Martial Arts in Sports


I didn’t quite realise what an impact martial arts training had on other sports, until I played soccer with my taekwondo instructor.

My team-mates and I play soccer regularly, and as far as we were concerned, we were great!

Now we all knew that our master was fast, powerful and had great reflexes, but how good was he really? Maybe it was time for him to prove his stuff against a great team.

‘Make sure he plays on the other team… let’s see him up against real soccer players’ we chuckled, as we prepared for our indoor soccer match.

But pretty soon the game wasn’t a laughing matter at all.

It was embarrassing!

We were stunned by the way he weaved, passed and tackled us, and his countless shots on goals. Then there were the goals themselves. He kicked the ball with so such power, my defenders and goalkeeper kept jumping out of the way in fear that they’d be struck by the ball.

Not content showcasing his own skills; he also set up his team-mates, so that they could score as well.

Trudging off at the end of the game, we looked at each other, baffled. We had played indoor soccer with first grade professional soccer players in the past, but it was nothing like this.

‘Grease’ is not the word, ‘humiliation is the word.

When someone truly delivers and leaves you in awe, all you can do is accept your lumps with good grace. I couldn’t get upset; he was too good and let’s face it, ‘everybody loves a show-off’!

The display set me wondering how many professional soccer players also practise martial arts, either at training or on their own time. Did they do it for fitness or fun? Did martial arts training have an effect on their on-field performance? More questions than answers.

One thing I wanted to learn more about was whether there was link between martial arts and other sports. It seemed to me there was no reasons why a person couldn’t compete in more than one sport – not at the same time of course, but on different days or times.

Playing soccer has definitely delivered many personal benefits to me, not only in terms of health and enjoyment but also mentally and spiritually. The old adage about ‘a healthy mind and a healthy body’ certainly applies and practising a martial arts discipline has helped in other areas of my life…

This is a good topic for another time, but my master regularly discusses the many benefits he has directly experienced through actively practising taekwondo for many years, including:

  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Speed
  • Fitness
  • Confidence

In closing, if you know a manager at a world class soccer team my advice to you is scout my master and recruit him into your team.

Just imagine eleven martial artists on a soccer field at the same time!

martial arts