For those of you who are unfamiliar with “Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs”, it is basically a blueprint for happiness, laid out in levels, with each lower level needing to be satisfied before we focus on the next level up. Here’s what the pyramid looks like and below is why martial arts is the perfect way to fulfill it:
You can see the bottom level is our most basic requirements in order to survive; food, air, water and so on. But from the next level up you can already see how studying a martial art can help fulfill it. Personal security is probably the most obvious one and we really don’t need to go into any further detail on this. But Health is probably the biggest factor in this level as without it you are unlikely to be able to achieve much else. Martial arts by nature will drastically improve your fitness levels, while also releasing a ton of endorphins that will keep your mental state in tip-top condition.
Moving up the Pyramid the effects of Martial arts look less obvious to anyone not a part of this community. Friendship and a sense of connection are a huge part of the martial arts journey. The level of camaraderie and the support system available is unrivaled and is as close to a family as you will find outside your biological one. We all know how tough some days can be and the struggle of pushing yourself beyond your limits when your body is screaming ‘No!’, or how being in the dojo is a form of therapy for a lot of people to deal with problems in the outside world. These communities are a safe place for people to fail without judgment and to celebrate each other’s successes.
Probably the most obvious benefits are in the next level up; Esteem. Those who truly embody what Martial arts stand for will have developed respect for both the art and for the people around them. This respect runs both ways, and when you feel like you are respected by your peers, it does wonders for your self-esteem. In terms of Strength, very few activities help you develop it both mentally and physically to such a high degree, and since Martial arts is a philosophy as well as a self-defense tool, a lot of focus goes towards the psychological aspect, where mental strength plays a key role.
As for self-actualization and the desire to become the most that one can be, isn’t that the whole point we joined or first class all those years ago, and isn’t it the reason we’ve stuck with it, especially when times were hard? If this post is coming across as a bit of a love letter to martial arts, that’s because, in a way, it is.
We recently started a series focusing on inspiring people within the community who turned their lives around once they became involved with Martial Arts, so if you are in any doubt about how this can turn you into a more balanced and happy person, just ask our friend Justin: