The human brain has evolved over many millennia to keep us out of trouble. The scatterbrain nature of our thoughts is a way of keeping us on our tip-toes for preserving our well-being in any situation that may arise. However, it is very difficult to grow as a person and achieve any goals in life when we are constantly jumping from thought to thought, never focusing on any area in particular. Our brain is constantly trying to find the path of least discomfort for us. This can be a very limiting way to live. It can also allow others to impose their will on us.
Self-Discipline is a Means to Achievement and Confidence
In their inexperience, children confuse your attempts to temper their excited energy as a form of overbearing control. They don’t understand what you are trying to provide them with the tools to master themselves and safely navigate their life journey. This can easily lead to a clash of authority versus rebel which is detrimental to both you and your child.
A young individual that can gain control over their emotions, reactions, and thoughts can achieve more in their academics, athletics, hobbies and social life. However, self-discipline is not something that can be overtly imposed. It must be a quality that your child internalizes through hard work. Nothing can help cement this calm and confident mindset unless they embrace it, and nothing can help your child achieve this quite like becoming a young martial artist.
How is Discipline Achieved?
Discipline is defined as the method of training someone to obey a code of behavior by using punishment to correct disobedience. While this may sound harsh, think of anything you have had to learn and achieve in life. Making a mistake or neglecting to put in the required effort left you with a negative consequence. Not performing a task correctly in your professional life has consequences. Acting solely on self-interest can lead to a broken relationship, financial problems, and even health issues.
Training is a great way to teach children the correct path to self-mastery without exposing them to the dangers that life can present. A martial arts school is an environment where a child can safely learn to control their bodies and their emotions while surrounded by their peers. This provides reinforcement and strengthens the connection in the child’s mind that only through self-control can they achieve the mastery of a skill and the respect of others.
The structured hierarchy of a school is a metaphor for adult society in your child’s mind. A competent instructor will convey to their students that everyone is on a level playing field and their progress results from hard work and drive. Unruly behavior can only derail progress and leave an undisciplined child open to criticism not only to adults but also in the eyes of their peers.
Martial Arts as a Solution to Bullying
The act of bullying, especially in schools, has been around for decades and is nothing new. It has taken a more prominent position in our culture in recent years with all sorts of programs and informational campaigns being directed at stopping the phenomenon. However, treating it as something that is not inherent in the human species takes the emphasis away from where it should be placed.
Bullying is the act of coercing or intimidating someone perceived as being weaker. From the definition alone one can see that the solution to such behavior is to not be perceived as weak. Bullies are weak-minded individuals that attempt to mask their weakness by imposing physical and verbal violence on others. An individual that has complete mastery of their body and mind cannot be bullied.
Training teaches the self-discipline required to exercise self-control when someone attempts to impose their will on you. In the case that another individual moves against your child in a threatening manner, you can have peace of mind knowing that they will be able to defend themselves against an assailant while also knowing when to walk away.
Being a martial artist is not about bravado or machismo. It is not about beating up everyone that stands in your way, as we may often see in movies. Rather, it is about having the presence of a person that is confident, competent and capable in the face of adversity. This is what it means to be bully-proof.
What Should I Do Next?
The best thing you can do is find a reputable school in your area. Go and meet the instructor and ask if you can watch a children’s class. Observe what is going on and how the children respond to their instructor. Notice the self-control and skill that the students exhibit. The next step may be to bring your child to have a look.
Younger kids may feel intimidated or skeptical about joining a class. Perhaps the instructor can put your child at ease and assure you and the child that there is no need for concern. Also, there are plenty of cartoons and children’s shows with characters that are martial artists; the Power Rangers and Anime show come to mind. Children are always looking to emulate the abilities of their favorite fictional characters.
Finally, be supportive of your child when they embark on this journey. It shouldn’t be something you drop your children off at as a sort of daycare. If you want them to receive the maximum amount of benefits from training, make sure to encourage them, ask for their feedback and congratulate them on their successes. Use this opportunity to build a direct communication line with your child that will strengthen your relationship and help them grow into the strong individual they have the potential to become.