martial arts

Martial Arts for Active Recovery

Giving up addiction is challenging when people suddenly have lots of free time. One productive way to solve the issue of too much free time is to learn martial arts. Good for mind and body, the martial arts encourage mental cultivation and aid in a healthy recovery.

Choosing a Martial Art

Many martial arts exist to choose from, some of which benefit from extremely rich traditions and take a lifetime to master. Every culture develops a style of combat with the most popular being the following:


  • Tae Kwon Do – a Korean combat system most known for its flashy high kicks. The name translates as ‘to strike and break with feet and fist.’ Can be learned as a full combat system or a sport.
  • Karate – originated on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Around 50 million people practice the art around the world.
  • Kung-fu – believed to be one of the most ancient of all combat systems. Influenced Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Bruce Lee practiced Wing Chun Kung Fu and is credited with bringing Asian martial arts into popularity in the West.
  • Tai Chi – most known as a slow moving meditative exercise. It is also known as an effective combat system. Many wonderful health benefits are available to those who practice and it takes a lifetime to master.
  • Aikido – a Japanese martial art developed in the 20’s. The aim was to create something that would work for people of any size as a spiritual path to allow people to cultivate the mind.
  • Muay Thai – a fighting art, the combat system originated in Thailand. A Muay Thai practitioner can use almost every part of the body to inflict damage on an opponent.

General Benefits

People who practice martial arts get to enjoy a number of benefits both mental and physical. Some of the benefits may include:

  • Physical fitness
  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Discipline
  • Defensive training for emergency situations
  • Relaxation and mental development
  • Improved coordination and balance
  • Increased confidence
  • Humility
  • Spiritual enlightenment

Myriad benefits exist in recovery for those who practice martial arts. It provides a great path of self-discipline by showing up, sacrificing and doing something with focused intention day after day. People who become addicted to a substance generally suffer from low self-esteem. People who are devoted to the arts will gain mastery over body and mind which can greatly increase confidence.

Getting Started

Beginning a practice may feel challenging with all the information out there and styles to choose from. Try different schools, styles and teachers prior to selecting one that feels right. Consider the benefits being sought, whether spiritual or physical in nature, and decide from there where to go. Speak with a treating physician and therapeutic support team to find out what fitness regime is best for a personal situation. The willingness to commit to a regular practice will help develop an individual’s sense of identity in recovery and bring many benefits for years to come.



The Villa believes in the power of people’s resilience to overcome addiction when finding healthy outlets. The martial arts is a great place to get started. If you need additional support for the journey, call us. Let us help guide you towards a better pathway.