Martial arts can provide several benefits for children. Improved grades, increased self-confidence and self-esteem, discipline, self-control, and respect for oneself and others are among some of the benefits children can gain by participating in a martial arts program. The list can go on and on, but it is important to understand that most children will not gain much from a martial arts class if they do not want to be there. The kids that I have seen benefit the most from the martial arts were always the ones that wanted to be there. With this in mind, let’s try to find out if your child can benefit from the martial arts.
The martial arts isn’t like most other after school activities children participate in. Most kids participate in a variety of sports after school, and while these athletic activities provide many benefits to children, the martial arts has something that these activities do not. A good martial arts program for kids is not competitive, at least not in the same manner as most other athletic activities. While I can’t say that my students never get competitive with each other, one of the biggest things I try to teach them is that the only person they are competing with is themselves. The martial arts is a life long activity, and everyone has their own strengths as well as weaknesses which means everybody moves at their own pace. In the world of after school sports this is not always the case. In fact in recent years children’s sports have become more competitive and at an increasingly younger age as well. So while students engaged in sports are becoming more competitive, often times resulting in conflict, students enrolled in martial arts are learning to be noncompetitive as well as how to resolve conflict.
I said earlier that the students who I have seen gain the most in the martial arts are the ones who want to be there, and it’s that wanting to be there, that desire to learn combined with the standard that is set by the instructor that provides so many benefits. At my school I expect a lot from my students, and it is these high expectations that allow them to excel not only in the martial arts but in life. It is for this reason that it is important to find the right school for your child. A good martial arts school is one in which expectations are set high, in addition a good school should be like a small community. In my school I don’t think it would be going too far to say that many of the most advanced students view our dojo as a second home.
So if your child has expressed interest in the martial arts, then perhaps its time for them to try a class. If you find it’s something your child wants to do, and you find a good school with high expectations, then the benefits to your child will last a lifetime.