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Attributes of a martial artist

Attributes of a martial artist

A list of some of the most important attributes any serious martial arts should train to acquire.

What attributes does a martial artist need? I take a look at some of the most important attributes I believe a martial artist should train for.

Physical attributes


The ability to change the body's position efficiently at any given time or moment is extremely important when defending as well as attacking.

Endurance & Stamina

A martial artist must be able to grind for a long time. 'Gassing' out after a minute or two will cause every other ability to decline.

Anaerobic fitness

There are short periods in a fight where are martial artist must perform at a high explosive pace. For example; when a boxer dazes his opponent, he must then take advantage of the situation and finish his opponent off with high intense power shots. This is where anaerobic fitness is important.


Speed is an extremely important attribute. If you are fast enough to evade a punch, you will open your opponent up for a hit. If you are fast to hit, you will be able to hit your opponent without them evading. If your footwork is fast, you will be able to cover distance quickly and expose your opponent.

Strength & Power

Hitting and kicking hard are the best ways to stop a fight. Causing bruises and cuts on someone's face is only going to aggravate them more. Strength and power ensures your strikes are knock out blows! Strength also comes in to play with wrestling or fighting in the clinch. If you have a strong physique it will give you an advantage to control anyone in any position.

Balance & Core strength

Balance and core strength is important in just about every action performed. Balance and core strength will aid your structure and keep your base stable. It will prevent you from over committing strikes and prevent you from becoming exposed.


A high sense of your opponents bodyweight and/or limb movement is vital in ground fighting and stand up. Having the ability to feel when there is an opening or when your opponent is applying pressure will help you find openings instinctively.


Reacting to intercept. Reacting to block. Reacting to an open line to strike. Reaction is an extremely important part of fighting.

Mental attributes


A timed hit. A timed slip. An interception. Hitting on your opponents retraction- these are all key examples to timing. Being able to dictate and control your fighter will give you the edge.


A good understanding of rhythm will allow you to do two things. Firstly, it will help you create openings to hit your opponent using for example progressive indirect attack. Secondly, being able to understand and read your opponents rhythm will allow you to see openings and times when you should hit - breaking their rhythm.


Keeping focused isn't as easy as it sounds. With adrenaline pumping through your body it's easy to lose focus. Being mentally strong can be the difference between winning and losing.


Learning a martial art is one thing. Understanding it is another. Making it work for you is the most challenging part. Never stop learning, experimenting and practicing.

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