About 40 percent of the respondents said they were learning martial arts because they wanted to keep fit. This makes sense as often the workouts are rigorous, providing excellent cardio as well as strength building. A Karate Kyokushin training session usually involves about 20 minutes of pure physical workout, followed by 20 minutes of katas practice and 10 minutes of sparring. All three parts are extremely taxing on the body, with most people saying that they often suffer from muscle fatigue for up to a week following an intense session.
More than half of the people surveyed said they were learning martial arts simply for their own enjoyment. While most people prefer to pick up more relaxing hobbies, these abovementioned individuals like to fight in their spare time. Of course, this is oversimplifying things, as martial arts also build up a person’s confidence and instill values such as courage, will and heart. And while many call martial arts a ‘manly hobby’, the survey shows that a larger proportion of women than men said they picked it up solely for the joy it brings them.
Only about 20 percent of the respondents said that they were learning martial arts for self-defense. While many admitted that they did feel more secure knowing they had some fighting skills, they remained convinced they shouldn’t try to resist against an armed robber. In a country such as the US where guns are freely available, most people find martial arts little useful when it comes to crime prevention.
Some people said in the survey that they were training martial arts as a way to meet like-minded individuals. In fact, there were more than a few couples whose first encounter took place on the fighting ring. One gentleman commented: “You can never really know your woman until she’s given you a good beating!”
Regardless of their motivation, almost all respondents said they believed martial arts were a great way to let some steam out. They build up not only the physical but also the mental health, with most of the people feeling calmer and happier after a training session. Some also noticed improvements in their work efficiency due to better concentration and discipline.
The survey included some 200 individuals across 15 martial arts clubs in the US.