Is Martial Arts suitable for women
Yes, is the short answer. As a woman who has been training for over 25 years, and achieved 4th Dan in 2020, I can confidently say that learning karate has been one of the best sports and exercise I’ve done.
There are various reasons why any of us start learning a new skill, you may want to learn martial arts for self-defence, to get fitter, the mental challenge of learning a new skill, build your confidence, improve your social skills with others. It offers all of these, and many more.
For me karate training hasn’t just been about learning how to punch or kick someone, though I do enjoy that part! It’s understanding the body mechanics behind it, how by using tai sabaki, which loosely translates into body management, you can make a technique work without having a huge amount of physical strength.
It builds confidence in you, standing in front of a fellow student, who is 5’11 and shoulders are twice your breadth, and knowing they’re going to step and punch you is pretty scary! However, by finding the right club and ethos you know that when you do this they are there to help you learn, they don’t make it easy, but they don’t make it hard. Being able to stand in front of them every week you build confidence that you’re as capable as anyone else, and you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
Learning a new skill challenges your mind, learning the intricacies of the technique and the underlying principles behind it. You have to leave any problems or thoughts at the dojo door; anyone who has tried to perform a kata thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list, or if they put the bins out will tell you that you end up moving the wrong limbs at the wrong time! It takes concentration and commitment.
Practising kata at home takes just as much concentration as in the dojo, a great way to de-stress, relax your mind, allowing yourself to switch off from everyday life. It doesn’t require a lot of room or time, you can do it whilst the kettle is boiling!
You’ll gain new friends and develop social skills. There isn’t a ‘type’ of person who learns martial arts, you’ll meet people from all walks of life and gain friends that you may not have otherwise met.
If you’ve thought about it, and are still hesitant about taking that first step, my advice is go do it. Don’t worry about looking daft, you won’t, everyone starts as a beginner, and as you move the up kyu grades there’ll be plenty of times when you move the wrong arm and leg, and so will every other student! It’s great fun whilst offering you so many benefits.
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