The martial arts are a time-honored discipline that is practiced all over the world. Most cultures have a form or variation that they have adapted to their own needs. Each style has its own set of advantages, but there is one thing they all have in common: they are great for kids. If you have a child who needs the social interaction, physical activity, or just something to pass the time, sign him or her up for a martial arts class. Here are the benefits:
One of the central themes in martial arts is focus and discipline. Much of martial arts is based on learning forms and techniques where the child is only competing with themselves to become better. In today’s day of instant gratification, learning self-restraint and working toward a bigger goal is important.
2. Socialization Skills
If your child struggles making friends on the playground, he might find it easier to relate to people who share a common interest. When a group of people are working toward a common goal together, they bond more strongly than if they were just hanging out. Find a martial art that encourages group routines and partner-drive forms (like Jiu-Jitsu).
3. Physical Activity
It’s no secret that kids these days have a lot of excuses to sit on the couch and watch TV or play games. You can limit screen time, but that won’t make them run around and get a workout. Enrolling your child in an active pastime will get them moving in a fun way.
There is a certain confidence that comes with being good at something. Even at times or places in their life when they don’t need their martial arts skills, kids gain self-esteem and feel more confident. They feel like they are a part of something; they feel respected. They don’t fear challenges or social interactions.
5. Teamwork Skills
Teamwork is an essential part of being an adult. Work and relationships require you to work with other people to achieve common goals. Sometimes you don’t get to be the hero. Sometimes you have to accept others’ (and your own) flaws for the good of the team. Martial arts encourage kids to work together like any other sport would (baseball, football, etc.).
6. Nonviolent Conflict Resolution
Many people believe that martial arts teaches violence and how to hurt people. That’s not true at all. Any martial arts instructor will tell you that violence and anger are not part of the program. Real martial arts is not like the movies. Students are taught peaceful, nonviolent resolution skills and how to avoid confrontation or attackers. They stress defense.
7. Achieving Goals
Martial arts training is designed in tier systems that give students something to look forward to. Each tier is represented by a colored or styled belt. Students have to train for a certain amount of time or pass certain tests (all depending on the school and discipline he or she is studying). This is a valuable lesson in setting short- and long-term goals and how to fulfill them.
Written by Kim Webb, CEO and Founder of Rockin’ Green Soap
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