There is a reason why Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura Schlesinger, Jillian Michaels (Biggest Loser), Tony Robbins, pediatricians, child physiologists, and educators the world over all have alluded to the fact that Martial Arts is one of the most valuable things you can involve your child in.
It goes way beyond self defense and can help a child in nearly every aspect of their life. Improved health and fitness, athletic enhancement, increased confidence, better concentration, better behavior, more courteous and respectful; martial arts can help in all these areas.
Does this sound too good to be true? It’s not. As a matter of fact, many experts agree that in this day and age of escalating childhood obesity, increased playground violence and deteriorating family structure, if you do nothing else for your child, you should make sure that they learn how to swim and they learn martial arts. Let’s discuss why.
Self defense- ” Practice the fight so that you don’t have to” is a phrase that is often used to describe the self defense benefits of martial arts training. It refers to the fact that as a child becomes more confident in their ability to defend themselves thru martial arts training. The need to defend themselves automatically decreases because they unconsciously begin to carry themselves in a more confident manner and that confidence is projected to those around them, making them less vulnerable to predatory behavior. On top of that, martial arts’ training includes strategic self defense as well as actual self defense. Children are taught how to recognize a potentially dangerous situation and how to avoid confrontations.
Athletic enhancement – There is a reason why so many professional sports teams in virtually every major sport supplements their training with martial arts. Martial arts training offers several advantages. First off, it is amazingly effective in enhancing general coordination because it uses every part of the body in a balanced way. Upper body, lower body, right side, left side, forward movement, lateral movement, rotational movement, it’s all included in martial arts training.
Fitness – The three pieces of the fitness puzzle are strength, flexibility, and endurance. Martial arts training demands a balance between the three. Therefore, a child who trains in martial arts will find their deficiencies greatly enhanced. Also, because of the balance in participating in other athletic endeavors.
Health – Martial arts training is a proven link to better health for people of all ages, but especially children for several reasons. First off, it is great exercise. But because it is fun, kids don’t mind doing it. Discussing diet and lifestyle habits with students is a part of martial arts training, so children who grow up training develop healthy habits that will stick with them for life.
Concentration – Very few activities engage the mind, body, and spirit more than martial arts. Because of this, a child’s ability to concentrate is greatly enhanced by their martial arts training and this concentration tends to be easily transferable to other activities.
Respect and Courtesy – Due to the fact that martial arts teaches techniques that could be harmful to others if applied, martial arts instructors are obliged to stress the importance of respect, courtesy, and restraint. It has been proven time and again that children who are skilled in martial arts tend to be extremely respectful, considerate, and composed.
Confidence – Martial arts virtually always lends to increased confidence in children for a couple of specific reasons. First off, there are no bench sitters, every child participates and is judged not against others but more importantly, against their own potential. Secondly, the structure of martial arts is built on the concept of setting children up for success by giving them a series of realistic, short term goals that they can attain quickly while keeping them focused on an exciting, long term goal. Each time they experience success, their confidence improves until they tend to believe that with hard work and dedication, they can accomplish just about anything.
– Dace Kovar