By Rhoda Miller, Yurek HR
It’s no secret that movement keeps our bodies strong, and focus keeps our minds sharp. So, why not try something that will do both—like karate? Anyone can benefit from participating in martial arts.
I believe in the saying “Hard work does pay off”. It took me about 7 years and a lot of pain and sweat to achieve my 2nd-degree black belt. It helped me create discipline and respect for everything I do in life.
Now an Olympic sport, karate began in ancient Okinawa, Japan, as a path to personal development and character improvement. Today, it uses precise body movements and breathing to promote mindfulness, self-confidence, and focus. Those movements can be fast and energy-loaded or slow and meditative, depending on your personal goals and physical abilities. Either way, joining a dojo can help you feel better: mind, body, and spirit.
A 2010 study found that the hippocampus (learning and memory) developed more gray matter in those who practiced meditation or martial arts. Karate boosts your brainpower while helping you stay calm and alert. That is a valuable skill for all parts of your life.
One martial arts study in 2018 showed “improvement and maintenance of balance, cognitive function and psychological health … that decline with age.” Additional growth in reaction and strength helps you function better for much longer.
We know exercise improves mental health and confidence, but a 2014 study found that any form of martial arts amplifies those benefits significantly compared to other forms of exercise. It also redirects feelings of inadequacy, building inner strength and a sense of peace while releasing ‘feel-good’ endorphins.
I learned a lot about myself throughout my training, how much I can push myself and to keep trying and never give up when I fail or fall. I try to live by the creed that we say at the beginning and end of each class.
“I will keep my thoughts positive because my thoughts become my word.
I will keep my words positive because my words become my actions.
I will keep my actions positive because my actions become my values.
I will keep my values positive because my values become my destiny.”
Gardening is fine, but if you need something more active to help you feel better in mind, body, and spirit, then karate may be your kick!