Martial Arts disciplines are great for children , particularly if they struggle with self-esteem or behavioural problems.
Martial Arts styles from Karate to Taekwondo are built on a basis of respect for yourself and others and are all about discipline which can help to introduce some order to chaotic young lives.
Parents of children who take Martial Arts classes may notice an almost immediate difference in their child from the onset of their child’s Martial Arts training. This is because Martial Arts can help to develop a child's emotional and mental resources as well as their physical strength and skill. Indeed, becoming skilled in a Martial Art - whether it’s Aikido, Karate, or any other type - can have a calming effect on the mind, often helping to improve concentration at school.
A recent article published on NY Metro Parents tells of the benefits Martial Arts classes can have on children with disabilities. In the article you are introduced to a 9 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy called Sam.
To help with his physical therapy, Sam’s mother decided to take her son to Karate classes with his younger sister, where his improvements have been dramatic. Before starting classes Sam would struggle to stand on one leg, but now, having been enrolled in his local Martial Arts centre in New Jersey for several years, he's able to do turning spins and has grown massively in confidence too. His mother believes that Karate has become a key part of who Sam is, and is the perfect activity for her son as he struggled to keep up with his peers in competitive and field sports such as Football. Sam is now a brown belt in Karate and even hopes to own his own Karate studio when he grows up.
While kids like Sam find that their chosen discipline helps them to overcome physical difficulties, Martial Arts classes also offer a great extra-curricular activity for kids of all backgrounds and personality types – including those who are otherwise doing well socially, physically, and academically. Some Martial Arts focus on strength, others on self-defence, but all Martial Arts have at their core an emphasis on improving self-knowledge. Martial Arts curricula and practice helps kids to get to know themselves better and to make better choices as well as to teach young people that in order to achieve at anything, consistent effort is needed over time. Martial Arts can help children learn important life lessons like these which all helps towards their short and long term development.
Kids love practicing Martial Arts because they give them a real sense of achievement and a measurable physical improvement over time, as well as giving them a chance to make new friends outside of the school environment.
Working hard in classes leads to success in any Martial Art and with success comes a growing self-confidence that children take with them wherever they go. Kids also love that the discipline and increased athleticism that they gain from their Martial Arts classes translates to other areas of their lives as well as helping to achieve succeed in other sports and even in academic environments such as school or university: just as speaking one foreign language helps you to learn others...by finding a Martial Arts class nearby, you can give them with an extra opportunity to shine, or simply to enjoy themselves and get fitter, stronger and more confident at the same time too!
Helping Children with ADHD...
While Martial Arts lessons bring children benefits like increased focus and fitness, they can also help kids who struggle with issues like ADHD. Kids with ADHD typically have underdeveloped concentration and self-control skills. These are two areas, which are at the heart of any Martial Art and the development of these two things often give some relief to children with ADHD as well as their parents, as they become noticeably calmer and more focussed over time. It's an old cliché that kids like firm boundaries, but with Martial Arts' insistence on bowing and respect, that's exactly what they're getting - and kids love it.
Sense of Achievement
Typically, children will move up a level every three months or so, testing for a new colour of belt at quarterly intervals. This encourages goal-setting while at the same time allowing children to make real, measurable progress in a fairly short amount of time.