This article originally appeared on Evolve MMA.
Many people understand the obvious connection the martial arts has to physical fitness and overall health. Quite a few people even know that the martial arts can make you psychologically stronger and healthier. What is much less known about, and much less understood, is the connection between the martial arts and people highly successful in the entertainment and business fields. A surprisingly large amount of CEOs and celebrities are high-level martial artists, and there are numerous theories as to the reason.
We are going to list some of the better known martial artist celebrities and CEO’s and then explore some theories as to why the martial arts and success seem to be so correlated.
A Small Sampling of Successful Martial Artists
We could spend all day listing off every famous or wealthy person who practiced some sort of combat sport. Instead, we are just going to touch on a few in order to demonstrate the reality of the title of this post.
Ed O’Neil – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Idris Elba – Muay Thai
Jason Statham – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Chris Pratt – Wrestling
Ashton Kutcher – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Joris Merks-Benjaminsen (Head of Research- marketing of Chrome, Android, Google+ and YouTube) – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu European Champion
Dan Schulman (PayPal CEO) – Krav Maga
Adena Friedman (Nasdaq CEO) – Taekwondo
How the Martial Arts Lead to Success
The fact that the martial arts helps build confidence and self-reliance in practitioners is no secret at this point. It has been well documented. In turn, the fact that self-reliance and self-confidence helps one in the business or entertainment world has also been well documented.
“For every entrepreneur, a healthy self-esteem, leading to self-confidence, is critical to your success, since every startup is entering uncharted territory, and must take risks to seize a new opportunity. “
– Martin Zwilling, Forbes.com
With this direct link between what skill sets the martial arts provides and how these skill sets help you in the professional world, one could say case closed. But self-confidence may not be the only reason the martial arts helps these people to succeed.
Many other researchers have pointed to the reduced stress constant exercise provides, the improvement in concentration many martial artists have, and the increase in endurance and energy levels as all relevant factors as well.
The truth is that the martial arts provide a bevy of benefits that all boost different aspects of your life and a significant portion of these elements cross over into the business and entertainment worlds. Not to sound too dramatic, but it can more easily be summarized as: “The martial arts make you a more effective person, both mentally, and physically, and more effective people achieve more.” It may be that type of well-rounded person that the martial arts help you become, are the type of people best suited to the myriad of challenges high-level business entails.
It is for this reason that you tend to see a strong correlation between the type of people who endeavor to master something like the martial arts and those who have large amounts of success. You must learn to push, to strive, to persevere, and to keep a level head all the way through.
Using the Martial Arts as a Career Boosting Aide
So what do you do with this information? Well if you are currently working a 9-5 job and feel like something is missing, that you lack the inspiration needed to move up in life, then the martial arts may be exactly what you are looking for. Challenging your body and brain in new and fun ways, as well as boosting your energy levels, may give your career the jump start it has been looking for.
The same goes for students who have a hard time relieving stress or finding balance with a big test coming up. A quick 60-minute martial arts class can help you wash away weeks of packed on stress.
Actors, singers, and all sorts of performers will find that the extra confidence, agility, and physicality that comes with being a martial artist will help them improve every aspect of their craft.
Even professional athletes from other sports regularly practice the martial arts for an effective cross-training exercise – shocking the body into developing new muscle growth.
“I just know I am one of few founders that has gotten in better, not worse, shape while starting a company.”
-Pablo Fuentes, Co-Founder of Proven.com, BJJ Blue Belt
Where to Start
When it comes to the martial arts, age and skill level are no excuse not to start. Certain arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are regularly practiced by people well into their 60’s or even older! World-class instructors specialize in building you up and gradually developing your skills. They can help you find an art suited to what you are looking to improve, what you enjoy, and what limitations you may have. There has never been a better time to start martial arts.
This really may just be the jump start your body, career or mentality may be needing to climb to the next level of success. You won’t know exactly just how the martial arts may improve your life until you give it a shot.