7 Reasons Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Arts
“The Martial Arts are ultimately about self-knowledge. The purpose of a punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front of you, but to knock the hell out of your own ego, your own fears and your own hang-ups.” – Bruce Lee
Whether your kid is too bossy, too shy, or perhaps just a little hyper, the Martial Arts can help your child learn many important life lessons. (And, of course, those same lessons apply for all of people, not just kids.) Studies have shown repeatedly, that Traditional Martial Arts can provide a healthy dose of self esteem and self respect – just two of the many benefits one gains with participation in traditional Martial Arts.
Reason #1: They (And You) Will Get More Active
This is the obvious reason kids should do Martial Arts in this day and age – to get active and moving. In case you haven’t noticed, we have an epidemic when it comes to our nation’s obesity problem. We’re also increasingly unfit in addition to being overweight. The problem is particularly alarming as it relates to our kids. Youth sports and physical education programmes are great, but not every kid is an athlete and many schools no longer offer PE. The Martial Arts offer many benefits, but when it comes to fitness, becoming a true Martial Artist means becoming a supremely fit person. Practicing Martial Arts on a regular basis, can get you into the best shape of your life! Martial Arts can certainly help your child get fit and healthy.
Reason #2: They’ll Learn to Find Focus and Stillness
Of the many challenges that parents face today, one is that we are constantly plugged in. While there are a great many benefits to the Internet, there are many more benefits in stillness and silence. Unfortunately stillness and silence seem to be rare to find. At some juncture in life, every one of us comes to learn that the greatest obstacle we face in this lifetime is ourselves. That battle is fought in the stillness of our hearts and the willingness to confront ourselves.
As Bruce Lee pointed out, behind the punches, kicks and hard work, a true Martial Artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. In years of Martial Arts classes, there are many challenges, breakthroughs and setbacks. Not gimmicks like you often see at your local health club or gym. At our Martial Arts School there is no loud music or flat screen TVs, just hard work and sweat equity. As a Martial Artist, your child will learn what it is to be still, challenged and focused.
Reason #3: They’ll Learn to Take Hits
In the Martial Arts, your child will learn what it is to take a hit, whether that hit is a literal blow or an emotional disappointment like failing a test…..
Part of life is learning that we all take hits. The key is in learning how best to take that hit and get back up. Unfortunately, this lesson seems to be lost on many in our “every-kid-gets-a-trophy” culture. In the Martial Arts, your kid will learn to fail – a lot. Half of Martial Arts is hitting, but half is also getting hit. That acceptance leads us to be able to better respond, manoeuvre and anticipate. Ironically, learning how to take a hit is perhaps the best way for your kid to learn how to avoid it.
Reason #4: They’ll Gain Self Confidence and Self Respect
Confidence is one of the first major achievements gained by participating in Traditional Martial Arts. Being able to advance in rank and then get to join in with the “bigger kids” gives Students a tremendous amount of confidence.
Of course, working with the bigger kids also gives all of us a little reminder of humility – someone is always bigger and stronger. The right Martial Arts School will teach your child that there are no tough guys. Every Martial Artist ultimately learns this sense of respect and true confidence. Your child will learn that confidence and respect for others comes from a deep sense of self-knowledge.
Reason #5: They’ll Connect Their Mind and Body
What they don’t teach you at your local health club or gym is how to really listen to your body. To listen to your body is to also see your thoughts and have heightened awareness of your emotional construct.
A Martial Artist is taught to see, feel, and listen – both internally and externally. Tapping into intuition, fear and courage are examples of being able to put the physical together with the mental. How often have we heard the phrase “being paralysed with fear”? Being able to combat such a thing is what you learn in the Martial Arts.
Reason #6: They’ll Learn Conflict Resolution
One of the first lessons we learn is that words are never grounds for a fight. That advice right there has saved many children from many fights. In the Martial Arts, you learn that there is no such thing as “fighting” words. Instead, we learn to “act rather than react.”
Reason #7: They’ll Learn to Breathe
Of the many things we learn in Martial Arts, breathing is near the top. Indeed, nothing is more essential to the success of how we move our body than tapping into the life force of our essence – our breath. Ask any professional athlete or an actor, dancer or singer and they will tell you that to succeed in any physical craft is to access your breath correctly.
We are often surprised when working with adults who have never learned to breathe properly when under physical exertion. This skill can literally save your life. In Martial Arts your child will learn the essence of how to breathe and even relax under pressure.
The Bottom Line – How to Proceed
The bottom line is that almost any child can and will benefit from participation in the Traditional Martial Arts. For a typical child, the point is to just get them moving and focused. The key in choosing an Instructor or School is to down to whether you value the importance of the character education inherent in the Traditional Martial Arts or the ego gratification of trophy seeking and fight culture of tournament participation. However, as a starting place, we would recommend that you choose a programme and the services of those best trained and able to provide what is in the best interests of your child.