In a culture that can glorify violence in everything from music to video games and television, you may question the idea of enrolling your child in martial arts training classes. Whilst martial arts-centred action films seem to be filled to the brim with violence, you may be surprised to hear that martial arts training is actually very beneficial to children. Like many other things that Hollywood doesn't always get right, martial arts isn't the brutal, vicious pastime that it seems. Here are a number of the reasons why you may want to consider martial arts training for your kids.
At the center of all the martial arts is a focus on self-discipline. Today's kids are so accustomed to receiving instant gratification that lessons in self-restraint and discipline aren't always easy to come by. Kids with a martial arts background, are continually reminded of how essential self-discipline is.
Boosting Socialization Skills
Kids who don't always thrive in highly social unstructured environments may find it easier to get to know people and make new friends when they're in a room of peers who share a common interest. The kids on the playground may not always have much in common, but devotees to the martial arts are able to get to know one another through training. Partner work can also foster friendship as kids to pair off and build their skills together.
Encouraging Physical Activity
Limiting screen time is a great idea when it comes to getting kids off the couch and encouraging them to be more active, but it only goes so far. Enrolling an inactive child in such a physically demanding pastime not only discourages the sedentary lifestyle they're used to, but also provides an enjoyable activity that inspires them to keep moving.
Learning to Set and Achieve Goals
Most forms of martial arts are based around an accomplishment system of coloured belts that display the wearer's degree of skill. When your child strives toward each new belt, they're learning valuable lessons about setting and reaching goals.
Confidence comes with achievement, so your child's self-esteem level will get a boost with every new move they master and every belt they earn. Kids who struggle with a low sense of self-worth usually become more confident as time progresses while they're enrolled in a martial arts class.
Instilling a Sense of Respect
Learning any martial arts style will require your child to show their instructor respect. Today's kid culture doesn't always include respect for authority, adults or those in advanced positions. When they go to their karate class though, your child will be learning lessons in respect along with new moves.
Encouraging Non-Violent Conflict Resolution
Thinking that martial arts instruction promotes violent behaviour is justified if your only experience with the activity comes from television or video games. In fact, many defensive styles teach kids peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution skills and emphasize the importance of avoiding a physical altercation. The act of practicing to fight in the dojo teaches a reality that isn't shown in the movies. It teaches that it's harder than it looks and that the hero isn't likely to walk away bruise free.
Improving Listening Skills
In order to master the skills they're being taught and progress through the belt ranks, your child will have to exercise superior listening skills. Kids who aren't always adept when it comes to paying attention to what they're told can benefit from the verbal instruction and one-on-one work in their dojo.
Developing Teamwork Skills
Whether they're grading for a new belt or sparring in a practice session, there are few things that your child does in their martial arts classes that will be done on their own. Working together to learn new things and accomplish goals is an important life lesson for children to learn, and instruction in the martial arts can help your child learn that lesson.
Improvement in Other Areas of Life
The benefits of martial arts training don't end in the dojo. The boost in confidence, increased fitness level and new cooperation skills will also help your child navigate the academic and social aspects of school, affect their behaviour at home and have an all-around good influence on them as they develop into an adult.