Q: How Does Martial Arts Help Students Excel in Other Sports?
A: You can read how many professional athletes from a multitude of sports also cross train in martial arts. It is because martial arts is a very balanced art form that uses left and right side; upper and lower body; lateral, circular, and rotational movements; strength, flexibility, endurance, timing, and hand/eye or foot/eye coordination.
One of the best aspects of martial arts however is that unlike classes or sports where there is one season or one year and then the individual changes classes, coaches, teams, and/or peer groups. Martial arts students remain with the same peer group and develop life long friendships as they learn to trust and train with others in the school. They also learn to develop maturing leadership skills, respect for others, and have compassion and encouragement for those lower in rank. Unlike most sports where there is either an "individual" or "team" aspect, martial arts favorably encompasses both. Martial arts has a family atmosphere where everyone works together, but advances at their own pace - this is beneficial because it doesn't put pressure on one individual ("star player") and can really benefit students who may not excel at other activities.
You'll see many drills executed in ISMA classes that look like "games". Each of these drills has a specific purpose to develop a student's skill level. It is ISMA experience that if students are having fun, they are more engaged and focused on learning. It is through these "games" that speed, timing, coordination, focus, reflexes, and balance are developed. ISMA's 22 year history of training students has proven this method to be very effective when it comes to reflexing to an attack. A methodical approach to learning self defense can be read in a book, but without the rest of these skills the self defense move will fall short in a real life situation.
If you have any questions on this topic not answered in this Q&A, please feel free to ask. Our website and manuals are great sources for information and if you have a question for an upcoming Q&A topic that you think would benefit others too, please send it via email to Sifu Bales at ISMA-Bales@Juno.com