESSION with us today! We love helping REAL people like you get REAL results for the REAL world.

Creative Commons License

© 2019-2021 Invictus Martial Arts

All rights reserved. Used with permission. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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