(thanks to Rory for the topic)
Sometimes people ask me "Have you ever used your martial arts training?"
I answer truthfully "I use my training every day"...they look shocked...
In addition to the physical benefits of increased strength and cardio, and the practical aspects of learning self-defense, what other tangible benefits does martial arts training bring? How can it be helpful in the "real world"??
Reacting to Stress
Physical combat, where bodily injury is anticipated, is considered the most stressful situation we can face. We have involuntary responses to stress. Adrenalin pumps, pupils dilate, heart rate spikes, bloodflow moves from extremeties to core. We can often feel frozen in fear. Martial arts training pushes us via such activities as partner drills and sparring, to become more comfortable in the face of stress. We become aware of ourselves and our bodies, our reactions to stress - and we practice focusing and reacting while under that pressure. In the real world where we are usually not physically attacked on a dialy basis (but may be verbally/emotionally attacked), this is great for helping us cope.
Good martial arts training makes us multitask. In Kali Majapahit (http://www.nitien.com/) our stickwork, knifework, and empty hands is uniquely designed to help us achieve ambidexterity, often causing each hand to be doing something different at the same time (block and strike, trap and strike, strike two targets, etc.). The effect of this training is that we become more able to unify the two hemispheres of our brains and use them together. This opens up new perceptions and increases our mental abilities overall. The multitasking skill is especially useful when our job requires doing several things at once without confusion.
No martial art can be properly taught without including a study of breathing. Breathing controls our basic body functions (heart rate, blood pressure), and is responsible for helping us generate power in techniques. At the office, knowing how to breathe properly can be a key factor in stress management.
Constant training in achieving our goals (through the rank testing/grading process) has the result of conditioning our mindset of success outside the dojo as well. We cease to view ourselves as "victims" and begin to see ourselves as "victors". This confidence is reflected in our posture, our handshake, and our eye contact. By mastering ourselves, we are no longer intimidated or afraid of others - no longer intimidated or afraid of being who we can be.
Many martial arts (including Kali Majapahit) include learning of natural healing methods including massage and diet. Every good martial arts teaches these concepts in order to create a balanced harmony in the student between yin and yang (positive and negative). This learning helps us keep our bodies in overall better condition - which means getting enough sleep, eating proper foods, keeping hydrated, and in general focusing on our own health and longevity. This has a direct impact in fewer sick days and an overall more positive working environment for all employees.
The next step will be to get employers to view martial arts as having the same (actually more) benefit than practicing yoga or going to the gym. Martial Arts training is vital for success in life - personally and professionally.
Tony Robbins, motivational speaker (and martial artist)