Why All Writers Should be Martial Artists

by | 13 March 2018 | Writing | 20 comments

When you chose the writer’s life, you probably had peaceful images of sitting in the sun with a cup of tea and a laptop, writing about tales of knights and princesses. Nothing about karate tournaments, parkour, and punching bags.

However, if you’re writing any sort of action novel at all, knowledge of the martial arts is incredibly helpful for realistic and credible fight scenes.

I’ve self-trained in several different martial arts and there’s plenty of good reasons why you should too. So without further ado, I’m going to dive right in. One hundred and one really good reasons for why you should train in martial arts.

Actually there’s only six reasons here, but that’s beside the point.


Story research

Everything boils down to this, pretty much. 😉 All writers should be doctors and pilots and cooks and builders and scientists and all those other things too, because otherwise we can’t write them realistically.

If you can do martial arts yourself, you’ll be able to know how the human body works in situations like that, how a realistic fight could be lost or won, and the basic logistics of fighting that will strengthen any fight scene you write.


Combining research and being active

We writers spend far too much time at our computers and not enough time actually moving around. Martial arts are a wonderful way to combine story research and being active. You can convince your writer brain that this still can be counted under the writing category but it’s just a little more active than googling and searching youtube.

Honestly. You’re not glued to your desk chair. Up and at ’em, folks. 😛


Strong Wrists = Faster Writing

If you can punch a heavy bag for ten minutes, you can totally win that fifteen minute word war. Unless you’ve just finished working on the punching bag, in which case your hands will be like mush and you haven’t even got a chance.

So obviously a) make your wrists stronger by working out with punching bags, but b) don’t try write just after, and c) also don’t break your wrists because broken wrists = much slower writing, so d) maybe you shouldn’t actually do this after all.

This advice makes total sense. Don’t question me.


To protect yourself from the rabid fans

You never know when a fan might break into your house in an attempt to steal your laptop so they can read your stories.

Or maybe a whole herd of them might come charging at you with pitchforks and tomatoes because you’ve been torturing your characters again.

Either way, you need to be prepared, and martial arts are a good resource just in case. You can’t even argue with me against this one.


So the walls/doors/street signs don’t win

Picture this: you’re walking down the hallway, halfway through planning an epic battle scene when KABOOM—a wall up and smashes into your face.

You’re going to have to be able to protect yourself from these walls. Or street signs, depending on if you’re wandering through town (though I don’t recommend this one as much because if you get flattened by cars your stories will be forever abandoned and lonely and no one wants that. Look after yourself, friend).

Clearly, martial arts is the answer. If you train enough, those walls/doors/hard inanimate objects will be too intimidated to slam your face.

Apparently I need to do more martial arts training, because I still get attacked by walls quite frequently.


You never know when you might need to break down someone’s door

I mean, haha, no way. We’re just writers. That google search history was JUST STORY RESEARCH, OKAY?

We wouldn’t actually do anything like that. *nervous laugh* Not in real life, at least. Absolutely not.



Anyway. You should all be convinced to learn some martial arts now, so my job here is done. I take no responsibility for broken wrists or dinted street signs. I’m off to break down someone’s door—I MEAN, ‘DO SOME RESEARCH.’



Your turn! Do you practice a martial art? (or have you in the past?) How has it helped you with your stories and writing?

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Clare L Farrelly

    How am I to know if I am glued to my seat if I can’t get off it to check? But that was funny. And some martial arts is really cool, especially bo staff fighting.

    • Jane Maree

      Super glue. The bane of writers everywhere.
      Or something like that. XD

      Thanks. 😛 Learning a martial art/fighting style that fits with your story is definitely very committed story research. And I’m sure it’ll help a heap with your writing! (Plus, strong wrists = fast writing, so woot, go you. XD)

  2. Angela Watts

    LOL! This is gold. 😉 I’m a blue belt in Wado Ryu karate and AYYYEE… knowing martial arts and learning it… helps a LOT with writing! Fight scenes not only get easier to write but I’ve had people say I do them well and that’s because of the martial arts. 😛 Fight scenes are so fun… and being able to practice ’em in the dojo?! Epic. Haha.
    God bless!
    -Ang | thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

    • Jane Maree

      Hehe thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. XD

      Ahh, that’s the coolest. Actually being able to fight really does help write them realistically. Plus, having that opportunity to practice the scenes in real life…that’s just so cool. 😀

  3. Brie Donning


    But honestly, this is something I should look into. I’m not all that keen on martial arts in general because of the religious and spiritual aspects of most of them, but learning to fight is good for life and research.

    • Jane Maree

      Agh, yes I definitely recommend looking into some sort of martial art. You don’t have to take lessons or anything (I didn’t) but there’s plenty of youtube and general sites out there that can be very helpful for learning stuff like that. I’ve actually picked up a few books on the topic as well.

      If you look into general ‘self defense techniques’ it doesn’t normally have any of the religious or spiritual aspects.

  4. J.A.Penrose

    *dies of laughter*

    *attacks the dying and survives*

    Awesome post, and yessss, knowing your martial arts is important. *nodnod* I mean, it also means that when people interrupt you when you’re writing, they learn very quickly not to. xD
    And are you trying to create an army? Dominate the world with your martial art trained minions?
    Epic post Jane!

    • Jane Maree

      *bows* Thank you, thank you. 😛

      It absolutely is important, yes. Haha, that’s another good reason!

      *wiggles eyebrows mysteriously* Perhaps…

  5. Martha

    Haha this made me laugh Jane. 🙂 Thanks. Xx

    • Jane Maree

      Aw yay, I’m so glad. ^-^

  6. Catherine @ The Rebelling Muse

    Excellent post, Jane!

    As much of a self-defense nut that I am, I haven’t taken up martial arts yet. Someday…..


    • Jane Maree

      Thanks! 🙂

      You should, it’s actually quite fun really.

  7. Jenna

    epic post! I always have fans busting into my house. totally. 😉
    my brother did karate for four years, so he has been a great help for researching purposes. youtube is awesome as well 🙂

    • Jane Maree

      Oh yes, absolutely. XD

      Aw yess, that’s the best resource! Siblings can be great help. And youtube, too. 😉

  8. Audrey Caylin

    This is awesome XD

    But seriously, I wish I did do martial arts. Or self-defense. I do have plenty of experience with horses, which has helped, but beyond that, I don’t have any ‘useful’ skills 😛 😉

    • Jane Maree

      *bows deeply* XD

      I 10000% recommend looking up ‘FightTIPS’ on youtube. I watch Shane’s videos a lot and they’re very useful for learning self defense or practically any sort of martial arts. 😛

  9. Aposhipolepo

    Another wonderful post Jane!
    Quite a lot of good indisputable reasons for why authors need practical experience to help in their writing.
    Also for any writers reading this who does not want to learn martial arts, talk with someone who does, professional practitioners in the area relevant to your writing or other authors. You could even contact an author whose fight scenes you admire.
    Acting out a scene you are writing does sound useful though.

    • Jane Maree

      Thanks! 😀
      Ooh yes, that’s also very good advice. Draw upon the research of others.

  10. MiddleEarthMusician

    HOW DID I MISS THIS POST??? THIS IS AMAZING. Yes, I take Kung Fu, and it has really helped with me realizing how hard certain things are to do in real life, and that no, not all heroes can do them. XD

    • Jane Maree

      Aw thank you! I’m glad you think so. 😉

      Having that ability to try it out yourself is irreplaceable, honestly. So useful to be able to see “wait, is this actually realistic?”

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