Martial arts is a practice that can heavily influence our mental and physical health. Not only does it teach a number of developmental and social skills, but it is also a great form of exercise for both children and adults. However, although martial arts is relatively safe, as with any sport or physical practice there is a slight chance of injury, especially when physical contact between opponents is involved. To help prevent injury as much as possible, we’ve put together a list of tips for you to safely practice martial arts.

1. Have the Right Equipment

First off, if you are going to practice a martial art properly, you need to have the right equipment. Each practice, whether it be karate, jiu jitsu, or taekwondo, has its own specific equipment that should only be used for that specific practice. Using one piece of equipment for something other than its designated purpose could lead to accidental injury.

There is a wide variety of protective gear out there, which cover body parts such as the head, hands, chest, groin, shins and feet. What you will need depends on the practice you pursue and what your school recommends. However, when you go to purchase your equipment, take a look at the safety standards or testing that the brand follows and any reviews they may have. That way you can be sure that the safety gear you have will protect you.

2. Focus on Technique

The second factor in limiting your risk of injury is making sure that you use proper technique when practicing. Learning the right amount of force to use and understanding your body’s movement’s is a key part of martial arts, but when certain movements are done improperly sprains, strains and other various injuries can occur.

3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Finally, be aware of the environment you are practicing or competing in. Take note of where your opponent is (if you have one) and where your audience or other classmates are standing. It can be easy to forget about everyone around you and just focus on your own movements, but if you plow headfirst into someone else you will definitely become aware of them then!

Additionally, before practicing or starting a match, make sure that the mats are safe to be on. Keep an eye out for any possible gaps or wet or worn floors that may cause you to slip and fall.