Benefits of Martial Arts Training For Kids
Admit it. When the going gets tough at home, we've all plopped
the kids in front of the television and breathed a sigh of
relief. Finally, we can get started on dinner, maybe check
email or sort that massive pile of laundry.
But when your five-year old yells at you "Mom, Kids Rule!"
or your ten-year old horrifies you with language that would
make a sailor blush, you realize there must be something amiss
with what these "family programs" really teach our
kids. And sadly, its happening all over the media today, from
sports to cartoons, and our children are learning things that
we, as parents, vowed we would never teach them. Old fashioned
values like respect and self-discipline, seems to have been
forgotten, replaced by the dreaded "bling bling"
pop culture of today.
Just the thought of your angelic three-year old morphing into
a designer-clad, smart-mouthed, money-worshipping, me-obsessed,
lay-about is enough to make any parent consider that threatening
military school brochure, but there is a solution out there
Martial Arts training.
From Ninja Turtles to The Karate Kid
You and your kids have all seen the flying kicks, battle
cries and mighty chops of their favorite TV characters, as
they beat the bad guys to submission -- but, you may ask,
how on earth can these acts of violence teach my child anything
First, know that what you see on television (save perhaps
the Karate Kid) is a far cry from what real martial arts are
all about. The fact is, martial arts training is based on
Originating in Asia (mainly Japan, China and Korea, although
Thailand and Vietnam have their own practices as well), martial
arts range from a variety of types and styles, all of which
are based on well-rounded, moral teachings. The beauty of
learning martial arts is that it encompasses not just the
physical aspect of the "sport", but mental and emotional
lessons as well.
Comparing that to other kid's activities and sports, where
fierce competitiveness and "winning at all costs"
seems to be the order of the day, it's not surprising that
many children grapple with issues of self-esteem and misplaced
Now imagine your child actually learning valuable life lessons,
skills that he will take throughout life, laying the foundation
for a happy, well-adjusted and fulfilled adult life. If only
karate for kids was popular in the 70's, when I was growing
- Karate, and other martial arts for kids, builds confidence
and self-esteem as well as self-discipline, respect, concentration
- Many martial arts schools also offer leadership courses
for kids, in conjunction with their karate for kids programs,
or similar lessons.
- Martial Arts is ideal for children who do not do well
in team sports, giving them the ability to flourish this
activity, while combining physical and mental practices.
- Many do not realize this, but it is a fact that martial
arts training are safer than most school sports.
- Children with special needs, such as ADD (Attention Deficit
Disorder), learning difficulties and hyperactivity are often
recommended to participate in martial arts for kids because
of the clear benefits in its structured training techniques.
Kung-Fu Master or Ninja Warrior?
Before you sign up Junior for the first martial arts class
you see, take some time to check out the different methods
available, and match it with what you know would suit your
child best. This is a good way to avoid any problems that
may sprout from a conflict of your child's personality and
the training techniques.
Is your little Zach a sensitive soul? Then maybe a class that
doesn't center on sparring (full-on kicks and punches training)
but rather, slower, defensive maneuvers would fare better
for him. Kids with an aggressive streak, however, may prefer
the more forceful moves and thrive in competitive sparring.
Here's a quick primer on the kid-friendly martial arts training
you're likely to find:
Martial Arts From Japan
- Uses defensive and aggressive moves
- Centers on building strength and endurance
- Involves chops, punches, kicks, strikes, blocking and
- May use weapons
- Uses defensive and aggressive moves
- Involves lots of sparring
- Teaches a fair amount of weapons training
- Uses a more "spiritual" and harmonious style
in redirecting the aggression of the attacker as the form
of defense, using throws, pins, rolls etc.
- Taught on the premise of disabling an aggressor without
attacking, through your individual inner energy
- Does not involve sparring or competitions
- Uses gentle, "wrestling-like" movements
- Considered one of the safest methods of martial arts
- Emphasizes physical control as well as mental development
• Engages in competitions
Martial Arts From China
- The generic term referring to Chinese martial arts with
a variety of styles
- Involves attack movements as well as defensive techniques
- Teaches kicks, punches, chops, throws, falls, grappling,
katas, leg sweeps and blows among others.
- Engages in sparring competitions
Martial Arts From Korea
- Competitive in nature, involves techniques using elaborate
footwork and unique high kicks.
- Emphasizes strength, force and attack methods.
- Engages in lots of sparring and competitions.
Choosing The Right Instruction
If you have an idea of the type of martial arts class you'd
like your child to participate in, the next step would be
to find the right school. Finding the right class that not
only matches your child's and your needs, in terms of teachers
you feel comfortable with, the price, facilities and so on,
are all important factors.
Say you've found a local place that specializes in Karate
for Kids. What are the things you should look for?
- Good Instructors
Check out their qualifications, teaching methods and watch
carefully how they interact with the other children. It
should be a fun learning experience!
- Space and Safety
Obviously you would want to entrust your child in as establishment
that is safe, well-maintained, and clean with ample space
as well as decent facilities and equipment.
- School Values
Different martial arts schools inevitably go by different
values, for instance, one kid's karate class may handle
aggression in one way, while a judo class would have a different
approach. Take some time to observe which school's ideals
match your family's principles.
- Prices and Schedules
Prices for martial arts training can vary according to school
and location, so make sure you the instruction you choose
represents fair value. Finding the most effective way to
fit martial arts training into your family's lifestyle is
also essential, knowing what works best with your schedule
and other activities.
Starting your child young in karate training is ideal (children
as young as the age of four are usually accepted, as it is
also a good way to hone fine motor skills), and lots of parents
have found that in as little as a year, their children who
were involved in martial arts had noticeably gained positive
traits such as increased self-esteem, respect and overall
Copyright 2005 Best-Karate-Equipment.com
Many parents also opt to join a martial arts training program
themselves, making it a great bonding experience for the entire
Laura Saunders is a successful freelance writer,
mother of two, and a martial arts practitioner who has written
articles for http://www.best-karate-equipment.com,
your online guide to karate
uniforms and karate
Permission is granted to publish this article on your site
if the author's byline is included and all 3 links are hyperlinked.
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