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Martial art is a combination of many things: many people see it as a fitness activity, and this view isn’t entirely wrong. But what makes martial arts inherently different from other sports is its emphasis on mental well-being through enlightenment, discipline, focus, balance, relaxation–and much more. This list will cover the top five benefits to your mental health that you can get from martial arts.

1: Improved Mental Clarity

Martial Arts trains its participants to stay sharp and to be able to overcome any obstacles and challenges that come their way–and it’s not just about kicking and punching, despite what people think. Martial arts teaches mindfulness, which helps practitioners keep focus, stay relaxed, and remain calm in even the worst of situations. It also contributes to improved memory function.

2: Increased Focus & Concentration

Martial arts requires intense focus because it involves many complex moves. As you practice these techniques repeatedly, your mind becomes able to better focus on each movement individually, leading to better focus overall. And since martial arts teaches mindfulness, practitioners can also apply this mindfulness to other aspects of their lives–like work or school–to improve their performance there.

3: Boredom is Impossible

Many martial arts are extremely flashy, with an emphasis on aesthetics–this can be great for your mental health because it means that there are so many styling options to choose from. This will prevent you from getting bored in class. Plus, when you’re in the middle of a kick-ass kata or form, you’ll be able to forget about everything else and focus on your technique.

4: Increased Self-Esteem

Martial arts help increase self-esteem by teaching you how to defend yourself against physical and verbal attacks better. Martial artists are also known for having increased confidence, which helps them achieve more success in academics, work, or relationships.

5: Decreased Stress

Martial arts is a pressure-filled activity because it focuses on competition and winning–and this can be great for your mental health. When you feel like you’ve underperformed or made mistakes, martial arts will help teach you how to relax and focus instead of stressing out about the past. And physical activity is a great way to release tensions and stress from your body.