If there’s one activity every man must do, it’s lifting weights. The benefits it offers simply can’t be ignored.
But after my experiences training in Krav Maga and then Muay Thai, I’m convinced that learning a martial art is a close second. Here’s why:
1. You’ll learn to fight
If there’s one primal instinct that makes us men, it’s our inclination towards the physical.
When a dispute escalates between two grown men, the possibility of a physical confrontation is always present. It’s the obvious last resort.
In western cultures today, fights are few and far between, but they still happen. Being prepared for this very real possibility is not only practical, it also puts you in closer contact with your masculine energy.
2. You’ll build true confidence
This benefit is a direct result of knowing how to fight.
When you know, in the back of your mind, that you’re prepared to defend yourself if the shit hits the fan, a sense of self-assuredness will surface.
This confidence is real and can’t be matched by cheap tricks like positive affirmations.
3. You’ll develop persistence
If you’re training at a quality gym that’s pushing you to get into fight-level shape, your persistence will be challenged time and time again.
There are moments during every workout when I question my ability to continue to spar or complete a particular drill.
By constantly pushing yourself past these points of exhaustion, you build a tolerance to your instinct to quit. This tolerance translates to other areas of your life and allows you to persist past the point where lesser men would give up and fail.
4. You’ll radically improve conditioning
Throwing punches and kicks or wrestling for extended periods of time simply cannot be matched by other forms of exercise.
My Muay Thai classes are 2 hours long. By the end of each class I’m thoroughly fatigued.
While you can’t build the same amount of muscle when compared to lifting weights, you definitely do push your physical limits much further with martial arts.
5. You get to compete
The need to compete is another primal obligation of men.
When you train in most martial arts you’ll get the chance to spar, if not enter formal competitions.
I don’t want to marginalize the competition that traditional sports like football or basketball provide, but competing in a martial art is a whole different ballgame. It’s a true test of your mettle.
6. You’ll expand your comfort zone
When I first stepped in the Muay Thai gym, I wasn’t met with flowers and kisses. The experienced fighters looked down on me with a sense of superiority.
There’s so much technique to learn and instincts to develop that it’s overwhelming at first. You’re being thrown in head-first to a vicious cycle. You are already starting far outside your comfort zone.
Many men face this reality and quit after a few training sessions. But if you fight this impulse and push on, you’ll quickly expand your comfort zone, something that pays dividends across all areas of your life.
7. It’s a new area to set goals for
Because there’s so much to learn, you’ll be forced to set mini-goals as you go, whether it’s just keeping your hands up while sparring, pivoting on the ball of your foot when kicking, or keeping your chin tucked at all times.
The act of setting and achieving goals is the most important habit you can build. By practicing it in the ring, you’ll be more likely to do it in other areas of your life as well.
Bonus: Women will think you’re a badass
By now it should be clear to you that it’s your duty as a man to sign up at a martial arts gym. Brazilian Ju Jitsu and Muay Thai are the 2 most popular options, and you’d do well to start learning one of them today.
First this is my first time in your blog and i really like what you are saying!
Second, I have to admit that Martial Arts does give you all of those things you explained above. I know because i took classes of Mixed Martial Arts and at first i felt a little weak when i went on my own to ask if i could join the class.
I was weak those first two weeks i could not even do a push up let alone keep up with the other guys in class. I would leave a puddle of sweat everyday on the mat. I never liked fighting as i thought it was barbaric.
Let me tell you as i continued to go to class my confidence level spiked! And i actually learned something that i never knew i had i actually like the aggressiveness of fighting using the moves that i learned against my opponent.
I really enjoyed the knife fighting as that came naturally to me. I tell you the instant respect i would get when people found out i did MMA. My wife even noticed the high confidence and the good mood i was in all the time.
So Martial Arts is something every man should do in his lifetime as it helps bring out your “Real Man” from the inside out!
Great post sir!
I’ve been training Brazilian Juu Jitsu for the last couple years. Nothing better. I see it as the perfect metaphor for any human interactions. No matter if you are arguing with your girlfriend or trying to convince a client or your boss of something, you have to know how to fight from your back and turn their own effort in your favor (if you are sure you’re in the right).
I’m paying for my 11 year old nephews classes now. How I wish I had been studying BJJ since I was 11. No matter. I know it will make him a better man and I can learn as I watch him develop.
I think that’s awesome that you’re getting your nephew started so early.
I intend to learn BJJ after I compete in a Muay Thai fight later this year.
Yep. That does appear to be the winning mix–muy thai for striking and BJJ for ground work. I’ll probably check into some muy Thai as well this summer when I have more time.
Comps sound like fun in that. I did a karate form and competed but it was really controlled and not very realistic. One thing I think ours BJJ over everything else is that you practice it at full speed every time you roll. I don’t even think you can do that with traditional wrestling. As with striking forms you would just be beat up all the time.
What’s your best e-book for an someone with a good deal of experience in the gym?
Either Body of a Beast or Shredded Beast (and Shredded Beast actually comes as part of Body of a Beast). Links below:
Alright. Just bought it (Body of a Beast). FYI, tried to buy it on Amazon a few days ago but they wouldn’t let me use my iPad. Might want to look into that.
Which one should i take?? Theres so many.
Muay Thai and Brazilian Ju Jitsu are the 2 most popular so it’s easiest to find good gyms to train at. Research those 2 and pick one to start with.
Can I do the Body Beast program and keep up my twice weekly, hour long Martial Arts practices?
I would do the MA two mornings weekly and use these as cardio also.
Then I plan to follow Body Beast exactly as outlined in the evenings.
I believe that twice week practices is adequate to stay in shape, develop self defense skills, and maintain.
I’m not exactly sure what the body beast program is. But yes, martial arts essentially count as intense cardio. As long as body beast is not more than 3x per week then I think 2x per week martial arts is fine.
Hey David how is it going, greets from Mexico, sorry if my english it´s no that good, but first i want to say, that i love your page, you have helped me a lot in different topics. I want to try Muay Thai, but, i don´t want to sound vain, if you practice this martial art, will i get my face disfigured?, i know i sound a little bit girly, but i care. Thanks for everything, keep doing what you do.
“If I practice this martial art”
Hey Marco. You should be fine. You won’t begin sparring right away, and even then, you will use protection if you engage in heavy sparring.
Lifting weights is second, martial arts first. How bad ass is it when a big dude picks a fight and get his ass handed to him in a swift manner by a small counterpart. Yes, happened to me once. Plus I’m Asian and only 5’8.
Nice dude! But I still think there are more benefits to lifting (posture, bone density, muscle mass, foundational strength) than martial arts. Love em both though.
I know the right attitude to have in life is that it shouldn’t be too late until we are dead, but I’m just wondering if learning a martial art near the end of your 20s is still a good age to start, I’m not saying I’m interested in competing in matches or tournaments, but just to be well prepared in case to defend myself in case Danger is around me, and for the other reasons listed
Building your confidence and also can help your self in times of danger. These are just some of the advantages as well when you will learn martial arts.