Learning Martial Arts in Recovery

When people give up an addiction, they usually have plenty of time on their hands. It is advisable that they make good use of these empty hours, or they may begin to experience boredom. This is dangerous because it can lead people towards relapse. One productive way of using this time is to learn martial arts. This activity can strengthen people’s mind as well as their body. Many people associate martial arts with fighting, but these activities are more about teaching people self-discipline and encouraging mental cultivation. These combat systems can be of great benefit to people in recovery.

Types of Martial Arts

There are many martial arts to choose from. Some of these styles benefit from extremely rich traditions and will take a lifetime to master. Every culture has developed their own style of combat but many are lost to memory. The most popular types of martial arts at the moment include:

* Tae Kwon Do is a Korean combat system that is most known for its flashy high kicks. The name translates as, to strike and break with feet and fist. It can be learned as a full combat system or as a sport. People of all ages practice this system, and it is presently the most popular martial art in the world.
* Karate originated on the Japanese island of Okinawa. This art was introduced to the west during the 60s and 70s, and it continues to be popular today. There are believed to be around 50 million people who practice this combat art around the world. There are many styles of Karate. Some focus more on the philosophical aspects of the art, while others are more physically intensive.
* Kung-Fu is believed to be one of the most ancient of all combat systems. Legends claim that it was introduced by the Yellow Emperor Huangdi in 2689 BCE. It had an influence on other systems such as Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Bruce Lee practiced Wing Chun Kung Fu and is credited with making Asian martial arts so popular in the West.
* Tai Chi is most known as a slow moving meditative exercise, but it is also an effective combat system. There are many wonderful health benefits available to those who practice this art. It takes a lifetime to master, and people can learn it at any age. It is also possible to practice Tai Chi forms that include weapons.
* Aikido is a Japanese martial art that was developed by Morihei Ueshiba during the 1920s. His aim was to create something that would work for people of any physical size. He also wanted his art to be a type of spiritual path that would allow people to cultivate their mind. Aikido looks like a gentle art but the techniques can be very powerful.
*Muay Thai is perhaps the most ferocious of all fighting arts. This combat system originated in Thailand and is known as the Science of eight limbs. The Muay Thai practitioner can use almost every part of their body to inflict damage on their opponent. This is an intensive martial art that allows people to reach peak physical fitness. There are also spiritual aspects to Muay Thai.

General Benefits of Martial Arts

Those who practice martial arts get to enjoy a number of benefits:

* These ancient combat systems can be a great way to stay physically in shape. They can benefit almost every part of the body. There can be impressive cardiovascular benefits with some of the more intense martial arts such as Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do.
* Practicing a martial art teaches people discipline. In order for people to become good at these fighting systems, the practitioner must be willing to sacrifice many hours, and put in a great deal of effort. They can use this discipline in almost every area of their life.
* These arts equip people to defend themselves in an emergency situation.
* Arts like Tai Chi act as a type of moving meditation. This is great for relaxation and mental development. Even the hard martial arts can be a form of meditation.
* All of these disciplines improve coordination and balance to at least some extent.
* Martial arts training increases people’s confidence. Not only do they feel better able to defend themselves in a threatening situation, but they are also likely to feel more comfortable in their own skin.
* Those who master these arts tend to be humble. This is because they no longer feel they need to prove anything to anybody. They are more aware of their strengths and limitations.
* These disciplines can be a type of spiritual path. The individual practicing them can develop both inwardly and outwardly.

The Benefits of Martial Arts in Recovery

Practicing martial arts in recovery can be highly beneficial for several reasons:

* It allows them to regain their physical health. Abusing alcohol or drugs causes great harm to the body, and practicing martial arts can help restore health.
* Self-discipline is essential to a successful recovery. Many good things in life require persistent effort and a bit of sacrifice. By learning martial arts, the individual will be able to extend this discipline to other areas of their life.
* People who become addicted to substances tend to suffer from low self-esteem. Those who devote themselves to these arts will gain mastery over their body and minds. This will greatly increase their confidence and self-esteem.
* If people are bored in recovery it will leave them feeling unsatisfied. This means that they will be more likely to relapse. By taking up a martial art, the individual will have something constructive to do with their time.
* Early recovery can be a stressful time. It is often described as an emotional rollercoaster. This type of physical activity gives people the opportunity to release some of their pent up tensions. The meditation aspects of these martial arts can also be wonderful for helping people to be better able to handle stress.

How to Begin a Martial Arts Practice in Recovery

Beginning a martial arts practice is not something that people usually regret. There are some steps that the individual can take to increase their likelihood of benefiting from martial arts:

* Even a small town will usually have several different schools teaching martial arts. It is recommended that people do a bit of investigation into the different styles before making any decision.
* It is a good idea if people consider what they want from this activity. For example, it is important to consider whether they want something that is more spiritual or physical in nature.
* All the different styles of martial art will have people of all ages practicing them. Some of them are more physically demanding than others. Those who plan on learning one of the more intensive arts such as Muay Thai will need to be willing to increase their fitness to a high level.
* It is a good idea if people speak to their doctor before beginning any new fitness regime. This is particularly important if they have not exercised in a long time or if they have any pre-existing medical conditions.
* In order to progress in a martial art, people need to be willing to commit to regular practice. They will be able to develop much faster if they can go to at least two classes a week and if they also practice at home.
* Most martial arts classes will allow people to come for a free introduction lesson. This can be a good way to assess what is on offer.