Each form of martial arts training has its unique style and techniques, but the benefits are common to all. Parents often enroll their children in martial arts programs for a variety of reasons that are individual to them. They could be looking at not just learning the specific martial art per se, but also at other associated benefits that come through the discipline of practicing the art. While martial arts can be learnt by anyone with an average level of fitness at any age, it is obvious that the earlier you start, the better it will be. Children have more flexible bodies and their minds are still at a highly impressionable stage, so if you want to start them off on a lifelong journey of self-discovery and discipline, starting early would be the right thing to do. So if you are considering enrolling your child in a martial arts program but want to be sure it will be worth all the time and effort your child (and you!) put in, then read on.
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When you think of martial arts, the first words that may come to mind might be karate, kung Fu, tai chi and judo. These are the martial arts styles that are popular in the world today, though there are many more slowly spreading in popularity, like Kalaripayattu (Indian in origin), Capoeira (Brazilian in origin), Jujitsu and Aikido (Japanese in origin), Poekoelan (Indonesian in origin) and Taekwondo (Korean in origin).
There are different types of martial arts originating in different countries. Mostly, these are from Japan, China, India, Korea, Philippines, as well as some from Europe. There are martial arts forms that use only hand combat as well as those that use weapons. Each form incorporates a general style. For example, grappling is the style that is used in Judo and Jujutsu. Striking is the style used in Karate, Taekwondo, and Capoeira. Weapons used in related martial arts forms range from archery, knife fighting, stick fighting, swordsmanship, shooting, etc. In the martial forms that use only unarmed techniques, these could range from punches, kicks, headbutt, takedowns, joint locks, throws, chokeholds, etc.
While the actual practice of any martial arts program would involve hours of rigorous physical training, it is well known that these benefits in physical fitness also extend inward to include mental and spiritual rewards too. Here are 8 different ways that martial arts can be good for children. This encompasses both the physical and mental benefits for children of all ages. Here are some benefits of martial arts classes for kids at Boca Raton karate & kickboxing Academy
- Fitness: Today’s generation of children are prone to spending lots of time in front of screens, whether it is a television screen or the computer or a tablet or a phone. Rising levels of obesity are becoming not just a problem battled by families but by entire countries. What better way to counteract this than to enroll a child in a martial arts program that is sure to sweat any lethargy out of the child in a fun and challenging way? Balance and posture as well as proper breathing are an added bonus. This control over the body, mind, and breath that martial arts offers has even been used to help children battling cancer deal with the pain of chemotherapy treatments.
- Concentration and self-control: Studies have shown that neural networks in the brain are strengthened when the body and mind is engaged in a complex activity like martial arts. When the body and mind have to coordinate and work together, it leads to increased focus. Attention spans go from shorter to longer periods. Many professionals working with children with ADD or ADHD (attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) have found that martial arts can significantly help these children develop more control over their impulses as well as their body and mind. This is true for all children.
- Self-esteem: Martial arts help children walk the fine line between self-respect and respect for others. While progressing through the higher levels of the discipline will naturally lead to greater self confidence in children, it also teaches them to respect their teachers and others in the class. There is always someone bigger or better than them in the dojo or class and this helps them balance humility with confidence.
- Leadership skills: Taking on a leadership role can only come when you already have a deep belief in yourself. The self-esteem that a child develops from martial arts training is based on a true knowledge of himself and his abilities. This leads to a natural blossoming of his leadership abilities.
- Self-discipline: In today’s world of instant gratification, a martial arts class can show the child how good things take time to come to fruition. The child learns how it takes hours and hours of rigorous practice to come to a certain level of proficiency. This develops patience and perseverance, the willingness to keep going in the face of setbacks or disappointments. The willpower that is formed in the child as a result of this will stand him in good stead throughout his life.
- Self defence: This might be the very cornerstone of any martial arts program, but it is also something that children are taught to use with utmost respect and only when absolutely necessary. They are empowered to stand up for themselves and even for others wherever they are, in the playground at school today or in the busy streets of a city tomorrow.
- Conflict resolution: It may not be that well known but it is a fact that most martial arts programs teach children the art of nonviolent conflict resolution. They avoid the use of force unless absolutely unavoidable. They learn to use their body and mind to respond appropriately to threats and challenges and not just react.
Working with peers and adults: Children learn to work harmoniously with the other children as well as with their teachers. Respecting others is an integral part of martial arts discipline. This important life lesson will always come in handy for the child.