Can Martial Arts Help Fight Addiction?

Addiction is a serious issue that we are learning more about every day. Breaking an addiction can be incredibly difficult, especially without the right kind of therapies and techniques. That being said, not all forms of therapies and techniques work for everyone. One of the best alternative forms of addiction therapies can be martial arts and we’ll break down why:


Group Therapy Isn’t for Everyone

A lot of addiction therapies revolve around group therapies but this isn’t for everyone. While these are incredibly effective and positive, some introverts or private people may not enjoy speaking in front of a group of people. For those people, a supplementary form of therapy such as martial arts can help quite a bit, especially one that escapes the discussion of the addiction source. Even in class with other, it creates a positive atmosphere where they can unwind and feel safe.


Learning Discipline

Self-discipline is key, in avoiding a relapse in the recovery of addictions. A lack of willpower can be the source of addictions and that is something that is taught as a central tenant in martial arts. To succeed in martial arts, one must develop a great deal of self-discipline. This new life skill will help them succeed in all aspects of life, including addiction recovery and the avoidance of a relapse. With that in mind, the philosophy behind martial arts can be one of their greatest assets.

Escaping Boredom

Boredom can make it a lot more difficult to stay disciplined during recovery. Staying busy and keeping your mind focused on other things will help you stay on track with recovery efforts. Joining a martial arts school can take up a lot of one’s free time; helping to alleviate the boredom that can be dangerous to former addicts. Many students who get invested in their martial arts training can spend a lot of time outside of their classes practicing and mastering their art. It trains both the body and mind to be vigilant, to focus and to always be learning.


Exercise and Physical Activity

Many clinical studies show the benefits of physical activity during addiction rehabilitation. The healing process of addiction recovery is both physical and mental, with exercise aiding both. Exercise can be the beginning of a healthy lifestyle, free from addiction. A strong body and mind will be a lot more resilient to relapse.



Mindfulness is emerging as an effective rehabilitation tool for addiction recovery, especially with cravings. Many traditional forms of martial arts emphasize meditation and mindfulness and nearly all of them focus on mental strength. Not only does mindfulness benefit addiction recovery, it also helps many different aspects of life. By concentrating on these martial arts values, people are able to make a better, stronger recovery that has long-term benefits.


Meeting Positive People

A martial arts school is a great place to meet new people and, for those whose past friends could hinder their recovery process, this can be a big deal. As you know, there are an incredible amount of benefits associated with regular martial arts training. Being surrounded by people who are all working on building their self-discipline, respect, integrity and perseverance can be a lifesaver for many former addicts. The positive impact of your classmates, along with good instructors, can help fight relapse as well as discouraging addiction before it starts.


Increasing Confidence and Self-Esteem

Admitting a weakness and going into a recovery phase of one’s life can really bring down confidence and self-esteem levels. Martial arts with their belt system can help give students a sense of purpose and accomplishment as they learn new skills and forms, while increasing their belt level at the same time. Confidence and self-esteem can greatly aid in reaffirming self-worth and integrity; greatly reducing the likelihood of addiction, as well as having a big positive impact on those fighting addiction.


Do you have any (anonymous) addiction recovery success stories from your martial arts experiences? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+ to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.