The history of martial arts dates back millennia and the true roots of the sport are still hard to piece together. Despite its antiquity, it has remained a popular sport of mock combat - not only in Jet Li, Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan films - but as a club and competitive sport. Finding a martial arts scholarship may be a bit more challenging than landing a basketball or football scholarship, but certainly isn't as difficult as earning a black belt. Of course, the higher your skill level, the more scholarship money you may earn. Local martial arts schools understand the lack of funding for the sport on the college level, and often hand out annual awards to their college-bound students. While these awards often require a minimum GPA, the competition for local scholarships will be much less fierce than that of college-based scholarships for more high profile sports.
While martial arts scholarships are rare, majoring in it is even more so. Nonetheless, the University of Bridgeport is the first American institution of higher education to offer a B.A. in martial arts studies. It teaches the historical background and philosophical roots of the martial arts, the languages, and cultures of the societies in which the martial arts originated and developed, an in-depth study of at least one of the martial arts, and explores the psychosocial dimensions of the martial arts and their impact on personality and society. If you not only love to participate in the sport but also want to study the art of "mind over body," check out the university's website for detailed information.
If you're serious about continuing your martial arts career in college and finding ways to participate in competitions while you're there, consider colleges that either have a history in the sport or that have relationships with nearby martial arts schools. Many schools also have martial arts clubs for different disciplines like judo or karate, or intramural teams that have an established connection to nearby schools and gyms. Once you've narrowed down your college choices, start contacting martial arts schools near your intended college to determine whether they have a scholarship program for students attending that nearby school.
Check out some examples of where to find martial arts scholarships below. For additional information about awards based on different criteria, conduct a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.
If you plan on pursuing martial arts in college, your intended college could have funds and endowments set up by alumni who have participated in the sport before you ever set foot on that campus or in honor of relatives and important figures to your school. Make sure you do your research, and talk to your financial aid office and athletic departments about local and college-based awards you could be eligible for.
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