Karate. Some people think of it purely in its physical terms. Yet traditionally, it’s more than that. It’s also an art, one focused on self-development, on achieving harmony and unity, being as much meditation as it is martial art.

Neither way is really wrong. Karate was originally formed in times that were vastly different from today in so many ways. You can approach karate in whatever terms you like, all subject to your interpretation. Remember, though: the more you invest yourself into karate, the more you’ll get out of it.

The question of course becomes, what can you get out of karate? The obvious first answer is all physical. Karate is a martial art, and regular practice is pretty good exercise. Muscle training, breathing, even weight loss, all of that’s covered under karate.

But there’s more than just the physical to consider. Hand in hand with physical improvement is mental development. And it’s not just adults that can benefit; children can, too.

Kids have unique problems of their own, and sometimes not enough tools to deal with them. In the right environment, karate can provide them those tools. A child who trains in karate quickly learns how to face his fears in an environment that’s supportive, and how to deal with them. As she learns more and builds up her confidence, the child also builds up her self-esteem.

Obviously, all of this applies to adults as well. Moreover, a good sense of self-esteem helps contribute to humility, along with the environment and etiquette of the dojo. Humble people can work with constructive criticism, and therefore more easily grow as people.

Karate can benefit the martial artist in so many ways. What benefits has it brought to your life?