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As with strength, health is important to the martial artist in three ways.

We tend to think about health mostly in physical terms. Exercise, stretching, aerobic fitness. These are all very good for you and are key in martial arts. Paying attention to what we eat and when we eat are important too. Taking care of one’s body is the first step to being healthy.

But health is important for the mind too. Stress is one of the largest threats to people’s mental well-being. Martial arts provides a counter to the stress of the day through training and focus. This is why we focus on mental toughness and sharpness along with physical training. Plus, the knowledge that you can defend yoruself in a bad situation is a stress-relief itself.

Closely related to mental health is emotional health. Simply put, it is unhealthy to be a slave to passion. Unchecked or wild emotions lead to strife and conflict—with others or with yourself—and can cause people to do foolish things. Emotions run high in fights and other dangerous settings. A martial artist needs a clear head to avoid harm if he or she is ever in a precarious situation.

Lastly, spiritual health must be an important part of your life. Be at peace with yourself and understand the purposes and values behind how you live your life. Many fights start from a place of dissatisfaction, where people feel a need to prove themselves or feel good about themselves through hurting others. Especially after a martial artist has been trained in self-defense, they must not fall prey to this danger. Find a sense of deeper purpose and peace. It’s good for your health.

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