Many adults regret making the decision to take up a martial art at a younger age for whatever reason. Getting children into the routine of taking part at least once a week in martial arts can only have a positive effect on kids in both the short term and long term. Here are 10 reasons why we believe kids should be taking part in martial arts.
1) Self Discipline – martial arts is enforced to instil discipline through its demand for both physical ability and mental ability. Without the correct discipline, individuals will fall at the first hurdle. By consciously being disciplined and listening to your Sensei, martial arts forces children to take this discipline from inside the Dojo, and outside into everyday life.
2) Confidence – many kids that enter a martial arts tend to have a low level of self confidence. However this is slowly manipulated into a child growing with confidence. The ability to adopt technical skills and self defence provides children with the self actualisation that enables them to feel more comfortable when being challenged by every day obstacles.
3) Teamwork – inside the dojo, children are consistently working with one another, improving and learning together. Often where one child can be disobedient, the whole class can be punished. This along with the experience the children share amongst one another creates a sense of unity between them, which is the embodiment of teamwork.
4) Self Defence – it goes without saying that kids will learn how to defend themselves as a result of taking up martial arts. However what is more important is that children learn that they don’t have to fight to prove a point to others. Martial arts and self defence consequently teaches that violence is only a last resort.
5) Self Esteem – being fit and healthy while learning how to defend yourself is a great feeling. Martial arts will encourage self confidence which is complemented by self esteem, a trait that many kids won’t often experience without actively taking part in something as challenging as the demands of a martial art.
6) Social Skills – joining your local martial arts club is also a great way for kids to meet new friends. They have the chance of meeting kids that go to a different school in the local area, an opportunity that they wouldn’t get elsewhere. By sharing a common interest, friendships are often strengthened inside the dojo, which is important part of growing up.
7) Health & Fitness – many kids lack the enthusiasm for sports and keeping fit. However martial arts is more than that. Especially at Xen-Do, martial arts is a way of life. Not only do you learn how to defend yourself and meet great people, but you also are unconsciously keeping fit and healthy at the same time – one of the most enjoyable ways to do so as well!
8) Self Motivation & Determination – from the experience of working hard in the dojo, meeting the challenges and requirements set by your Sensei, martial arts motivates kids to believe to achieve. It’s this self motivation and determination that can roll over into your personal life, where the experience from having to motivate yourself may be abundant.
9) Encouraging Non-Violence – individuals that learn how to defend themselves often don’t feel the urge to have to prove themselves in real life environments. Where a kid may be frustrated from being bullied, martial arts teaches self defence as a last resort, which can provide children with the confidence to act in a passive attitude when confronted with violence.
10) Learning to set personal goals – martial arts is consistently challenging, and as kids learn to progress they also learn how to set personal goals, such as targets for when they want to achieve a grading or learn a new technique. It’s these constant personal goals that are set inside the Dojo, that encourages kids to adopt outside of class, into their school life or home chores.
Here at Xen-Do we encourage the champion’s code, a set of challenges we set for our kids classes that represent guidelines all our kids members aim to maintain week on week, to help live your life the Xen-Do way. These are designed to have a positive effect on children’s attitude inside the gym but particularly outside the gym as well to help children deal with the difficulties involved with growing up right through to puberty.
By Chris Kyriacou
This article is based on opinion:
– the author is not a qualified doctor or anyone who can dispense medical advice.
– any opinions stated are just that and people should consult a doctor before making any dietary changes or changes of any nature prompted by the articles published by or on behalf of Xen-Do.
– under 16’s please obtain parental permission before posting anything online.