Whats Good for Mental Health?

Whats Good for Mental Health?

Is Martial Arts Good for Mental Health? The short answer is yes. Qi gong, Tai Chi, Karate, Japanese Ju Jitsu, can calm the mind just like Reiki.

The short answer is yes. For centuries, tai chi and qigong have played a tremendous role in supporting what we think of as physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. The amount of focus and mental agility required to commit to any of these arts is beyond our simple human thinking of ‘oh, is this good for me?’

Yoga has become a multi-decade trend in the West, and it’s pretty safe to say that it’s here to stay. I’ve been practicing yoga since I was a teenager in the ’70s. However, I’d like to point out some other great body-mind-spirit choices in the realm of martial arts hailing from the East.

Every try Qi gong?

It was during the Chinese Han Dynasty that Buddhism was imported to China from India, circa 67 AD. The Han emperor became a sincere Buddhist, and Buddhism soon spread and became very popular. Many Buddhist meditation practices, which had been prevalent in India for hundreds of years, were absorbed into the Chinese culture.

Qigong is proven to align, harmonize, and have healing effects on the body and mind. It rejuvenates and energizes the body, offers an overall feeling of wellness; it’s even believed to affect longevity. As it aligns our physical body to a state of optimum purpose and flow, leading to calm mental and emotional states.

Have You Checked Out Tai Chi?

The Chinese term tai chi appears to have begun around 3000 years ago during the Western Zhou period in the I Ching or Book of Changes, a philosophical text used for divination. It can be roughly translated as the cosmic flux of yin and yang, the feminine and masculine energies of the Universe, and plays with the notion of alignment of the two can be beneficial in every facet of existence. Thus, Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art and movement system that strives to align the person while practicing and bringing that alignment into their everyday lives. It does this by invoking movements that are balanced, each one having its mirror or counterbalance. 

Tai chi is strengthening and balancing. It is dynamic, and its emphasis on fluid motion brings calm and stability to the body and mind, like an active form of meditation. Some styles lean more towards the yang or masculine principle, emphasizing dynamism and explosive energy, while others are more yin and have a more gentle and soothing focus.       

WellnessWrx is pleased to feature providers that offer healing instruction in various East Asian styles of martial art. 

Karate & Japanese Ju Jitsu Anyone?

Bravo to all Canadians who have embraced yoga, tai chi, and qigong as part of their daily.

While I’m sharing about the martial arts that have a gentle, more fluid approach to well-being, here’s a tour of my life with martial arts and how it has exponentially helped my mental well-being.

My love is in the more dynamic martial arts. At age 31, when I committed to myself to live free of panic disorder, anxiety, and fear after years of it being part of my daily life. I loudly communicated with myself and the Universe that today is the day that I begin my quest to becoming feelgood Rose. At this point, everything opened up, and I started implementing homeopath, Reiki, nutritional transformation, and my first hardcore Karate Kempo (smelly) dojo in Richmond Hill.

When I enrolled, I also enrolled my husband in classes. Although the story of my history with karate and martial arts, to me, is fascinating, and possibly to you too, I’ll give you the coles notes version.

I was just maybe 100lbs, 5.3, never liked being hurt, knocked by accident, and grew up avoiding confrontation. 

I walked into the dojo and saw a room full of 15-17-year-old boys who were anywhere from 5′ 8″ to 6 huge…. One woman was just a tad older than me, weighing in at 160+ easy and only about an inch taller than me. She was a blue belt and had been studying karate for years.

I was terrified. The Sensai paired me up with the women, and we had to do blocks. I’m wearing my shiny new white belt and gently following the pattern of how to move my arms to block a punch. As a person who does not want to get hit, I caught on to blocks fast. In those days, you’d think her being a woman and me being a woman, she goes easy on me, as I was a rookie. Ya, she flung these dramatic punches at me, which made me one of the best blockers in class.

My first class’s takeaway was such a massive sense of accomplishment, leading to a moment of peace of mind!

Peace of mind, after spending 1-hour learning to avoid a punch? Yes, because the focus that came through gave me a mental break from thinking of the fear and anguish I felt 24/7.

Seven years later, with a brown belt and a focus assisted my Reiki, meditation, and overall well-being in all areas of my life.

Can martial arts be useful in mental health? Absolutely!

I continued to practice almost every day for 5-10 minutes. I have a 27-year-old free standing punching bag that I love, use, and keep safe to use as needed to practice.

Five years ago, I found a new dojo home here in Richmond Hill. Budokan, and the study of Ju Jitsu. It’s the oldest dojo in the area, the history dates back to Japan, and the O’Sensai who runs teaches and shares the art with us learned from the dojo and his father’s founder. He taught him everything and more to be a great mentor, teacher, and wise sage for his students to learn, train, and grow.

I’m the oldest woman at the club. Eight months ago, training changed. When Covid-19 hit, our life at the dojo changed. For those of us committed to our training with Sensai Doug, followed his lead on zoom.

Here’s my big takeaway from this share. I do Reiki on myself; I meditate daily, walk, and attend my virtual dojo class 2x a week.

By Tuesday evening, once the class bows in and we begin our practice blocks, punches, and kicks, my body, mind, and soul align.

I love the dynamic parts of martial arts. I respect and practice the gentle forms, as well. But when my Ju Jitsu class begins, I feel enlightened, enlivened, and focused. And it’s all good! At the end of each class, I take that focus and peace of mind and apply it to everything I do.

For the holidays, gift yourself with something for You. If you haven’t tried any martial arts or a physical activity that moves You, now’s the time!

Is Martial Arts good for mental health? Short answer, You bet!

Rose A. Weinberg, Founder, CEO  WellnessWrxProject BeamON, Founder of The feelgood Company. Rose is a Wellness Developer, Author, Speaker, Registered Homeopath, Holistic Nutritionist, Reiki Master~Educator, and a Fulfilled Wife~Mom~Bubi~DogMom~DogBubi she loves her family, home, martial arts and being playful.