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5 Ways Martial Arts Can Change the World

If you think your contribution to martial arts does not matter, think again. You are keeping our world moving in the right direction.


Children who learn martial arts will be children who have leadership core values. When you practice martial art skills, even as a child, you face your weaknesses and your fears and overcome. This promotes a feeling of empowerment that carries forth into your life and the world around you.

Our world is full of strife. If we can use the tenets of martial arts, such as integrity, humility and indomitable spirit, plus focus, discipline, and determination in our martial art lives, we can bring about change in future generations of kids, who will grow up to be leaders.

We need to start today to promote martial arts as much as possible for children so they can establish good self-esteem, and begin to understand leadership at an early age into teen years and adulthood.  As adults, they will enter the work force as a positive force.

We need kids in martial arts for more than just carrying forth martial art traditions. We need them to become the self-sufficient, smart, and courageous leaders of our future.


Adult students embrace a new perspective and attitude about themselves when they learn martial arts. Like me, there may have been a day when they were shy, unable to defend, or not confident. After training, a new, braver person emerged.

I can attest to this myself. As a 26-year-old woman I began training and had to break the mold of everything I had ever learned – women do not yell, break, or kick. Once I allowed myself to realize that these societal expectations were not valid in some circumstances, I was able to shift my perspective and make invaluable changes in my life. Today, the shy woman of early years is gone. She is replaced with a confident and strong woman.

If adult martial artists make the shift in their own lives from perceived weaknesses to committed strengths, they will be able to defend, if necessary. More importantly, they will apply martial arts to life and use them as a guide for their words, actions, and behaviors. Responsibility in these areas will be developed and nurtured.


Self-esteem is boosted through martial arts. This is because you are asked to do things you are not certain that you can do! Yet, you look around class and see others doing it, so your expectations rise to what is set forth in the group. When you rise to higher expectations, you feel good about your accomplishments. As your self-esteem increases, you step forward into a brave, new you.

Why is self-esteem going to change the world? Because those who hate or are unhappy pull us down with their negative energy and actions. The fewer of us who fall into this wretched bucket, the better. You and I cannot change the crazy behaviors that happen around us, but we can take the first step and change ourselves for the better, and hope that our influences flourish in others who notice.


Martial artists all over the world create a synergy and group dynamic like no other. Not every martial artist out there is positive or has good intentions, but the majority do and we must use that to our benefit, if we want to change the world.

Your success is my success. This is my mantra and I hope you consider it. We do not need to compete against each other, but build each other up. What you know can help me, and vice versa. Martial artists are one vast group of people who come together in this way. They can share knowledge and ideas that make a definite impact in the world, from self-defense, to empowerment, to technique, to mindset, and more.

We can shape all of these attributes into a great big energy ball, and allow it to grow and grow in positive and hopeful directions, and roll right over the negative energies that need to be squashed.


Every martial artist finds success. It is different for each practitioner. While earning a black belt may define success for one student, another may feel successful upon learning a new technique. Every belt level, every pat on the back from your instructor, and every barrier that you break brings a layer of success.

Martial art success is great, but how does that equate to success in the world?

You should carry your martial art mindset with you wherever you go, in the workplace, at home, out shopping, traveling, or while learning. It is yours to keep, and you will need it. You can equate your martial art successes to life. Breaking a board is synonymous with overcoming an obstacle, learning a new technique is applied in real life to passing a test in school, or greeting new students gives you the courage to meet new people in real life!

You can see how these positive martial arts successes can be applied to the way you live your life. They are a guide by which you can achieve success in your daily life. They deplete negativity and keep it from rising to the surface. Tell me we do not need a little of that depletion in our world today!

While there are many more than just five ways that martial arts can change the world, these are definitely a step in the right direction, and why I am such a proponent of martial arts. I have seen how they changed my life for the better. I know they can change your life and those around you, as well. They create the very type of role models our world so desperately needs today, in you and me.

Take charge of your life, but more importantly, understand that your practice transcends time and place and continually contributes to the betterment of our world.



My new book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available. Purchase through my e-commerce store: or on Amazon:

This book shares the stories and insights of more than twenty-five women in the martial arts, and how they apply martial arts to their lives.

Unlike most other martial art books, the reader will catch a glimpse into the brave and empowered woman who dares to be all that she can be. Many of these women had to overcome great societal or personal challenges to break into the men’s world of martial arts. This book will motivate and inspire you to go after your goals in life and to fight through every challenge and defeat every obstacle. The Martial Arts Woman will open your eyes to the power of the human spirit and the martial art mindset that dwells in each of us!
Andrea F. Harkins is a writer, motivator, life coach, martial artist, and public speaker. Her book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available at

6 thoughts on “5 Ways Martial Arts Can Change the World

  1. Thank you for this post Andrea! I need to remember this: martial arts does not end when you leave a class. It is a constant; you never stop. I can use it wherever in my life. Thanks again!

  2. Osu and thank you! I needed this – I’m “seeing” my friends on Facebook at USA Karate Nationals today and feeling down because I can’t go (I placed well in the state qualifier but my husband hasn’t yet found a job). Thanks for reminding me there’s more to Karate than medals 🙂

    1. I’m sorry for the late response. It is difficult to not be where you want to be, but there is often a reason behind the reason…just keep pushing through and there will be time for more tournaments and you will excel and reach your goals. You can do it.

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