People who practice martial arts -judo, karate, taekwondo … – get improvements in their ability to focus and alertness, according to a study discovered that evaluated the ability to stay alert, orientation (change of attention ), and executive attention (choosing the appropriate response when the information provided is inconsistent), of a total of 48 adults, 21 of whom practiced this type of sports, while the remaining 27 had never trained with them.
The aim of the research that has been conducted by Bangor University and published in Frontiers of Psychology was to assess mental control participants because previous studies had found that the mindfulness and physical exercise could have benefits on attention, and martial arts can be considered a combination of both, that is, a physical activity that includes aspects of meditation and mindfulness.
People who had been practicing martial arts for more than 9 years showed stronger mental control and a greater ability to cope with unpredictable situations.
The volunteers reported on the type of martial art they practiced, how often they did it, and when they had started their training, and subsequently underwent a test in the laboratory in which they had to press a key, as quickly as possible, to indicate the direction of the arrow in the center of a total of five. If the arrows were looking to the left, they had to press the key corresponding to the letter c, and m if they were looking to the right.
Greater mind control in martial arts practitioners
The researchers found that alert scores were better in those who practiced martial arts and that, among these, those who had been training with these exercises for more than nine years had the best results. These experts have explained that higher scores on this test suggest stronger mind control and a greater ability to cope with unpredictable situations.
The experiment did not take into account the combat modality of the participants, despite the fact that some are more active and others more reflective. It is known that in most martial arts, a combat simulation is carried out, and athletes must concentrate on not being touched by their opponent and stay alert to avoid it and dodge blows, and this could be the reason why its practitioners got better scores. Therefore, the authors of the work affirm that it is one of the sports that most helps to significantly improve the health of the brain, as well as that of the body.