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It Takes a Village: Why Training with Others Make Sense

Martial artists are more fascinating than a college kid with a credit card. Many will agree that the journey of a martial artist is more about conquering ourselves than someone else. In short, training martial arts helps us to be a better person then we were yesterday.

This journey will require inward reflection, meditation and self-discovery. It is a journey that we must take on our own, and at the same time, having help is essential. Sure, solo-training is necessary (even essential) but living like a hermit in a cave may slow down your progress. In this article we outline three reasons not to fly “solo” for too long. Listen up Han.

Reason One- Body Manipulation: If you are looking to improve in your martial arts (be it self-defense or competition skills), training with others is a must. In many arts, you will need resistant or “live” training in the form of drilling and sparring. In the martial arts, learning to move your own body is a good start and eventually (with the right training partner), you will need to learn how to move someone else’s torso and limbs. If you want to sharpen your skills and take your training to the next level, another person is a must.

Reason Two- Cheering Chums: Ever had a hard time dragging yourself to a workout? Maybe the solution for you will be to buddy up. Having a friend to hold you accountable may be all that is needed to get you training regularly. Alone, it is easy to skip your martial arts class. You will improve your odds of showing up to a workout when you have a friend (or friends) waiting for you. A person can go far with the encouragement and accountability from others.

Reason Three- The Fountain of Youth: Unless, you just emerged from an ancient temple in the Wu Dang Mountains, you no doubt have read the research- a large contributor to health and longevity is socializing. Yep, getting out there and hanging out with your buds can add years to life (and depending on your circle of friends), life to them years. And as far as I know (and yes, I am shamelessly biased), martial artists make some real cool friends. The friends you make in the martial arts school will challenge both mind and body, and help you live longer.

There you go. Three reasons to train with others or in a group setting: one, it will help improve your martial arts no matter if you strike, lock or grapple. Two, your odds of showing up to training is increased and three, you may live longer (not a bad deal at all). Human beings are social creatures and martial arts can reinforce that socializing we deeply crave. Did we miss an advantage about partner training? Please let us know in the comments.

About the author: Dr. Conrad Bui is the co-founder of Tiga Tactics, a combatives and self-defense consulting company. As a life-long martial artist, his credentials are as follows: 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and American Freestyle Karate, full instructor in Jeet Kune Do, sigung in Ba Gua Zhang, maha guru in Pentjak Silat Serak, sigung in Kuntao Silat de Thouars, guro in Kali, coach in Muay Thai and black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has competed in point sparring, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He was also a bouncer in college and is currently a certified pistol instructor with the NRA.

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