Addiction is time-consuming. When you give up drugs or alcohol, you wind up with a lot of spare hours on your hands, which, if you want to retain your sobriety, will have to be filled with something else—something exciting, productive, and challenging. One way to strengthen your mind and body is through martial arts. Martial Arts in Recovery is not about fighting, it’s about the self-discipline, patience, and mental cultivation that goes into learning it.
TYPES OF MARTIAL ARTS
The list of martial arts types is endless. Some revolve around old, rich, cultural ideologies which can take a lifetime to master. Others are a mixed bag of practical techniques that get you moving, sweating, and punching. Each martial art has its own unique combat system and traditions surrounding it.
BENEFITS OF MARTIAL ARTS IN RECOVERY
Staying in shape – Not only are you learning complex combat systems, but you’re also training your body, almost every part of it, in the process. The cardiovascular benefits of Muay Thai and Tae Kwon have impressed medical experts around the world.
Learning discipline – In order to learn and execute a fighting strategy, you have to sacrifice a lot of hours and brainpower. That’s not easy. The techniques are complicated. Although exciting and innocuous at first, these sports will no doubt test your patience, willpower, brawn and abilities.
Learning self-defense – If a robber holds up your store, you’re supposed to give them the money. If someone tries to force you into their car, you’re supposed to run. All the strategies we’ve been trained to remember since we were children are aimed at preventing a physical confrontation. In the event of a worst-case scenario, an unprovoked assault, there’s only one way to help yourself: by defending yourself.
Learning to relax – A major facet of arts like Tai chi is meditation – moving meditation, not the traditional meditation that relies on stillness. Learning to stay calm and focused while performing complex, strenuous physical maneuvers can greatly aid mental development and tension-release.
Learning to be humble – Those who master these arts experience a strong sense of self-awareness. They know their strengths, their limitations, their fears, and their beliefs. No longer must they prove their value to others in order to believe in themselves. Knowing the martial facet of self-reliance that few people have is invaluable to one’s confidence.
HOW TO BEGIN MARTIAL ARTS IN RECOVERY
Do some investigation – Even small towns usually have several martial arts programs. They’re popular everywhere.
Consider what you want from this activity – Are you looking for something more spiritual or physical in nature? This question will help you determine which subset of martial arts to choose. Most classes offer a free introduction lesson, which is a good way to assess what the course has to offer.
Call your local clinic to find out whether they offer martial arts, yoga, or other like-minded recovery-focused programs.