September 25th, 2018

Martial Arts

While many people pick up martial arts as adults or teenagers, others take their first lesson in Karate or Taekwondo when they’re only four or five years old.  Martial arts are like other sports such as baseball and soccer:  kids can start practicing at a young age and learn a lot about exercise and their own bodies even if serious competition is several years away.  Not only that but learning a martial art can help young kids in several ways:

Respect For Others And For Self

Learning martial arts isn’t about learning how to beat people up, it’s about learning the limits of your body, pushing those limits farther, and testing how well you’re doing in matches against others.  It’s about learning that there’s always someone who can beat you and there’s always something new you can learn.  To get anywhere, kids need to learn to respect their teachers and the older students, and they’ll learn to respect themselves as their hard work pays off as they learn new techniques and achieve new ranks.

Self-Defense And Independence

Kids can get physical with each other, and while parents and other adults do their best to stop bullying, they can’t be there for every child at every moment of the day.  Children need to learn how to handle problems themselves, and martial arts can help.  Martial arts instructors don’t just teach their students how to defend themselves, they also teach them to only use their skills to defend themselves and not to attack others.  Students will also learn self-reliance:  teamwork is important, but it’s also good to win some competitions all on your own.

Physical Fitness

A lot of the habits we pick up as kids will stay with us for the rest of our lives, and generally speaking the earlier we start the harder those habits are to shake.  Regular exercise and physical training are good habits to pick up, and while we can’t do as much when we’re still growing, we can certainly get used to the idea of going to a gym and working out several times per week.  Martial arts are a good choice for fitness because kids can improve in a lot of different areas at once.

• Physical strength increases when kids use punching bags and other training tools.

• Heart health improves thanks to the consistent energy it takes to practice forms and techniques.

• Flexibility gets better thanks to the demanding moves many martial arts specialize in.

• Speed is key to most martial arts, including both overall movement and reflexes.

It’s always a good idea to interest your kids in physical activity from a young age, whether it’s a team sport, a competitive sport like martial arts, or even just going for a jog every afternoon.  Still, martial arts are a particularly good choice thanks to the way it trains the whole body and demands everything from coordination to strength to master.  Every child can benefit from taking martial arts classes, so keep it in mind when you’re looking for classes your kids can join.