A student has it rough. Endless hours memorizing books and attending lectures. That kind of working lifestyle leaves you open to learning bad physical habits and lifestyle choices. College isn’t just preparing your for a career, it’s preparing you for living the rest of your life. The perfect solution to aid in that pursuit is learning a martial art.

1. Fitness

College is a prime opportunity to pack on weight while learning poor living habits. Junk food is everywhere. Most of your work requires a lot of sitting in one place. Over four, or five or seven years (or more) your body learns to expect to be docile. This lesson will stay with you through college, into marriage and into kids. Before long, you won’t remember what it was like to run a mile without puking…if you could get that far.

Martial arts will give you a base for an expectation of physical ability. Warming up, training and cooling down are all part of a regular workout routine. Make this a habit and you won’t have to worry about the Freshman 15 becoming the Post-Grad 40.

2. Stress reliever

A good workout relieves stress. It’s even better if that workout involved punching or kicking something, right? You can go to anything from a kickboxing class to a jiu-jitsu dojo and work  some of that student angst out of your system.

3. UFC/Mixed Martial Arts

As the UFC, Bellator and other mixed martial arts organizations become more mainstream it would be nice to know why two guys on top of each other in a cage is called ‘The Guard’ and not ‘Missionary.’ If you’ve any interest in sports you may as well get in on the ground level of an up and coming worldwide sport.

4. Discipline

The techniques and maneuvers in martial arts are not natural. They must be learned. Each one must be coaxed and massaged into your muscle memory through diligence and practice. Learning to make these techniques a natural part of your athletic portfolio will make them easier to recall later.

Hold up. Muscle memory? Practice? Sounds like studying, right? That’s because it is. And studying for your body will improve the study practices you use for your classes.

5. Self-Defense

No one wants to be attacked. Well, some folks do and they have extraordinary issues. But most everyone else wants to go about their day in peace. But there will always be some jerk or butthead that is itching for an excuse to mess with someone else’s business. Learning to defend yourself will help protect you from people like him that are more roving animal than human.

6. Confidence

The ability to protect yourself will boost your confidence. There is no need to look at studies or tests or data, charts and graphs. It is a fact that when you walk into a room and know that you can defend yourself from most any situation you are free to be who you really are. This confidence will manifest in every aspect of your personality and make you more effective at living life on your own terms.

7. Community

The martial arts community is comprised of a group of people coming together to study the fighting arts. They are not ‘Cobra Kai’ from the original ‘Karate Kid.’ They are not there to learn how to beat people up. They are there to learn how to control themselves in potentially dangerous situations. Violence isn’t the answer. Self-control is. And you can only do this by working patiently with others. The martial arts community is a chill, no pressure environment striving for personal improvement. So think of learning martial arts as the group project you’ll actually enjoy doing.