Martial arts for children provide an opportunity to build social skills, friendships, and camaraderie with peers. They become part of a greater martial arts community, and there’s also the potential for mentorship from a trusted, positive instructor. Following are five more benefits.
1. Psychological Benefits: In a society that’s obsessed with pop-culture and celebrity, children’s martial arts provide a grounding environment for kids, girls especially! They receive many intellectual, social and emotional benefits that translate into other areas of life.
The structured, authoritative nature of traditional martial arts instills focus, self-control, listening skills, and discipline. Students bow and acknowledge instructors, but also to opponents before and after competing. This practice demonstrates respect, humility, and honor – character values that are hard to find in the images fed to our youth through media and elsewhere.
2. Physical Fitness and Skills: Martial arts can be a way for children to become physically fit and healthy. All of the particular styles incorporate conditioning into their training, in addition to learning the skills. The athletic abilities developed in martial arts carry over into other sports. These abilities include muscular strength, speed and agility, endurance, flexibility, coordination and balance.
Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Boxing and Wrestling are forms of martial arts that are also Olympic sports that children can participate in.
3. Self-Defense: There’s a special confidence that comes with being able to defend yourself. This is empowering regardless of gender. It may provide parents with some relief knowing that your child can hold his or her own if confronted with a situation where self defense is needed. Children’s martial arts help them to assert their physical strength. Some practices also employ loud, direct verbal communication and secure body language.
Bullies typically target those who seem passive or less of a challenge. When kids know that your child will speak up and throw down, it’s less likely that they’ll be tested.
4. Life Lessons: There are many valuable life lessons that children learn in martial arts. These lessons build character and provide experiences they can draw from as they mature. As with all sports, martial arts for kids present opportunities to be challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally and overcome adversity.
There’s no substitute for the experience of having to compete when you’re tired or seeing how you respond to an opponent who’s stronger or more skilled. The process of trying something new, learning the skills, practice and repetition, mistakes, losing, winning are all experiences that girls draw strength from throughout their lives.
Kids also learn the values of hard work, dedication, persistence, courage, and resilience. The tangible rewards for all of this are improved skills and being promoted to the next belt level.
5. Because it’s cool and fun! The popularity of UFC fighter Ronda Rousey has inspired a generation of girls who probably wouldn’t have taken interest in martial arts. Her background as an Olympic bronze medalist in Judo adds mainstream appeal to the sport, especially among female athletes.
Martial arts provide a safe, controlled environment for kids to express this aggressive energy. If you’d like more information regarding how children’s martial arts can benefit your family, call us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation!