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Martial arts can benefit your life in a number of ways. It can improve your heart health, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, burn fat, and build muscle. It can help you mentally, too, first and foremost by boosting self-esteem. And, of course, it equips you to protect yourself when needed.

But learning martial arts isn’t easy. Classes can be expensive; in many locations, it can be difficult to find a school that fits your needs, or one at all. For these reasons, people across the world are choosing to teach themselves.

Doing so isn’t easy, however. To become a successful martial artist from the comforts of your home, you first need to sit down and complete a few tasks.

  • You need to write down your goals. People practice martial arts for many reasons. Is your primary goal to learn self-defense? Are you simply looking to get in shape? Do you want to one day fight competitively? Ultimately, what you want to accomplish as a martial artist will shape the rest of your journey.
  • You need to figure out what style(s) work for you. There are many types of martial arts you can practice: Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Kickboxing, and Mixed martial arts. Once you’ve written your goals down, you should start researching what kind (or kinds) make the most sense. And when you’ve narrowed that list down, you should learn all you can about the areas you’ll focus on: origins, styles, physical requirements, etc.
  • You need to locate the right resources. There has never been a better time to teach yourself a useful skill. The internet is ripe with video tutorials, articles, testimonials, and other resources that can offer a lot of help along the way. Moreover, online shops can provide you with whatever you need—clothing, mats, boxing gloves and bags, nutritional supplements, and the like.

Once you’ve determined your goals, decided what martial arts style you want to learn, and found the resources you need, you’re ready to begin your training. Here are three ways you can practice martial arts by yourself.

Stick to a Training Regimen

When you’re training alone, it can be difficult to remain on course. There isn’t an instructor present to push you as you struggle. There aren’t other athletes around with whom to compete. The only person who can motivate you, and the only one who can hold you accountable, is yourself.

That’s why it’s important to build a comprehensive, well-organized training regimen.

Knowing exactly what you’ll need to accomplish when you begin each workout will make your practice more efficient. And once you complete a workout, recording what you accomplished and how you feel is a great way to monitor your physical and mental progress.

Every regimen will be different, but each should include a lot of stretching, cardiovascular activity, exercises that target your entire body, and sensible recovery time.

Practice Visualization

Just about every prosperous athlete in the world—regardless of sport—will tell you visualization is an important element to their success. Oftentimes, those who are able to picture themselves thriving and reaching their goals finish above those who don’t partake in this exercise and those who dwell on past mistakes and missed opportunities.

Additionally, those who are able to visualize what their opponents might do give themselves a crucial advantage. This is especially important when learning martial arts alone because, well, you don’t have an actual opponent to square off against.

When working on your form, try to see your opponent and picture yourself taking on a skilled martial artist. Shadow boxing is a tremendous way to do that. This is especially important when you don’t have a partner to face off against.

 Invest in Quality Equipment

 When you are training by yourself, that’s no excuse for not investing in quality martial arts gear, like heavy bags and grappling dummies. The right gear will help you to train safely and effectively. In addition to the martial arts equipment, you’ll want to make sure you have apparel that is specific to your martial arts discipline. Muay Thai, for example, necessitates shorts that allow for full maneuverability in the legs, as this is a kick-heavy discipline. MMA practitioners may want to wear rash guards to avoid injury when sparring.

Every form of martial arts requires athletes to learn complex mechanics, strategies, and routines. Whether you’re a beginner or someone who’s been fighting for many years, you’re going to have questions at some point. Just because you’re training alone doesn’t mean you can’t find the right answers.

In addition to tutorials, articles, and testimonials, the internet is full of websites and message boards for martial artists. If you take the time to become part of those communities, you’ll benefit from the wealth of knowledge those users can provide. And, down the road, you’ll be able to return the favor.

Guest Author Bio:

Carl Turner is a personal trainer and freelance lifestyle writer from Los Angeles, California. With over 10 years of experience, he has trained many clients and has helped them to reach their personal fitness goals. During his free time, he enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading.