How Martial Arts Can Be Helpful in Criminology

two martial artists training

As a criminologist or criminology student, you must have seen or heard a lot about martial arts, with people even advising you to take up martial art classes to become more effective at your job. Here is how martial arts can be helpful in criminology.

Martial arts can be helpful in criminology by helping criminologists develop people skills, integrity and ethics, and a competitive edge when making a career transition to a related field.

Martial arts also present an advantage of self-defense but since most criminologists are often not directly involved with criminals, self-defense skill is not a skill necessary to succeed as a criminologist.

However, since most criminologists and criminology students often make transitions to related fields like law enforcement (i.e. police) which deals directly with criminals and crime suspects, the knowledge of martial art and self-defense, therefore, becomes necessary for survival in such field.

Let’s now explain in detail the effectiveness or usefulness of martial arts in criminology.  But first, let’s understand what criminology is and the necessary skills required to succeed in the field.

Table of Contents

What Is Criminology?

Maryville University defines criminology as the study of crime and criminal behavior, informed by principles of sociology and other non-legal fields, including psychology, statistics, economics, and anthropology.

In other words, criminology is simply the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior.

As a sub-discipline of sociology, it focuses on studying the non-legal areas of crime and criminal behavior. 

Often, criminological research merges psychological understandings of crime (i.e., the “criminal mind”) with sociological understandings of crime (i.e., the socioeconomic conditions which produce the opportunities for the commission of crimes). 

As a result, criminology students often minor in psychology. 

Criminology Skills

Now, according to Indeed, some of the necessary skills required of a criminologist include;

  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to details
  • Knowledge of technology
  • Ability to conduct research
  • Communication skills
  • Integrity and ethics
  • Ability to observe
  • Organization
  • Collaboration
  • Legal knowledge

With the knowledge of the above, let’s now see how martial art can contribute to the above skills requirements.

How Martial Arts Can Be Helpful in Criminology

Martial arts can be helpful in criminology by helping criminologists develop integrity and ethics, people skills, and a competitive edge when making a career transition to a related field.

From the above skills outlined by Indeed, you might have already noticed that the most popular benefit of studying martial art which is ‘self-defense’ was not included in the list.

This is simply because criminologists are not actively or directly involved with criminals, unlike law enforcement agencies.

However, there is more to martial arts than just the common benefit of self-defense.

Martial art offers several skills which are directly relevant to the field of criminology.

For example, martial art teaches “integrity and ethics”, “people skills”, and the “ability to pay attention” which are all skills necessary to succeed in the field.

Here is how martial arts can become useful in criminology.

Integrity and Ethics

Martial art teaches its students to be honest and has strong moral principles as they continue to learn and master the art.

It also teaches them to have a high standard of socially conscious behavior which embodies the spirit of the art.

Martial art is the home of integrity and ethics, as its students are generally confidential and principled.

Criminologists, due to the nature of their work are also required to exercise a good level of integrity and ethics.

The reason for this is not farfetched since is not uncommon to see criminologists working with sensitive information.

So this skill set is required for them successfully function in this role.

No one wants a criminologist who carelessly discloses sensitive information to a third-party criminal or enemy of a state.

People Skills

Criminologists are often required to develop people skills such as empathy, patience to listen, offering guidance, or collaboration.

And as you might already know, you cannot succeed in martial art if you are unwilling to patiently listen to your instructor and seniors’ advice and instructions.

Also, even though martial art is an individual art, success cannot be achieved if you fail to collaborate and rub your minds with your teammates.

Your team advises you, spars with you during training, and cheers you on during competitions.

Clearly, this is another way martial art can help criminologists.

Ability to Pay Attention

Since criminologists often analyze and interpret a large number of data surrounding things like criminal profiles or crime statistics, there is a need for them to develop the ability to pay attention to the tiniest of details.

This attention skill also helps them observe different human actions or behaviors to better understand the criminal motivation.

So, does martial art teach its student how to pay attention to details? Absolutely yes!

A study has already shown that martial arts can improve your attention span and alertness long term.

You can’t effectively learn martial art without forming the habit of paying good attention to details; otherwise, you might find yourself throwing the right kick or punch the wrong way.

Gives an Edge During Career Transition

Since most criminologists often transition into other fields that require direct everyday engagement with criminals and crime suspects, martial art, therefore, becomes an invaluable skill to possess.

For example, criminologists often go on to become law enforcement agents such as police officers who regularly work directly with criminals and crime suspects.

It is for this reason that martial art is considered even more valuable to criminologists as their knowledge of technical skills such as self-defense would be necessary for survival in this field.


You can already see how useful martial art knowledge can be to criminologists during their criminology career and even when they decide to make a career transition.

And while you can surely succeed in the field of criminology without learning a martial art, learning it would sure give you an edge over your colleagues in the field.

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