Martial arts are a fitness regime that combines mental and physical concentration to get results. Today’s kids are spending less and less time outdoors and plenty of time indoors with their attention fixated on PlayStation consoles, television, mobile gadgets and video games. Martial arts can provide an opportunity for your kids to engage in physical activities that can be beneficial to their health and wellbeing.
You might be surprised to find that your kid might be already interested in combat sports. If they object or aren’t sure about taking up a class, take them with you to the local studio and request the instructor to allow you to observe a session. Watching a training session in Karate, Judo, Kung fu and even Taekwondo could end up stimulating interest in your child to enroll.
If your child is not a fan of team sports, taking on a class is a good option. This is a great opportunity to get him or her out of the couch to get some physical exercises and also to meet new friends. There is a whole range of martial sports that can help a kid develop their fitness, agility, concentration, and discipline. Here are six reasons martial arts make a good fit for your kids.
1 They make kids active
This is probably the best reason why kids should take up these sports. Child obesity is at an all-time high, and the main culprit is inactivity. Extracurricular activities are no longer stressed in our schools and the time allocated for physical exercises, and sports activities has been cut.
2. They are safe
When parents are faced with making choices about activities they allow their kids in; safety comes first. In these sports, kids are taught different techniques under the close supervision of a qualified instructor. Your kid will be guided on the safe way to make a move without posing a risk to themselves or other people. Activities such as weightlifting pose a higher risk of injury due to the equipment used and the nature of the physical activities.
3. They learn to get up after getting knocked
In sports like boxing, a pugilist learns to persevere after getting his nose bloodied. But in martial sports, the trainee learns how to get up after getting knocked down by his adversary. Trainees are taught that not all sparring ends with a win. Therefore, they must learn how to take a beating with pride and conceal this feeling of anger and resentment. If your child is exposed to humiliation early, they will learn how to handle failures and disappointments in their life. From doing poorly in the swimming pool to getting tackled in a football match, they will gain the skills to get up when things go wrong.
4. Setting goals
There is no pretending that physical exercises aren’t exacting. Apart from learning to absorb pain, your kid will also learn that setting goals and achieving them doesn’t come easy. They have to work for success. The greatest achievements in martial sports are measured by earning a belt. A belt can only be received after months of hard and strenuous training. They will learn that dedication and hard work makes the achievement even more outstanding. This will help him or her to learn to apply dedication in other spheres of life whether in class or employment.
5. Fitness earns respect
In martial sports, one element that encompasses all disciplines taught is respect. At the beginning of a training session, your child will be taught to bow to his or her instructor. At the end of the session, they will bow again. This is a sign of respect. They will also be asked to respect trainees with high caliber belts than their own. If friction arises during training, your kid will be taught how to calmly take control of the situation without resorting to aggressive and coercive behavior or physical fights. These skill of conflict resolution will come in handy when your kid gets upset with his peers, family or friends. It will also form a strong foundation of their expected duty to respect classmates, peers, instructors, parents, and colleagues at their future employment station.
Once they learn how to respect, it will be easy for them to learn important skills such as teamwork that are crucial to life. So apart from being active and making new friends, martial sports can bring growth to your kid in all areas of their life. Children learn to handle the challenges of life. They become confident, mature and learn to accept the ups and downs of life.
6. Self-defense and self-discipline
The ability for your kid to defend themselves or their family against an adversary is an empowering feeling. The core discipline at the center of martial sports training is self-defense. And the different methods applied vary from discipline to discipline but you can be certain that with constant practice your kid will learn to defend themselves and those close to them. When it comes to self-discipline, martial sports can help kids better control their emotions, thoughts, and responses. Studies have shown that taking on a martial sports class can improve behavior and can make kids more attentive and sociable.
There are many disciplines to choose from, and it is difficult to say what is better than the other. All of them focus on discipline and developing inner strength. Kicking and punching are the two key elements of instruction and are unique to karate, and Taekwondo. Kung Fu is perhaps the oldest discipline and confines itself on strong blocks to prevent getting stuck. Others like Aikido focus on tricking your opponent and using their strength and moment to prevent them from hurting you. Some disciplines apply wrestling while others focus on kicks. Interestingly, some disciplines confine themselves to using traditional weapons such as nunchaku, one of the most popular weapons used by Bruce Lee. This is a combination of two hardened sticks fastened with a metallic chain.