Why is Martial Arts so Popular?

Interest in a martial arts franchise is at an all high-time high, and Premier Martial Arts excels in meeting that demand

While people have been practicing martial arts for thousands of years, the ancient discipline has never been more popular than it is today. The last time Statista conducted a survey into how many people practiced martial arts, they discovered that almost 4 million people age 6 and older were practicing martial arts in 2016. With more than 20,000 martial arts studios operating across the nation and the rise of martial arts in the mainstream, there is reason to believe that those numbers would be even higher today.

Martial arts is front and center in popular culture — movies and other media. Every time Hollywood launches a new Batman, X-Men or Star Wars movie, audiences of all ages are witnessing martial arts en masse. The sport of UFC has become one of the most exciting sports of our time, with a growing audience of fans and millions of people paying to watch martial artists compete at the highest level. For young children, there are the heroes in Kung Fu Panda and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to emulate on the playground. We’re surrounded by martial arts everywhere, all the time.

“There’s no question that martial arts is more popular today than it has ever been,” says Myles Baker, Vice President of Premier Martial Arts franchise. “When you start seeing martial artists on Wheaties boxes, you know martial arts is extraordinarily popular. Everyone has a reason to practice martial arts nowadays: from fitness and self-defense in our adult program, to how our children’s program ties in a mental component for every punch and kick. Parents will always have a reason to send their kids to martial arts because we provide the fundamental discipline their children need to succeed in school and succeed in life.”

Why are millions of people of all ages practicing martial arts?

The widespread popularity of martial arts has turned the ancient discipline into a $4 billion industry. One of the reasons why martial arts is so popular is because its practice can benefit a person on multiple levels.

martial arts franchise infographic on reasons to join

In an article titled, “What are the Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids,” Livestrong reports that “Martial arts practitioners strive for harmony, but also learn effective and often devastating self-defense techniques. Children who get involved in martial arts reap many benefits in several areas of life. Most martial arts originated in Asia and include karate, kung fu, jiu-jitsu, aikido, tae kwon do, judo and Muay Thai.”

Adults have similar reasons for practicing martial arts, though adults typically desire a workout and knowledge of self-defense. At Premier Martial Arts, we find that many parents take up martial arts after they enroll their kids as students, not only because they see how much fun their children are having, but also because they want a healthier lifestyle and a renewed confidence in approaching the world.

“We saw a wave of adults beginning to enter the martial arts world after 9/11,” says Barry Van Over, CEO and Founder of Premier Martial Arts. “The world is a dangerous place, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. We had a self-defense class for women at my Knoxville location two weeks ago, and 60 women attended. The other big reason we have so many adults in our class is because martial arts is a great, full-body workout. It’s not isolated, like going to the gym and hitting a treadmill. You’re with a group of people who want you to succeed.”

And seeing their kids’ success motivates many adults: “A lot of our adults join after watching their children in class,” Van Over says. “They think, ‘It’s easier and it looks a like a lot more fun than I thought it would be,’ and it’s a great way to bond with their kids.”

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