Martial arts is said to be an engaging and fun way for children to let off some steam. There are plenty of classes to choose from. Whether it is aikido, karate, judo, tae kwon do, or many others, there is a class out there for any of your child’s needs. But there is so much more to these classes than simple fighting and kicking. There are invaluable lessons that children can learn in order to make them better people in their life outside of practice. If you are curious about these benefits, check out the following reasons to sign your child up for a class as soon as possible:
Fitness is an important part of any young child’s lifestyle. It helps keep growing children strong and healthy during a crucial part of their development. Regular exercise is also important for maintaining emotional balance, offering both an outlet for stress and anger. This is especially important for young children, who often have too much energy to stay indoors all day.
Martial arts classes come with all sorts of exercise and strength building routines. Jumping jacks and stretching is one of the most common warm ups during a class. Push-ups and constant movement often compliment this, in order to keep muscles flexible and tone. This also ensures that children will not get hurt as their fighting techniques get more advanced.
Learning to Defending Yourself
We all know the importance of being able to stand up to an attacker. Children are no different. Being that small can make you feel vulnerable, but having knowledge of a fighting style helps build confidence in children that can help them defend themselves. Most of us have been in a situation where we wish our knowledge of fighting could have helped us out of it. With enough training, children do not have to be scared of people just because they are physically bigger than them.
Make no mistake, however, children are not encouraged or taught as a way to start random fights. Every child is taught the importance of avoiding conflict and problem solving without resorting to violence. What makes these techniques so powerful is that the more advanced a child’s knowledge of them, the less likely they are to needlessly start a fight.
The Art of Self Discipline
In the end, fitness is really only a small part of the craft. The most important part of any martial art is the discipline with which a child approaches it. This is something that is enforced from their very first day on the mat. No child can progress without the proper control over themselves and their emotions.
The key to this art is mental focus. You must be able to concentrate on a singular task for however long it takes to complete. This is an important life skill for children to learn and can be frustrating at first. However, with time, many children are able to take what they learn and translate it into their everyday interactions.
A Deeply Engrained Respect
Quite possibly the biggest lesson that a child can learn through frequent practice is respect. While there is a fair amount of fighting, it is second to the lesson of respect that all those who enter a dojo must learn. When greeted with a master or someone senior to you, people are taught to bow to him or her. This also applies to instructors. It is only normal to show a level of deference to those who are teaching you.
We could all stand to learn from the lessons taught within these dojos. Children are made to treat each other just as they would want to be treated. Respect is repeated continuously, with students often repeating the mantras taught to them by their elders, both on and off the mat. Anyone who cannot show respect is asked to leave the dojo.
Confidence is Key
Any of us can remember how fragile our confidence was when we were a child. Being a child is an important part of your life where you build the most associations about yourself. As such, it’s important to have a sphere of people and activities that build you up. The benefits of these classes are that children are really encouraged to come out of their shell.
The emphasis is not on how you look or what anyone else is doing. Instead, you are taught to focus on your practice and improve incrementally, in your own time. A ranking system of belts helps children feel they are steadily improving in a way that they can see over time. This instills a rewards system for their hard work as well as gives them goals that they can get through time and diligence. Graduating to a new belt can be a huge experience for a child. The pride they feel stays with them for a long time after the fact.
Taking What Life Throws At You
So much of us try and shield children from the hard parts of life. Unfortunately, that is not a viable way to help children grow. Practicing on the mat and getting use to fighting can help children brace for many of the realities of life. Knowing how to take a hit, especially a hard one, and still get back up is a lesson that not many people learn even as adults.
Being able to rebound once you have fallen is the best thing a child can learn to do. It is a lesson they can carry to many areas of their lives. Whether it is getting grades in school, getting hurt by those around you, or losing at something you thought you would win, life will test children in many ways. Having the stillness and focus to sift through the emotions that accompany failure and grow will make them into hardworking and diligent adults who are ready to take on the world.
Marital arts can be a great way to positively use energy and keep kids entertained. The lessons they learn from classes can do so much more than keep them fit, however. A disciplined practice can teach children things they carry with them well beyond their childhood.