Marge Sambol, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, explores the benefits of martial arts for women in this 10-part series.

Great conversation starter!

When you train in martial arts, you’ll always have a great anecdote for that awkward social moment at your office Christmas party.

One of the biggest surprises of learning martial arts has been how interesting the general public finds the entire process. Whenever I’m called upon to name an “interesting fact about myself” I mention my black belt to “oohs” and “aahhs.” A lot of people have thought about training in martial arts, but something has been holding them back. Strangers will want to ask you questions, which can lead to some fascinating conversations. Also, it’s fun to have people look at you with a new aura of respect (and maybe even a bit of intimidation.)