Martial arts is known by many to come with a plethora of physical and mental health benefits. For children, however, those benefits are much more impactful at such an early age. Parents looking to get their children involved in extracurricular activities should look no further. Practices like karate, taekwondo, and jiu-jitsu are just some of many that encompass physical education and character development, which is essential for a growing child.
Self-consciousness and dealing with embarrassment is a completely normal stage in a child’s life, but it can be difficult. We as adults have learned to deal with this accordingly and often brush it off as nothing more, but for kids, these can be extremely upsetting experiences. Building confidence can effectively combat this, and practicing martial arts is a great way to do just that. As more time is spent perfecting the martial art a child chooses, the more confident they become upon seeing results and improvement.
Today, this concept applies to more than just standing up to a bully. Self-defense skills translate to effective communication and intelligent decision making. Though practicing martial arts certainly does equip children with the ability to physically stand up for themselves, it is not always the wisest way to deal with a situation. Some of the wisest teachers say “he who resorts to violence has already lost.” Any style can teach the skills necessary to recognize potentially dangerous situations in addition to how to deal with them physically.
There is perhaps no better team sport or afterschool activity for teaching discipline than martial arts. As previously mentioned, it takes a great deal of practice to become proficient at any style, and dedicating time to improving one’s skills establishes discipline. As with anything else in life, you get back what you put in. Practicing involves a lot of repetition, so this sense of discipline can prevent a child from giving up out of boredom. There are also rules to follow in every style, so children will learn that with discipline comes success. Recklessly fighting will only result in a loss of respect among classmates. This newfound discipline also applies to their lives outside of martial arts, perhaps making an energetic child at home much calmer.
Now more than ever, both girls and boys are taking part in martial arts classes around the world, thus teaching children about gender equality and acceptance of all others. Unlike football or baseball, genders are not separated. This can show kids at a young age how important it is to treat all others as equals.
While these are just a few of the many benefits that come with children partaking in martial arts, getting them involved can be a very useful decision by parents. Depending on your child’s age, look into classes that would be the most educational for them, encouraging them and being supportive throughout.