Benefits of Martial Arts for Children
In our modern age, there is a multitude of activities for children to be involved in, and seemingly less and less time for any of them. Between after-school programs, school sports teams, music lessons, dance, gymnastics- the list is endless! With so many options and increasingly hectic lifestyles, parents want to choose activity programs that will have the most beneficial effect for their children- and be fun!
Why study martial arts?
Any structured activity program can be beneficial for a child’s development, but practicing martial arts offers some unique benefits that other programs may neglect. Here are a few of the ways quality martial arts training can be good for your child.
1. Physical activity. This is the obvious one, right? In an age of increasing screen-time, parents often struggle to get their kids (and themselves!) moving more. With warm-ups, stretching, calisthenic exercises, practicing dynamic techniques, and carefully supervised sparring, a typical martial arts class will keep your child in nearly constant motion from start to finish. Training in martial arts will improve your child’s strength, coordination, and flexibility, as well as balance, stamina, and resiliency.
2. Respect. The practice of bowing is one of the most well-known aspects of martial arts etiquette. It is an acknowledgment of gratitude for the opportunity to train and commitment to work hard throughout the entire class session. Students bow to each other before and after every sparring session, and at the beginning and end of every class. Your child will learn to demonstrate respect for their instructors, their fellow students, and themselves, and to respect the opportunity they have been given by making the most of each class session.
3. Discipline and self-control. Practice makes perfect! Your child will learn to practice a technique or form over and over until they perfect it, and to work hard at their training even when they don’t feel like it, or even when they might not be in a good mood. They learn to persevere at their task until it is complete, rather than just stopping when they don’t feel like it anymore. Every time they practice a kick or master the movements of a form, they also learn to control their bodies and set their minds to focus on the task at hand. The skill of listening and following instructions will serve your child well both in school and home life, and also in their future as they grow into well-rounded members of society.
4. Attainable goals. The martial arts belt ranking system provides children a way of working toward a goal and earning recognition for their hard work. Unlike many competitive team sports, in martial arts your child can excel and progress regardless of whether or not they are the most talented athlete in the class. The requirements for testing for a higher belt are clear- children know exactly what skills and techniques will be required in order to rise in rank, and the instructors are committed to helping every child learn and thrive to the best of their ability, rather than just seeking the most naturally talented child to compete against others.
5. Self-defense. No parent wants to believe that their child will ever be put in a position of danger, but in an increasingly chaotic world, we want to be prepared to know how to prevent and deal with unpleasant situations. Children are taught not only the techniques to be able to defend themselves in a dangerous situation, but also how to avoid them. They are taught to walk away from potential fights and seek peaceful solutions, and only use their defense techniques if they are being attacked.
6. Confidence. There’s no feeling quite like the thrill a child feels the first time they break a board or master a new technique. Every time they work hard to master a difficult technique, it teaches them that they have the capability to overcome obstacles and stand strong even when facing hardship.
And last but not least… It’s fun! Children have the opportunity to make friends with their classmates and to participate in friendly competition in a controlled environment.
Does this sound like a good fit for your child? At Patriot Fitness and Martial Arts, we are committed to providing high quality martial arts training in a safe, family-oriented atmosphere. We teach Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do self defense, and Koguryo Gumdo sword fighting. Give us a call at 479-685-7623 or drop to learn more and schedule a free trial class today!