Your Health—Rock Solid Martial Arts

September 1, 2019 | by ashlynn reynolds-dyk

We're talking about health this month and if you haven't checked out Rock Solid Martial Arts, you must. Owner Jonathan Waterfall offers classes for children and adults with students currently ranging from 7 years old and up. Program offerings include a variety of martial arts classes as well as boxing, kickboxing, and self-defense. 

No matter the course you choose, you will be pushed beyond your comfort level. You will learn about the core five values, which include courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. As students acquire these values, their mental well-being is enhanced while their physical health also progresses.

The values and physicality taught in Waterfall's martial arts studio are beneficial for the mind, body, and soul. Discipline is learned in large part through lessons on self-defense, where students learn to control themselves physically and emotionally. These lessons affect choices about what to put into your body, knowing it feeds your mind, too. Similarly, Waterfall explains that lessons on focus carry over into other areas of life, such as school. Social skills and respect are additional areas where youth may benefit from martial arts.

The number of clinical studies that investigate the relationship between martial arts and mental or physical benefits are plentiful and growing. Numerous studies find martial arts can help counteract symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. People who participate in martial arts are less likely to be overweight or obese. Martial arts has also been found to help children who struggle with the symptoms of ADHD and autism. A recent study in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that participation in martial arts can improve well-being, including resilience and self-efficacy for those who are experiencing bullying. Waterfall emphasizes the improvement in overall quality of life for those who participate in martial arts.

Billings' Rock Solid Martial Arts is especially unique in that it offers Rock Steady Boxing; a non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum for people battling Parkinson's disease (a degenerative movement disorder causing deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech, and sensory function). This program became a part of Rock Solid Martial Arts' offerings when Karen (a local woman with Parkinson's) approached Waterfall looking for a gym to offer it. Waterfall says it must have been fate because just a week or so before Karen approached him, he read about Rock Steady in a monthly publication he receives. His gym was already named Rock Solid. Waterfall agreed to look further into the program, and before too long, he was in Indianapolis with 30 other people from across the country earning a certification as a Rock Steady coach. 

Currently, Waterfall offers sit down and standing classes within the Rock Steady program. Just like his other classes, students learn about perseverance and indomitable spirit. These students will find the support of a community where everyone is experiencing the vast array of symptoms of Parkinson's. The Rock Steady program forces students to use their gross and fine motor skills over and over. Studies show this kind of training can help slow the progression of the disease and improve the overall quality of life.

Waterfall smiled as he talked about one of his students who has mastered the break fall. He explained this student knows how to fall properly, rather than falling and breaking something or getting hurt (common in Parkinson's with the loss of balance and other motor skills). All in all, Waterfall has an understanding of what his students are looking to gain from their boxing training — getting down on the floor to play with their grandkids, going fishing, battling the mental side effects like depression, etc.

In our interview, it was clear that Waterfall's studio is no ordinary martial arts studio. This likely has more to do with him than the studio itself. Waterfall's passion for martial arts and his students—regardless of age or ability— is more than apparent. He has a willingness to learn and grow with his students and explains that one of his favorite things about teaching/coaching is witnessing this growth. Waterfall takes a great deal of time to carefully craft the curriculum and understand the needs of each of his students. In an initial meeting with Waterfall, potential students will meet with him one-on-one so he can get to know the student and assess which class will best fit the individual. The overall benefits for one's quality of life are well worth a visit to Rock Solid Martial Arts.

Originally printed in the September 2019 issue of Simply Family Magazine

Never miss an issue, check out SFM's digital editions here!