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Why study a martial art?


A 1998 study by Columbus and Rice (1998), Phenomenological meanings of martial arts participation, Journal of Sport Behavior, 21, 16-29, examined why people participate in martial arts and found four main reasons:
  • Fear of criminal victimization. 
  • Seeking growth and discovery, including challenging oneself, either mentally, physically, or spiritually, and facing one’s fears. 
  • Life transition and wanting to get life under control. 
  • Task performance and reaching martial arts achievement as contributions to achievement in other life situations. 
Several of these reasons involve a desire for life enhancement, likely due to viewing the martial arts as a way of life rather than simply a sport. Many of the mental skills used in sports have been found effective in achieving peak performance throughout life. These skills have frequently been used in the martial arts even though they may not have always been systematically taught.

The following are some other reasons why you should study some style of effective, self-defense oriented martial art.

There are bad people in the world

There are bad people in the world who have no morals so they will not hesitate to harm or kill you. Some think that putting evil people behind bars for a lifetime is punishment enough because the wrongdoers must think about what they have done for every day for the rest of their lives. This is the wishful thinking of people with a conscious.

Evil people do not dwell on their crimes because they do not have a conscious. They may regret being caught and being in prison, but they do not regret their actions. If released, they will commit the same crimes again. You must learn to defend yourself against these bad people.

Prison is a training camp for criminals

You study the martial arts because in a prison somewhere is a guy training hard so that when he gets is released he can kick your ass, take your money, and possibly kill you.

Prison may rehabilitate good people who have gone wrong, but for bad people, it is merely a training camp. They are studying with the “masters” of violence and training hard so that when they are released they will not be arrested again. One way to ensure this is to leave no witnesses.

The training one gets in prison, both mental and physical, is extremely efficient and very practical. There are no patterns to learn. Every day is an adrenaline filled training session in survival. Prisoners learn their first day that to survive in prison you must be tough and that you must demonstrate how tough you are daily. Just as a new chicken in a farmyard, you must endure many pecking battles to find your place in the pecking order. Moreover, you must face more battles every time a new chicken moves in.

You learn to sense trouble, read intentions, and watch your back always. You learn quickly who the big roosters are, and you ingratiate yourself to them quickly so they will take you under their wing and teach you the ways of crime.

Since weights and resistance training are readily available in prison and prisoners have nothing else to do, they train daily to be physically tough. The prison itself makes them mentally tough, much tougher than any bar bully.

With so many "masters" of crime available, some prisoners attain their "black belts" in murder and mayhem. Some become "super-predators" who are feared by even the toughest street thug.

When these prisoners are released, they look for prey. Most look for the weakest prey, such as women, the elderly, or children. Others do not care what type of prey is available since they do not fear injury or death. You are just a piece of meat to them.

As a martial artist, you may be able to defend yourself against a drunk at the bar or some street thug, but do not fool yourself. When you are attacked by a predator, unless you have trained for that moment, you will find your life slowly fading away as you lie in a pool of your own blood.
Martial arts help make you a warrior

If you ever expect to face and defeat pure evil, you must train as hard as the predators have trained and try as best you can, as a "normal" person, to prepare yourself mentally for the moment. You may train in a martial art for many years and enjoy every minute of it, but unless you are willing to train for survival, do not ever think you will stand a chance against a human beast.

Fear paralyzes

When you are afraid, you do not always do the things you want to do. Fear causes undue stress in your life and your family. Fear is passed on to your children, so they learn to grow up in fear. The martial arts help you alleviate and control many of your fears.
You can't rely on the "good guys" to protect you from the "bad guys"

For one thing, the good guys are not always around and, if they are, you can’t be sure they will help you. Also, you never know who the good guys are. The martial arts teach you how to defend yourself—the one person you can count on. When you are in need, YOU are the only one that is always there, and the only one who is ready and willing to help no matter how great the danger.

No matter who you are, there are things you can do to defend yourself effectively. Defense is usually always better than submission.

Nothing else matters

When you are facing an evil person intent on harming you, nothing else matters except your preventing the person from harming you. His bad childhood, the lack of school funding, liberal judges, corrupt police departments, your efforts in the peace movement, your being a good person, etc. mean nothing at that moment. The martial arts teach you what you need to do; whether you do it is up to you.
Be prepared

You carry a cell phone, keep your AAA membership current, keep a jack and spare tire in your trunk, have insurance, etc. when you drive so you will be prepared for possible problems. Why not be prepared for a possible physical attack? The martial arts will prepare you.
It's instinctive

All animals know how to defend themselves because their lives depend on it. Parents in the animal world do not release their offspring until they have developed self-defense skills effective enough for them to survive. Why do humans neglect their children in this respect? Because, no matter what humans have accomplished, at their core—they are gullible idiots. The martial arts teach your children how to defend themselves in today's world.


To be truly confident in yourself, you must feel confident in your ability to protect yourself and your family. The martial arts give you this confidence.

When you fail to protect your family, friends, or even a stranger, you will live a lifetime of guilt because you did not do all you could have done to protect them. With martial arts training, you will be capable and more willing to intercede when needed.
Win, never lose

Today, we are taught that winning isn't everything; it is how we play the game that matters. In the real world of violence, if you don’t win, you will never play again. The martial arts teach you how to win and how to deal with defeat.

Humans have evolved to survive

We have the innate desire to kick butt when threatened, and kicking butt makes us feel better afterward. Martial arts teach you street survival skills.

It is fun to kick butt; that is why sports are so successful. Martial arts let you exercise your competitiveness in a safe, controlled manner.


Today, where intimidation and bullying are prominent, starting on the playground and continuing into the workplace, being a wuss may get you injured or even killed, and at the least left behind in the world of success. The martial arts show you how to deal with intimidation, usually without violence.

Bad people are ready and willing to harm you

Are you ready and willing to stop them?

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