What is the Best Martial Art for Relaxation?


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Those of us who know martial arts know that some of them can be brutal and hard-hitting. But some martial arts focus not only on physical strength and technique but also on mental health. So what is the best martial art for relaxation?

The best martial art for relaxation is Tai Chi which is a form of Kung Fu. Tai Chi is a martial art that emphasizes slow and controlled movements done solo without a partner. It contains elements similar to yoga but is more like a moving form of meditation.

Tai Chi Chuan, as it’s called, is regarded as the best martial art for relaxation and excellent for people who are a little bit older like me! That’s because it’s really easy on the body and great for the mind.

There are, however, other martial arts that are great for relaxation if you want something more physical and/or that engage with a partner.

So let’s review them all.

What is the most peaceful martial art?

The most peaceful martial art is Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a solo practice that does not require sparring with a partner. Most forms of Tai Chi are done slowly as well, making it a great art for any age, including seniors.

In Tai Chi training, you usually don’t have to do any high-impact or dynamic training at all, so you won’t get worn out from hitting pads and the heavy bag.

The main objective of Tai Chi is mindfulness and relaxation. I attended a Tai Chi trial class a few years ago, and the teacher put a heavy focus on breathing. There was no running, push-ups, squats, or sparring. Just breathing, and slow, controlled movements.

“Chi” means “the vital life force” in Chinese and refers to the mind and spirit. In Tai Chi, the focus is not on training your body in punching, kicking, grappling, and strength and conditioning.

Instead, you are training your mind to be able to live in the moment and developing the ability to “switch off” from the hustle and bustle of life.

Another martial art that is somewhat peaceful is Aikido.

Aikido is a martial art that is from Japan. Aikido is based on self-defense rather than mindfulness. It is still relaxing though, as, in training, you learn how to use your opponent’s energy against them, as opposed to using overwhelming force to defeat someone, as you would in boxing or BJJ.

If you want to learn more about Aikido and whether it is better than Tai Chi, check out this recent article on my site.

I would say that Aikido is a step up in intensity from Tai Chi and is about training your body how to move, as opposed to training your mind to relax.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Which martial art uses meditation?

Meditation is an integral part of training in most forms of Kung Fu, including Tai Chi. But it also factors into Aikido and is practiced to a small degree in Karate and Taekwondo too. Meditation is used in these martial arts to teach you how to breathe in combat.

The breathing techniques learned in martial arts meditation can be used to help you de-stress and relax. The other reason why mediation is used in martial arts is to help improve focus.

When you are in a fight, you have to make sure that you are 100% focused on the job. Otherwise, you could lose in a split second. This goes with many things in life.

By practicing meditation in martial arts, you become more focused and present in your training, work, business, and family life.

Do martial arts make you calmer?

Training martial arts will make you calmer, as you will have an outlet for your energy and stress, and you will also practice deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness (source). Some people benefit from high-intensity martial arts, and others relax when training in low-intensity martial arts.

There are two ways in which martial arts may relax you:

  1. You train so hard that you have no more energy left for stress – When I was younger, I trained in martial arts at a high intensity, and it was an outlet for all my stress and aggression. Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ, Wrestling, and MMA are great martial arts to train if you want this.
  2. You train at a relaxed pace and enjoy it so much you forget about everything else – Now that I’m a bit older, I find the meditation and breathing aspect of martial arts relaxing, as opposed to the high you get after hard training. If you want a slow-paced martial art, try Tai Chi or Aikido.

All in all, most people will find something about martial arts that makes them calmer. Martial arts are not a one size fits all though.

A young, restless teenager will only become more restless from a super slow Tai Chi class. And a boomer like myself would get demoralized and frustrated in a Muay Thai fighters class. Just try and find what works best for you.

But can martial arts like Karate help with anxiety?

I strongly recommend you check out my recent article. I take a look at anxiety and how the right martial art can help with that. But I also look at how some martial arts could actually make it worse.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Does Muay Thai have meditation?

Muay Thai classes do not include meditation. This is because Muay Thai is a sport based around practical self-defense and fighting. Therefore, most of the training is high intensity. There is some focus on breathing and mindfulness, but it is not integral to Muay Thai training.

Meditation does not mean you have to sit still, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing.

Meditation in itself is the act of using mindfulness, breathing, or focused thought to relax the mind. Many people find Muay Thai relaxing, as all they are thinking about in the gym is the opponent in front of them.

You are not thinking about work, family, or your other private issues in a Muay Thai class. You might not meditate in Muay Thai, but it sure helps you forget about things for a while and escape the stresses of life.

If you want to meditate outside of training yourself, then you’re more than welcome to. Many MMA fighters that train Muay Thai vouch for meditation outside of training, including Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, and Diego Sanchez.

Is Tai Chi a martial art?

Tai Chi is a martial art and is one of the many Chinese martial arts under the umbrella term Kung Fu. It helps you learn self-control, discipline, and respect and improves your mobility and fitness. Tai Chi is practiced for self-development and is not a martial art designed to be used in combat sports.

There is a slight difference between martial arts and combat sports, which causes some to argue that Tai Chi is not a martial art.

  • Combat sport – these are martial arts that are trained in order to be used in competition. Combat sports are characterized by high-intensity, realistic training and a heavy emphasis on competition training. Some examples include MMA, Boxing, BJJ, and Muay Thai.
  • Martial art – these are practiced to learn self-defense, for personal enrichment, and the love of learning. It is not necessary for a martial art to be deadly. Some examples of martial arts include Tai Chi, Aikido, and BJJ.

All combat sports are martial arts, but not all martial arts are combat sports. If you train in any martial art, I recommend training some Tai Chi on your own. That’s because Tai Chi helps improve your focus and coordination, which is essential for martial arts progress.

If you want to learn how to train Tai Chi on your own, check out this recent article on my site.

I get into exactly how to do it, and I list the very best free resources to follow along with to make practicing a breeze!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

10 minute Tai Chi Before Bed - Easy Tai Chi to Relax the Body & Mind

Conclusion

To sum up, all martial arts can help you relax.

Some people relax after a hard training session, after expending all their energy. Others find it more relaxing to train in a low-intensity martial art so that they can focus on their breathing and mindfulness during training.

Tai Chi is the best things to train if you want to relax, as it is a peaceful, low-intensity martial art and uses meditation techniques to help you relax.

Muay Thai is a popular martial art, and despite it being so dynamic, many fighters choose to meditate outside of training. Almost all martial artists can benefit from some meditation outside of training to help improve their focus.


Image by MichaelRaab from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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