Transferable skills aren’t just for career advancement. They can also provide you with experience and practices you can apply to various new skills and hobbies, such as learning to play a second instrument or speak a second language. This also applies to martial arts and various other forms of combat. Here are six skills you can use when learning to fight.
If you know how to swing a wooden baseball bat correctly, you have a good base for using various types of weapons. You should know how to aim, how hard and fast to swing and how to adjust your footing when swinging a baseball bat. All of these skills can be redirected to blunt martial arts weapons such as bo staffs, batons, nightsticks and clubs. Keep in mind that each weapon will be different from both a baseball bat and from each other weapon, so you will need to learn new skills to wield a new weapon.
Kickboxing is a full-body workout you can do at home or at a class. It incorporates many moves you’d be likely to see in a fight, such as kicks, punches and elbow and knee strikes. You’ll never strike anyone in a kickboxing class, but practicing kickboxing strikes will be beneficial if you decide to start learning a martial art in the future because you’ll already have many of the basic moves memorized.
3. Mental Agility
Fighting is just as much about being smart as it is about being strong and quick. You can’t just go into a fight and keep hammering away at your opponent. You need to utilize strategy and anticipate your opponent’s strategy, to think critically and assess changes in the situation or environment. There are many skills you may already be proficient in that can improve or maintain your mental agility, such as brain teasers, sudoku and crossword puzzles.
Cardio is an essential skill in a fight. You need to have physical endurance if you’re going to last, whether you’re fighting in a controlled environment or in self-defense. If you don’t have adequate endurance, you won’t be able to keep up with the fast pace of a typical fight and you may put your health in danger. Luckily, cardio is a skill you can easily build up. There are many options, including running, jogging, burpees and swimming, among others.
Fights are fast, which means it’s essential you develop alertness. You need to be aware of your environment at all times and develop your intuition. By being alert, you’ll be more likely to notice when your opponent attempts to trick you or trip you up and thus be able to counter more effectively. You’ll also be more aware of your environment in general, which means you’ll be better able to use your environment to your advantage. Alertness can also help you avoid a fight in the first place.
Participating in a fight isn’t just about being strong or good at striking and blocking. You also need to be flexible so you can move more quickly and avoid hurting yourself or putting unnecessary strain on your body. One of the skills you can utilize to protect your body is yoga. Yoga strengthens and tones your muscles, improves your flexibility and centers and calms your mind. When you practice yoga, you focus on slow, gentle stretches on either specific body parts or your body as a whole. It can be a good warm-up or cooldown before or after a fight. Its calming and centering properties can also help you get into the right headspace before or after a fight.
Knowing how to do any of these things doesn’t mean you’ll automatically know how to safely fight or practice a martial art. All they do is give you something to work with and apply to combat or martial arts. You’ll still need to learn your new activity and build your skills.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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