On 12 November, 2019
On 9 April, 2019
Martial arts is engrained in human culture across the planet.
We’ve all seen images of the karate master completing their katas on the edge of a cliff, or the Rocky-esque boxer unloading on the heavy bag at the gym. Don’t you want to be like them? Well, maybe without the sworn enemies and grueling workouts? No sweat – we won’t have you punching slabs of meat or chasing chickens.
Whether you like the idea of the self-defense skills it provides or the mental and physical discipline it offers, you may have thought about how to learn martial arts.
We’re all busy and consumed by life’s responsibilities, therefore time is limited. If you want to know how to practice martial arts and become skilled at it, you may be curious about the timeframe. How can you learn these skills, and maybe more importantly, how long will it take?
Today you’ll learn the best way to learn martial arts in a concise timeframe, and how to tell if you’re progressing at a good rate.
Understanding the Diverse Spectrum of Martial Arts (and Artists)
When we’re talking about how to start learning martial arts, two factors immediately come into play. The first is what kind of martial art you’re learning. The second is how fast of a learner you are.
Let’s start with the first point. There are many different martial arts. Some are based around striking, others around grappling, and some even use weapons. You probably don’t want to start out with a katana in your hand, though – just saying.
Depending on the type of martial art you’re looking to learn, the timeframe will be different. The most popular martial arts worldwide include karate, judo, jujitsu, aikido, kendo, kung fu, tae kwon do, tai chi chuan, kickboxing, and krav maga.
The same thing can be said for the type of learner you are. As a martial artist, your capacity to master the art (even the basics) on a specific timeframe is relative to your ability to learn. It is also impacted by:
- Physical Capabilities: Your level of vitality impacts your ability to learn. Obviously, being in better shape and having less bodily injuries or impediments will help you learn martial arts quicker.
- Quality of Your Facility: The facility where you learn martial arts, including the skills of your instructor, has a massive impact on your ability to learn in a reasonable timeframe.
- Frequency of Your Lessons: If you train more often, you could take to your chosen martial art quicker. For the purpose of this piece, we’ll say you’re training twice a week – that’s a good way to stay immersed without getting burnt out.
From these points, we can see there are some preliminary steps you can take. They include finding a good training center with a qualified instructor. Learning martial arts step-by-step is easier with instruction. However, there are also those who try learning it on their own with self-paced lessons.
Whatever your approach, learning martial arts is a diverse experience that can be different for everyone. Yet, when we’re talking about how long it takes on average, we can give a ballpark statistic.
For a martial art like karate, adults who attend class on the basis we mentioned earlier can expect to earn their black belt in approximately five years.
As many fans of martial arts may know, every martial art has different rankings. Even masters of martial arts with the highest belt or ranking level can add degrees, demonstrating further mastery of their chosen art.
There’s also the distinction of what counts as “learning” a martial art – does it mean getting the basics down? Understanding the fundamentals and putting them together? Or being able to show full mastery of it on the highest level?
How to Learn Martial Arts the Right Way
When you’re learning how to do martial arts as a beginner, it’s more about fundamentals than anything. Sure, most fans of martial arts want to be able to do the flashy moves. They want to replicate the seamless combinations and transitions of the experts.
However, it’s never fun to trip over your own feet or break a knuckle with a botched punch. You don’t want to be doing your best Bruce Lee impression and end up losing a bout to a stationary target. Lee once said boards don’t hit back – but if you don’t break them, they could break you.
Yet, learning the basics is just as important – and can be just as complex when you’re starting out. Let’s discuss a few different martial arts and what their fundamentals entail.
- Karate: If you’re starting out in karate, you’re likely going to learn some basic stances and katas. These motions may seem like they’re more for show than anything – but they’re actually helping the learner get familiar with the motions and needed to master more complex techniques.
- Boxing: Beginning boxers will learn how to hold their guard to protect themselves and how to place their feet – shoulder-width apart with the back heel slightly elevated. These fundamentals provide a neutral starting point that can be used for defensive and evasion as well as a number of offensive maneuvers.
- Jiujitsu: This martial art, along with other submission grappling arts, will teach beginners the basics about motion and control. This includes how to hold an opponent in guard to stop their movement (and offense) as well as how to use momentum to shift an opponent’s position.
As a guide for how to start learning martial arts for beginners, it is good to go in with an open mind and be receptive to instruction. Putting aside any preconceived ideas about martial arts allows a person to get the fundamentals down – which makes it easier to build on that skillset successfully.
How long will it take you to get the basics down? On a regular training schedule, you can expect to have the basics down in six months to a year. By this time, you’ll have the essentials like posture, form, and basic motions down to second nature.
The benefit of a good understanding of the fundamentals isn’t just that you’ll be able to avoid bad habits. You’ll also be more confident moving forward, which could keep you coming back to the class with more excitement and willingness to learn.
Can You Speed Up Your Progression?
One question many people have regarding the pace at which they learn is whether they can make exponential progress.
Say someone takes to the basics very quickly – does this mean they can expect to absorb the rest of the knowledge quicker? It is possible that people with natural tendencies to excel at martial arts could learn faster.
However, you should never rush your training for the sake of gaining rankings. Your belt ranking should not be your goal – understanding the art should. The belt is only a byproduct of this.
There’s an old legend associated with the concept of belt colors. While some call it a myth, others say it is legitimate. The idea was that in the beginning, martial artists started with a white belt. Once they had trained so much their belt was stained black by dirt, sweat, and blood, they were experienced enough to be called a black belt – and no, dragging it through the mud or painting it wouldn’t have counted.
Final Thoughts: Every Martial Artist’s Journey is Unique
It’s safe to say we all have different physical capabilities and learning curves. However, if you walk into the right training center with the right attitude, you can expect to learn the basics of a martial art relatively quickly.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself – you aren’t preparing to do battle with a dozen ninjas like an action movie star. If you are, we recommend going with one of the weapon arts.
Instead, know that dedicated training and a consistent focus on good technique can carry you far through training. Within a year, you could have the basics and early intermediate steps down. Within five years, you could have a high rank and even be helping your instructor coach newcomers.
Newcomer to martial arts? Find out how to get started on your journey today.
On 21 February, 2019
If you’re like most parents, it goes without saying that you absolutely adore your child, but you’d love it if they would do certain things without having to be told all the time.
Maybe it’s doing their chores or remembering not to interrupt when you’re talking to other adults or having their homework done before bed.
In short, you’d love it if your child had more self-control, if they were able to remember the rules and maintain good habits all on their own.
Well, you’re far from alone.
Many parents have found a solution, too. They’ve learned that one of the many ways martial arts benefits children is by developing self-discipline.
Self-Discipline Is Essential for Your Child’s Wellbeing
One of the best things a parent can do for their child is to help them to develop self-discipline. It’s an absolutely vital skill that can have a positive impact on the rest of their life:
“Research suggests that superior results on a delayed-gratification task during the toddler years is associated with better performance in school and in jobs, healthier relationships, and even fewer chronic diseases.”
There is no lack of studies that prove this, either.
Perhaps the most famous is the “Stanford Marshmallow Test”, where children were offered the popular treat but told they’d receive another if they could put off eating it for 15 minutes. Those who were able to resist were later found to also be higher achievers in other areas of life. This included everything from SAT scores to BMIs (Body Mass Indexes).
While that was considered a landmark study at the time, plenty more have been done since then to substantiate these findings.
For example, a study done in 2014 showed that people who excel at self-control are actually much happier than those who struggle with the trait. Further research that year also proved a link between self-discipline and overall life satisfaction.
Not surprisingly, people who display high levels of self-control also have an easier time avoiding temptation, a trait every parent would love to develop in their child.
5 Reasons Martial Arts Builds Discipline in Children
Of course, most parents already know that self-discipline is important and would love nothing more than to raise a child who has mastered self-control.
The question is, how?
There are a number of ways to promote self-control in your children. One very simple method is just holding them accountable when they misbehave, so they self-monitor their own behaviour going forward.
Likewise, you can also reward behaviour that demonstrates self-discipline. A common example is providing an allowance for dutifully carrying out weekly chores without needing to be reminded.
However, one of the best methods is simply signing up your son or daughter for martial arts classes.
While martial arts benefits children a number of ways, it might be best known for how it instills the importance of self-discipline into even the youngest of minds.
1. Self-Control Is at the Heart of Martial Arts
Everything about martial arts is built on a foundation of self-control.
This is obvious in the regimented way many Eastern martial arts practices are run. They often begin with the class bowing to the instructor and then the instructor bowing back. There may be stretching or other warmup routines that every student must participate in before class can formally begin.
Sparring sessions often begin and end with bows, as well – a mutual sign of respect between participants.
Even in more Western arts like boxing and wrestling, this kind of regimented approach is consistent. Someone who’s late to class must go through the initial routine before they can join in. One who refuses to bow or shake hands isn’t allowed to spar again until they do.
This means that every student makes self-discipline a priority. If they don’t, they’ll soon find that the sport isn’t a good fit. That kind of atmosphere can actually make something like peer-pressure an incredibly positive force in your child’s life.
Older kids or those who otherwise have higher ranks will be proof to your child that being disciplined pays off. In the world of martial arts, self-discipline is “cool.” So, martial arts benefits children by making this all-important trait something they actually want to attain.
2. Rank Is Based Largely on Self-Discipline
Most martial arts depend on some kind of belt system. Generally, your child will start as a white belt with the goal of working toward reaching the pinnacle: a black belt.
Depending on the martial art or even the instructor, moving from one belt to the next usually involves a number of different requirements.
Regular attendance is one. Proven proficiency in certain skills is another. Doing well at tournaments and competitions can play a role, too.
Whatever the case, no instructor will promote a student who doesn’t show self-control. It would be hard to imagine any student could do well without it, but even if they somehow managed to check all the other boxes, if they lack self-discipline, they’ll watch others pass them up until that changes.
3. Martial Artists Are Responsible for Their Own Success
The great thing about martial arts is that it’s a nice mix between an individual and team sport.
On the one hand, you can’t really spar by yourself. You need someone to compete against. It also helps to have someone who can critique your mastery of each skill and give you feedback about how to improve.
At the same time, every martial artist knows they have to put in extra time on their own in order to continue progressing. This may entail anything from working out to practicing moves to sparring sessions with a punching bag.
Even during class time and when working with an experienced instructor, students need to hold themselves accountable for paying attention and asking questions when necessary.
Martial arts benefits children because it puts them in a position where they are 100% accountable for their own success.
In team sports, your child may lose a game even though they did everything right. If that continues happening, it probably won’t be long until they stop giving their all. Soon, they’ll lose focus and self-discipline won’t be nearly as important. After all, no matter how hard they push themselves, their teammates are still largely responsible for their success.
That’s not to say team sports don’t have their place as well. It’s just that martial arts make it very clear how much self-control has to offer. Honing this kind of focus is actually one of the reasons martial arts are great for children who have ADHD.
4. Memorization Is the Secret to Mastering Martial Arts
Memorization is one of the key elements to mastering martial arts. Much of the individual practice-time referenced above is spent literally memorizing different elements of the sport.
One common example of this is the kata in karate and judo. Many other Eastern martial arts have similar practices, whereby students carry out a choreographed set of movements. Some students train year-round to perfect these patterns, which they will then perform at tournaments.
In this case, martial arts discipline children by enticing them to memorize and then practice the same moves over and over all on their own.
Even without katas or patterns – as in the case of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiujitsu, and many other martial arts – there is still an emphasis on memorization. Principles – not just moves – are drilled over and over, so students always know how to react, something that’s impossible without great self-control.
5. Most Importantly: Martial Arts Is Fun
Chores can help build self-control.
Schoolwork can, as well.
The only problem is that very few children find those tasks very enjoyable.
Martial arts, on the other hand, is a lot of fun. Even with all the discipline involved, good instructors know how to make their ancient art forms approachable and enjoyable for younger students.
Plus, most children take great pride in being martial artists. It’s “cool” to tell their friends that they’re in karate, wrestling, taekwondo, etc.
Even though it’s a lot of fun, this is one more incentive for them to keep showing up to class, where they will continue to build their self-control.
Put Your Child on the Path to Self-Discipline
Few traits can predict your child’s future happiness and wellbeing like self-discipline. As countless studies have shown, not even affluence, stable environments, or current personality can best self-control as a measurement for what the future will hold.
The good news is that martial arts benefits children in a number of ways, one of which is in promoting the development of self-discipline. While it’s never too late to start, the sooner your child begins practicing their preferred form, the sooner they’ll begin mastering self-control, too.
Best of all, you can get them started for free. Find a Martial Arts class near you now.
On 17 January, 2019
Though we may all have slightly different goals, we all want to get in better shape.
We all want to like the way we look in the mirror and occupy capable bodies that don’t court health concerns.
Unfortunately, for some, the path to fitness isn’t always straightforward.
There have never been more options that hold the promise of giving you the best body ever - but which one is really the best exercise for out-of-shape people?
8 Reasons Martials Arts Is the Best Exercise for Out-of-Shape People
Before you join a gym, hire a personal trainer, or pay for exercise classes, consider the potential of martial arts.
Here are eight reasons martial arts is the absolute best exercise for out-of-shape people.
1. Martial Arts Isn’t About the “Perfect Body”
When you’re carrying around some extra weight or otherwise don’t feel great about how you look, the last thing you want to do is strip down to your bare essentials and go to the gym or join a workout class where you’ll be surrounded by people with “perfect bodies.”
It’s completely understandable and also one of the reasons martial arts is the best exercise for out-of-shape people.
Plenty of the world’s greatest martial artists don’t have the types of bodies we tend to see on magazines. Look up any heavyweight fighter, from MMA to boxing to Olympic wrestling. The vast majority don’t have washboard abs, and yet they’re world-class athletes.
That’s because the truth of the matter is that healthy bodies don’t always look like the kinds the media likes to show us. Martial arts will help you better appreciate this. It will also give you an environment for pursuing better health that doesn’t force you into discomfort because of how you currently look.
2. A Complete Total-Body Workout
Another reason martial arts is the best exercise for out-of-shape people is that you’ll be working out your entire body with every session.
This is a major benefit for a few reasons.
First, it keeps things simple. If you’re currently out-of-shape, one of the worst mistakes you could make is getting way too granular with your workouts, overcomplicating things, and relying on unnecessarily complex regimens.
That kind of approach might work for the 1% of fitness-freaks who live at the gym, but it’s not manageable for those of us who have other priorities to juggle. It’s inevitable that you’ll miss a day here or there, which will throw off everything. Soon, you might feel so behind in your workouts that it’s easier to just take the day off.
You’ll never need to miss martial arts practice for this reason, which means you’ll never have to miss an opportunity to improve your level of fitness.
Furthermore, martial arts will help you build muscle while you’re also doing cardio. So, you’ll lose weight and get toned without having to ever choose between the two.
Unlike other methods of building muscle, you never need to take off a day, either. As you won’t be working toward hypertrophy or hitting failure (as with weight-lifting), you can always train in martial arts.
3. Martial Arts Is Incredibly Safe
Carrying extra weight can make some forms of exercise dangerous because it puts your joints at risk.
For example, you need to be very careful about running, especially at a face pace or uphill when you first start out. A lot of jumping can also cause unnecessary wear-and-tear on your joints.
This kind of damage never feels good the following morning. Of course, it can also lead to long-term problems, like limited mobility, rheumatoid arthritis, or the need for joint-replacement surgery. Even in their earliest phases, these issues can sideline you long before you ever hit your fitness goals.
Then there are the dangers involve with regularly lifting weights, even for people who are otherwise in good shape. Anything from bad form to attempting to lift too much weight can quickly cause an immediate injury that makes working out harder than ever.
By comparison, martial arts are incredibly safe.
If your joints are up to the task of supporting you through a normal range-of-motion, they’ll have no problem doing so when you practice martial arts. In fact, as flexibility is such a high priority in this sport, expect your range-of-motion and joint-health to improve.
And while sparring is also a part of martial arts, your instructor won’t let you do it until you’ve learned enough to be safe.
4. Exercises Become Progressively Challenging
If an exercise isn’t challenging, it will eventually stop producing results.
For example, doing 20 pushups today might be tough, but do those every day and, a year from now, they’ll be no problem. Unfortunately, your physique will have plateaued by then, too.
That’s not to say you should jump right into the deep end, though. If you’re currently out-of-shape, you want to start with a fitness regimen that will take that into consideration as you work your way into better health.
Therefore, the best exercise for out-of-shape people should be one that allows them to begin in whatever condition they find themselves while promising to continuously challenge them over time.
As you progress through martial arts, you’ll always find yourself facing new challenges. Whether it’s learning a new move, learning how to do a move better, or simply moving up to higher levels of competition, this kind of progression will continue to benefit your body.
5. Martial Arts Is Never Boring
For similar reasons, there’s never anything boring about martial arts. Every class will be different. As you improve, your whole experience of the sport will continuously change, too.
The fact that martial arts is fun and exciting – and definitely not boring – is no small advantage, either. On the contrary, it’s actually one of the most important reasons it’s the best exercise for out-of-shape people.
That’s because studies have shown that people – especially those who are overweight – struggle to stick to exercise regimens they find laborious or unpleasant.
While you should certainly expect to get a good sweat in every time you show up to your dojo or gym, you’ll never be forced to slog through a boring workout.
6. The Community Aspect Will Keep You Coming Back for More
Martial arts may be an individual sport, but it’s definitely not a solitary one.
After you’ve been to practice a few times, expect your dojo or gym to begin feeling like a second-home full of familiar faces who all greet you as you walk in.
Again, the fact that it’s fun makes martial arts the best exercise for out-of-shape people. And what’s more fun than hanging out with your friends?
There’s also a positive form of peer pressure that arises. Even after you fall in love with the sport, there will probably be plenty of times when it will be tempting to skip class.
While that’s okay every now and then, it will be much harder to turn class-skipping into a habit if you know your friends are expecting you. This makes long-term results much, much easier to achieve.
Also, if you have children, they can join the community, too. Martial arts offers all kinds of unique advantages for kids, not the least of which is that they tend to absolutely love it.
7. Martial Arts and Confidence Go Hand-in-Hand
One of the worst parts about being out-of-shape is what it does to your self-confidence. You can be a great husband or wife, excellent at your job, and beloved by your friends, but if you don’t like the way you look, you can still find your self-esteem lacking.
Learning martial arts puts you into an elite group of individuals, which is something that will definitely inspire pride.
You’ll also know that you’re capable of defending yourself against an attacker. Hopefully, that situation never arrives but knowing you have the confidence to deal with it – because you’ve sparred in class – will absolutely make you walk a little taller.
8. You’ll Never Outgrow Martial Arts
Finally, martial arts is the best exercise for out-of-shape people because it can become a lifelong passion that will continue showing them positive results, year-after-year.
Ip Man, the famous instructor of Bruce Lee, was still practicing his beloved Wing Chun well into his 70s. All over the world, people of all ages – including senior citizens – practice Tai Chi on a daily basis. Many members of the legendary Gracie family still train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu despite being in their 60s and 70s.
Many forms of exercise and athletic activity are only safe up to a certain age, but martial arts are appropriate for everyone from children all the way up to the very elderly. Many wouldn’t want to go a day without at least a few minutes of practicing their favorite martial art.
When you find the one that really grabs you, that kind of passion will keep you practicing it – and in shape – for decades, which is just one more reason the martial arts are the best exercise for out-of-shape people.
Start Your Best Exercise for Out-of-Shape People Today
Again, the best exercise for out-of-shape people is often the one they’ll enjoy doing most!
On 4 January, 2019
It goes without saying that every parent wants their child to do well in school.
Nothing is quite as frustrating as knowing a child is capable of so much more than what they’re showing in the classroom.
At the same time, most children struggle not because they aren’t smart or talented enough, but because they have trouble concentrating in school. At their young age, they haven’t developed the kind of self-discipline it takes to sit still and pay attention for long periods of time.
While there are a number of different ways parents can try to address this problem, few can compare to the potential of kids’ Martial Arts classes.
6 Reasons Kids’ Martial Arts Classes Build Self-Discipline and Concentration
There are all kinds of reasons parents should think about signing up their child for kids’ Martial Arts classes, not the least of which is simply that they’re a lot of fun. This sport is great for building their self-confidence too – something almost every child could use more of at this young age.
Still, many parents end up enrolling their children in Martial Arts because it’s a surefire way to build the kind of self-discipline and concentration that lends itself to success in the classroom - and throughout the rest of their lives.
Here are six reasons why.
1. Martial Arts Requires Individual Accountability
Every child who signs up for kids’ Martial Arts classes dreams of someday experiencing the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from attaining the level of “black belt.”
In order to get there, though, the child must learn to hold themselves accountable.
Of course, just like the child has a teacher in school, they’ll have a coach or sensei who’s job it is to lead them toward success in their Martial Arts classes.
However, it’s ultimately up to them to follow that lead and apply themselves to their development. Unlike in team sports, no one is there to pick up the slack for a participant in Martial Arts. Ultimately, the child is 100% responsible for their own success – or lack thereof.
The same is true at school. Teachers are tasked with teaching the lesson and providing feedback, but the grade a child is able to achieve will come down to their own efforts, not those of their classmates.
This focus on the individual is also why Martial Arts have grown in popularity among parents with children who have ADHD. Those children often struggle with team dynamics, but find an opportunity to blossom when introduced to Martial Arts. Aside from the confidence this gives them, the dojo also becomes a place where they can hone their ability to concentrate.
2. Self-Discipline Is Regularly Rewarded
One reason many children have a difficult time developing self-discipline is because, frankly, it’s not much fun. It’s often associated with sitting still for long periods of time.
In Martial Arts, cultivating self-discipline is the only way to progress. It’s also constantly rewarded.
Those children who regularly attend practice and stay focused are given stripes on their belts and, over enough time, new belts altogether.
As time goes on, it becomes abundantly clear to every child that those who are “higher up” in terms of their belt ranking are also the ones who show the most self-discipline. At the same time, becoming more disciplined doesn’t mean enjoying the Martial Art any less. In fact, the higher their rank, the more moves the sensei will teach them. The more moves they learn, the more fun they’ll generally have with the sport.
Many lifelong Martial Artists will explain that, more than anything, their success is due to self-discipline and staying focused – not size, strength, or speed.
3. Martial Arts Leverages Group Dynamics to Promote Discipline
Another way, kids’ Martial Arts classes help promote self-discipline is through group dynamics. Even though it’s very much an individual sport, a child’s dojo will also be a source of new friends. Though structured and focused, practice is also a very social activity.
This is why kids’ Martial Arts classes are also a positive form of peer pressure. Younger children will see older, more accomplished kids who like to have just as much fun as they do - but also know when it’s time to get focused and concentrate on the lesson at hand.
A good instructor will still find plenty of opportunities within each class to give students ample opportunity to be a child, as well.
At the same time, each class will show them what other children have been able to accomplish by disciplining themselves.
The parallels between the dojo and classroom in this regard are obvious. Teachers generally find ways to make lessons fun and include breaks for a bit of playtime. Still, children who can separate when it’s time to have fun and when it’s time to get serious about learning will have a much easier time with learning their lessons.
4. Children Are Given the Responsibility to Lead
Just about every child loves being given a certain amount of responsibility. They might always bristle at the thought of doing chores, but most children enjoy being entrusted with a new task, especially if it’s in front of other children.
These kinds of responsibilities are regularly handed out in kids’ Martial Arts classes. Most classes begin with stretching and maybe some light cardio. Instructors will often hand off the responsibility of leading these sessions to some of their better – more disciplined – students.
The same goes for demonstrating new moves. Instructors will call upon students to help them walk the class through each step.
Again, this kind of opportunity to lead is something most kids crave, but in Martial Arts, it’s only awarded to students who have shown that they can also handle the responsibility of disciplining themselves and remaining focus throughout the rest of the class.
5. Sparring Requires Children to Stay “in the Moment”
Probably the most common reason parents don’t sign up their children for kids’ Martial Arts classes is because they’re afraid they’ll get hurt.
Fortunately, the risks involved are minimal. Again, dojos are highly structured environments and wouldn’t be able to remain open if students were regularly hurt. Instructors know this and, therefore, go to great lengths to ensure strict rules are adhered to at all times – one more example of the discipline kids’ Martial Arts class require.
Still, at some point, the instructor will eventually approve a new child to begin sparring with their classmates.
While sparring will involve the strictest rules of all and the wearing of pads, it’s still never a good idea to let one’s mind wander during this kind of practice.
Sparring reinforces the practice of self-discipline, as well. Instructors monitor these sessions at all times and will pull a child out if they think they’re “losing control” – either because they’re not restraining themselves against a less-experience student, or they’re simply not giving their full attention to the session.
6. Kids’ Martial Arts Classes Are a Year-Round Source of Physical Fun
As opposed to most sports, kids in Martial Arts never have to stop for an offseason. They can continue with their practice 52 weeks out of the year.
This is welcomed news to kids who fall in love with the sport.
Parents usually enjoying hearing this, too, because physical activity can help with focus, especially in the classroom. It’s actually one of the main arguments for the importance of break time/ play time at School. Children need regular physical activity. If they don’t get it, their brains quickly look for other forms of dynamic stimulation.
While play time is still important, as is other physical activities throughout the week, regular Martial Arts practice throughout the year can go a long way toward helping them remain calm in the classroom.
Kids’ Martial Arts Classes Help Children in Their Academic Classes
Possibly the best reason for kids’ Martial Arts classes - because they’re such an incredible way to build self-discipline and the ability to concentrate. Usually the children are having so much fun, they hardly even know it’s happening.
Sure, Martial Arts instructors always stress the importance of self-discipline, but when children are having so much fun with other kids, developing this essential ability doesn’t feel like work.
We would love to help your child embark on their exciting journey with this ancient sport.
On 20 December, 2018
The holidays are over. The turkey and ham have been consumed. The mince pies have been devoured. If you even so much as smell another Bailey’s hot chocolate, it will be too soon.
Everyone lets themselves go a little bit over the holidays, and it can be difficult to shift that weight afterwards. If you’re looking for a fun and effective way to lose weight, getting involved in a martial arts class is one of the best ways to go.
Natural Cardio and Weight Training
Many people will take up running to work of their holiday weight but, as an exercise that is purely cardio-focused, it doesn’t offer up as many benefits as taking part in martial arts classes. From a scientific perspective, martial arts are effective for weight loss because they are not only cardio activities, but they also include bodyweight exercises that help you burn further calories.
Combining weight training with cardio exercises is a great way to lose weight, because the cardio burns calories while you workout while the weight training continues to burn calories afterwards. Martial arts really do offer up the best of both worlds in terms of exercising, and it is a great way to get you closer to your weight loss goals.
Did you know that stress is a common reason for weight gain? Whenever you get stressed out, your body releases hormones like cortisol that tell your body that it needs more energy. This is why you often crave fatty foods. Even if you don’t give into your hankering for eating an entire bag of Walker’s, stress slows down your metabolism and makes it difficult for you to lose weight.
Martial arts and other forms of high intensity training can help to relieve stress and act as outlets for aggression. Any negative feelings that you experience during the week can be worked out during your session, helping to reduce your cortisol levels. As a result, you’ll crave less junk food and your metabolism will remain at a healthy level that allows you to lose weight at a normal rate.
Losing weight is a slow process, and it’s not uncommon for people to become discouraged if you don’t see much of a result after a couple of weeks. In fact, 80% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by February, usually because they don’t see enough progress to warrant continuing towards their goal.
When you’re taking part in martial arts, weight loss isn’t the only goal – so, you can revel in other achievements while you wait for the kilos to start melting off. You’re learning valuable skills every session. Even if you don’t see a shift in your weight one week, you can walk away from each class knowing that you’ve learned something new and are on a path to developing great skills.
It’s Just Fun!
Learning a martial art is fun task that takes part in a social setting, which is reason enough to get involved. You interact with other students and your instructor on a weekly basis, and you’re likely to even make some new friends out of it. Everyone supports each other in a friendly environment, building a sense of community among the participants.
This is something that you don’t get by going for a run or visit the gym. Simply put, taking martial arts makes losing weight fun.
So, Which Martial Arts Help You Lose Weight?
Martial arts is a huge discipline, encompassing a wide variety of styles. Each one benefits you in a unique way, but there are a select few that will help you reach your weight loss goals a lot sooner.
Muay Thai, “the Art of Eight Limbs”, provides you with a full body workout every session. During a 1-hour class, it is not uncommon for students to burn about 1000 calories, as they engage in a mix of cardio exercises and interval training.
Kung Fu and Taekwondo are diverse forms of martial arts that combines a number of different exercises. Kicking and jumping are major focuses of this style and, if you stick with it, you’ll eventually get into flipping. Combining all of those actions in a single session gives you a well-rounded workout that really helps you lose weight.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is another popular option for those looking to get into shape. It is a fantastic cardio workout, and requires a very low base level of fitness from its participants. You don’t have to be in great shape to get started with this martial art style, but you’ll be able to reap the benefits over time. In fact, you’ll hear many success stories about people who have lost hundreds of pounds, thanks to their participation in Jiu-Jitsu.
So, if you’re worried about how you’re ever going to get rid of all of this holiday weight, consider enrolling in a martial arts class. You’ll be able to achieve your weight loss goals in a fun and productive manner, while learning valuable new skills in a social setting.
On 20 December, 2018
Bullying is every parents’ nightmare. The last thing you want is your child to come home from school and say that they’ve been picked on. Bullying has far-reaching negative effects that can injure their self-esteem and cause behavioural problems in the future. Fortunately, there are some very effective ways of nipping this in the bud, and martial arts is considered a very effective option.
If you’re concerned about your children being bullied – or even see signs that your own child is becoming a bully, enrolling them in martial arts classes for kids could help with the issue. There are a number of ways that martial arts can help prevent your child from being involved in bullying from any angle, and it’s important to consider the positive impacts that this activity can have on your child’s life.
Bullies tend to pick on easy targets. It’s usually the shy and quiet kids that get picked on throughout school, and building confidence through martial arts classes can prevent them from being targeted.
Taking part in a productive activity in a supportive group environment really helps kids to build their confidence. They make new friends while learning a valuable skill together, and they are taught that there are no limitations to their progress.
One martial arts instructor told the Sunday Express that children who enter her class as shy and insecure eventually being to carry themselves with more confidence. It’s this type of physical stature that will stop bullies in their tracks.
Mind Over Matter
In martial arts classes, kids are also shown that their size doesn’t matter. Even the smaller kids in the class are taught that their size isn’t a limitation to them. Succeeding at martial arts is all about determination and working hard, so students are taught that their achievements have little to do with their physical size.
Knowing this also helps to boost a child’s confidence, making them more likely to stand up to a bully at the first sign of intimidation. Sometimes, simply standing their ground is enough to turn a bully away, without ever resorting to any type of physical altercation.
If there ever is an instance where your child is bullied, martial arts training can help them find a peaceful solution to the problem. It is not uncommon for a child who is being victimized to lose their cool and engage in a physical fight. No parent wants to receive that dreaded phone call from the school, telling them that their kid has been in a fight, and engaging in martial arts can help stop this from ever happening.
Of course, martial arts classes for kids teach young people physical fighting skills but they are also taught that violence is not the solution to any problems. The confidence they develop in class stops them from feeling the need to prove themselves by engaging in violent behaviour, so they’ll be well equipped to find another way to deal with potential bullying.
On the Other Side of the Coin…
It’s one awful thing to find out that your child is being bullied, but it’s just as horrible to learn that your kid is the one doing the bullying. In the same way that martial arts can help your child deal with and avoid being bullied, the activity also has the power to stop young people from becoming bullies.
An Outlet for Aggression
A study by researchers at Yale University has found that children who have issues with aggression and anger are more likely to become bullies. Since physical activity is considered a great outlet out for aggression and stress, taking part in a martial arts class can help them control these emotions and put them to use in a positive way.
Any negative feelings that your child is dealing with can be worked off in their martial arts classes. They won’t take their aggressive behaviour with them to school or the playground, as they are repurposing it with a productive outcome.
Martial Arts Teaches Respect
When enrolled in a martial arts class for kids, respect is one of the most important aspects in the training process. Young people are taught to respect the other students, the instructor and themselves.
Martial arts are also a group activity where children learn and grow together. Your kid is likely to be involved in a class that includes all sorts of children from different backgrounds, and bonding with other students will teach them acceptance.
With this lesson instilled in them from a young age, kids will inherently respect other children. They learn to interact with others positively, supporting each other and learning together. This type of training teaches young people to be tolerant of others, and reduces any potential chance that they would engage in bullying behaviour.
Bullying is a major concern for most parents, but martial arts can help from just about any perspective. By enrolling your child in a martial arts class for kids, you can encourage them to develop skills and behaviour that can help to prevent bullying, teach them effective methods for dealing with bullies or stop your children from becoming bullies themselves.
On 10 October, 2018
If your child is known as the “shy kid”, it can be really tough going for them. Having low self-confidence can make life all the more difficult – but taking martial arts can help.
While you might think that engaging in martial arts only offers physical benefits, there are actually many ways in which this activity can improve mental health, as well. While learning physical skills and techniques, martial arts students are also being taught valuable lessons that can help them build their confidence over time. So, if your child is suffering from low self-confidence, martial arts has the potential to benefit them both immediately and in the long term.
They Will Have a Supportive Group Environment
By enjoying a shared experience, your child will be able to connect with other kids around their age. Even though they spar with one another at times, kids in martial arts classes are learning and growing together in an environment where they are taught to support each other. It is a great opportunity to bond and make new friends, which certainly helps to build their self-confidence.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Your child may not be tall enough to play basketball or they can’t run fast enough to play football – but those things don’t matter when they’re involved in martial arts. Whether your child is a little short for their age or they are little bit bigger than the other boys and girls, martial arts teaches them that their size doesn’t factor into their success.
It’s all about their determination and hard work, as they work to master techniques. Their focus and drive play a bigger role in their achievements than anything having to do with their physical size. As such, there’s no reason that you need to be a certain height or weight in order to have fun and thrive while learning martial arts.
So, if your child feels somewhat self-conscious about their size, taking a martial arts class can help to do away with those concerns. They’ll be able to learn new skills, make friends and achieve personal goals - without their size ever coming into the equation.
They Will Learn Positive Coping Skills
When a child is self-conscious, any stressful situation can knock their confidence. In martial arts classes, kids are taught to thrive under stress using calm and focus. They are taught to turn their negative emotions into positive progress, a coping mechanism that allows young people to feel more confident overall. So, in the future, when they encounter something stressful, they can use the same techniques that helped them succeed in martials to cope with a situation that has the potential to make them feel less confident.
Progress Over Perfection
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for young people to feel the need to be “perfect”. Even from a young age, kids today can feel pressured to look a certain way or achieve certain goals – and become frustrated and impatient if they don’t. As a result, their confidence can suffer.
When learning martial arts, perfection isn’t the goal; progress is. After all, no one becomes a martials arts master in a day. Taking part in these lessons teaches young people that as long as they’re making progress, there is something about themselves that they can be happy with. By learning this lesson through martial arts classes, your children will feel less pressured to achieve perfection in the outside world and be able to be satisfied with the fact that they are making progress.
Exercise Makes You Feel Better Overall
When you’re going through a tough time emotionally, many doctors recommend engaging in physical activity to boost your mood. This is because exercise stimulates brain chemicals that play an important role in regulating your mood. Endorphins are released, as well as serotonin and dopamine – all chemicals that make you feel better.
The same applies to young people. Research has shown that exercise improves mood and behaviour in children. Additionally, exercise changes where the brain directs its resources. When kids take part in martial arts and other physical activities, the brain’s resources are directed to areas that are involved in focus and coordination, rather than areas that are involved in anxiety and worrying.
Dr. Christina Hibbert, author of 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise says:
“Exercise not only offers the healthy calm energy we need for optimal behavior, it also allows us to work out stressful, anxious energy that may interfere with daily life.”
Martial arts have the ability to help kids work off the negative energy that they’re feeling. If they feel self-conscious about anything in their lives, taking part in martial arts classes for kids can help direct their thinking in a more positive direction.
What is the Best Age to Start Martial Arts?
If your child is suffering from self-confidence issues or you want them to start building their confidence from a young age, it is possible to get them involved in martial arts early on. There are many dojos that accept children.
Experts suggest that you can enrol you child in a martial arts classes for kids from the age of 7 or 8. Of course, it does depend on the child and it’s always important to take a sample class find out if they are ready. After the lesson, the instructor will be able to let you know whether now is the right time for your child to start out in martial arts.
When it comes to studying martial arts, the physical benefits are the most obvious ones – but, while your child trains, they’re also becoming more confident, happier and better able to cope with stressful situations. So, it is worth trying out a sample class to find out if taking martial arts is the best way to help build your child’s confidence.
On 3 October, 2017
According to Arthritis Research UK, not only are we living longer, but we’re also struggling for a greater period with any existing conditions towards the later stages of life. Dealing with the physical pain from conditions such as arthritis is an excruciating battle. Physical exercise has been proven to ease the symptoms, although exercise will be last thing anyone will want to do when suffering with joint pain. Tai Chi is a more relaxed, less intense form of Martial Art. Here are a few ways it’s known to help.
Why Tai Chi?
Dr Paul Lam has been an advocate of Tai Chi for arthritis for nearly 20 years. His website – Tai Chi For Health Institute states: “Although especially effective for arthritis, it is a great start for beginner to improve health and wellness. The program is proven to be effective to prevent falls, that is why health departments around the world have utilized it for this purpose.”
So why is Tai Chi perfect for sufferers of Arthritis? For a start, this martial art is almost meditative, which empathizes slow movements, gradual breathing patterns and improving balance.
If you have Arthritis and you’re worried about the impact on delicate knees or shoulder, the movements within Tai Chi do not put any stress on the limbs, despite being obviously physical.
There are many different forms of Tai Chi, with the most popular and well-practiced being the Yang-style. This is also very popular with beginners because of its freestyle physical coordination, adaptability and non-competitive nature.
Does it Work?
Generally, physical activity is thought of having no detriment to the symptoms of Arthritis. It’s even known to ease the onset of adverse physical disability. However, doing Tai Chi is not seen as a cure for Arthritis, and is only for supporting of any ailments. Maximizing strength in muscles will help protect bones, but also support and protect vital mobility when dealing with day to day activities.
Tai Chi is seen as of the more physically friendly sports for people suffering with all stages or forms of Arthritis. It can be a gateway to improving confidence in getting involved in sports or even other martial arts.
The movements used in Tai Chi are known to improve mobility, especially around hips, knees and shoulders. It’s completely safe to learn and helps build confidence if you’re anxious about falling – which is a prime concern with people who have arthritis.
Am I Ready?
If you have Arthritis, always make sure you consult with your doctor before partaking in anything that could be physically exhaustive. You can also contact your local Tai Chi instructor with any concerns you may have and you should be able to get into your course with full confidence.
Take things gradually. Even though there are slow movements, if you feel exhausted or feel physically fatigued, take a break. There’s no right or wrong.
Set yourself small goals. Tai Chi can be exhausting despite its gradual manoeuvres, but it’s good to enjoy in the practice by seeing as a collaborative sport involving your peers. There are also plenty of groups outside of the gymnasium.
Other Benefits of Tai Chi
Still being a physical exercise, you should see improvements with yourself feeling physically fit. And through learning all the core techniques that come with Tai Chi, practitioners have been known to feel more relaxed. Additionally, some practitioners have seen improvements in mental health too.
On 3 October, 2017
Perhaps your love for the nineties animation Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles encouraged you to produce your own brood of aspiring martial art trained little people… maybe not. But now they are with all the energy and potential they shall perhaps ever possess, you are looking for ways to channel these qualities into something productive. Martial arts classes can be a great solution to keeping your child regularly active as well as teaching them invaluable life skills.
Parents can often get a feel for their child’s personality and development very early on. The way a toddler plays together with other children is a big give away as to whether or not they will be interested in team type sports. You may feel football or rugby won’t be for them so individual focused sports martial arts may be more suited to their temperament. Although encouraging the meeting and interacting with other children, martial arts classes have less of the pressure and intimidation which often comes with team sports practice.
Many parents worry that martial arts based classes will promote violence, but they actually place heavy focus on using the mind to overcome an opponent rather than that of brute force. Self-defence techniques are taught to be used when needed, so parents can feel reassured that your child will perhaps be able to defend themselves in later life. Self-discipline and respect for others is prominent in martial arts teaching, values which can only benefit other areas of a child’s development.
Developing a child’s concentration and attention skills early will set them up for their academic future as well as improving behaviour imminently. Being presented with goal attainment situations such as the grading belts will get a child used to the testing systems they have to face in later life, making them less daunting.
In the hope that we have convinced you martial arts can be extremely beneficial for the early development of your child we now discuss some options in answer to the question what’s the best martial art for young children?
Karate places emphasis on using both the hands and feet for quick, sharp kicks and punches. The snappy movements do mean a child would have to warm up carefully and effectively. Also taught are defensive blocking techniques. Working all the muscles, Karate would be great for really active and energised children.
More military in style, Taekwondo teaches to be energized when there is a need for it alongside calming breathing techniques. This martial art form adheres to ‘6 tenets’ which are encouraged to be followed in all areas of life. Including courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit and victory values any parent can only look to encourage. Ideal for those children who love to be part of a ‘club’.
Taught as a competitive sport focusing on self-defence techniques which use opponents weight and strength against them. Involves partner work to get this right, so Jujitsu encourages social interaction and cooperation with other young children. Suited to those children with access anger or frustration, teaching them to channel this energy in the right environments. Jujitsu translates as ‘gentle art’ and says force should only be used in self-defence.
The gentler and non-competitive sister of Jujitsu. Similarly, children work together to practice different methods in a formal and never violent environment. One rule of Aikido is to never use force to oppose force. Children work through Kyu grades gaining them white, yellow, orange, green, blue then brown belts.
Kung Fu is a fast-paced martial art involving rigorous physical activity. Children receive an all-round aerobic workout which focuses on the mantra ‘achievement through great effort’. It teaches the pressure points on the body and how to use them to an advantage. Children work in close proximity and quick reflexes are ideal.
Tang So Doo
Perhaps the least know in our line-up, Tang So Doo is taught from the age of 4 upwards. Children learn self-discipline and confidence early on with this one. This martial art form is said to have positive effects on children’s concentration and increases their sense of self-worth.
Our selections present just a slice of what there is to offer young children when it comes to martial arts classes. See our full list of martial arts styles here, many of which tailor sessions for young children. Each child is different, so you may want to let them try out a few styles of classes before settling on one you’re both comfortable with. Playing to a child’s strengths is essential as well as looking for those forms which look to improve those areas in which a child is less developed. One thing that is said across the board is there are ‘no bad forms of martial art’ and there is more of an emphasis on placing children with the right instructor for them.
On 28 September, 2017
Tai Chi is a one of the less intensive styles of martial arts, and its roots lie in Taoist philosophy. It uses a combination of deep breathing with flowing movements - so it’s great relaxation as well as helping to maintain a flexible body. And that’s particularly the case for a more mature demographic.
But because Tai Chi stems from Taoist philosophy, its principles and approach can also enhance your life in ways you might not have considered. The physical techniques together with a different mental approach can help you shape a different outlook to life’s challenges. So, what are some of the added benefits of Tai Chi teachings?
Tai Chi utilities free-flowing, low-impact movements that work on various muscle groups, combined with breathing exercises. This mindful manner of exercising as a form of meditation proves to be especially relaxing in evenings, helping remove distracting thoughts and bringing a sense of calmness to practitioners. A common benefit that students report is the good night’s sleep that follows.
Calmness and improved mood
Tai Chi also improves a student’s mood during the day. One of the purposes of the martial art is to nurture a sense of calmness, a mind that is at peace with itself. That it is meditative in practice helps students in and of itself, but it also equips them with an approach to daily activities. But that’s also very closely linked to our next point.
Mindfulness is an everyday takeaway for this martial art. Nurturing calm focus on the exercises - doing them in there with manner, with the right movements - is an approach that can be applied to numerous activities. Whether it’s studying other things, or simply cooking a meal, the effective, meditative mindfulness when focussed on a task will bring greater enjoyment in the task itself, but also the calm and improved mood as highlighted above.
Over time Tai Chi reinforces key movements, and with that comes more awareness of, and improvements to, a student’s balance and control. Such an awareness of these elements, which is built up over time through practicing the martial art, can help to correct poor posture - from the way we sit to the way we walk. In this way, it's a preventative technique to benefit the young, as well as the older people for whom Tai Chi is very popular.
On 20 June, 2017
Yesterday, my ‘teamie’ Kelly and I embarked on a new challenge and attended our first Martial Arts class. Together we decided to give Kickboxing a try!
I’m not sure we could’ve chosen a hotter day to start our journey into Martial Arts as it was 32°c! As you can see, we were both already extremely warm before we had even started the class (we’re not usually that red!).
I’m nearly three months into my new role, and a lot of my time is spent shouting about the greatness of Martial Arts, so it was about time that I practiced what I preached.
We went along to a free trial and it was the sweatiest time of our lives, but one of the best activities I’ve personally done to date!
Typically I’m the ‘girly girl’ who hates exercising. The worst part of exercising for me is feeling sweaty, potentially breaking my nails and feeling like the unfittest person in the room. I went along to this class thinking it was going to be the longest hour of my life but I was pleasantly surprised.
I didn’t feel uncomfortable about my fitness levels as nobody even looked in my direction, let alone stared. Everybody was also super friendly and there was a variety of fitness abilities across the class, we were also paired accordingly. Although…the last few agonising squats ensured I couldn’t think about anything else!
Surprisingly I didn’t break any of my nails, and I was punching the pads as hard as I could (albeit, probably not very hard). I found that learning the correct techniques for jabbing, punching and kicking was the most exciting part of the class. I was most motivated during this time because Kelly and the Instructor, (who was fantastic and supportive to all students not just us newbies), were very encouraging.
Both Kelly and I were struggling to hold our giggles to begin with at each other’s attempts to kick and punch the pads - it’s a lot harder than you think, but I don’t have much hand to eye co-ordination so perhaps I’m not the best example!
Once the pad sessions had finished I was already feeling less stressed and a lot happier, another benefit of Martial Arts. I’m surprised how different your mood can be once you’ve spent half an hour punching and kicking something!
At the end of the lesson we were very sweaty, you can see this from the photo taken at least 5 minutes after the class had finished. However, I was still feeling motivated along with a sense of achievement, I genuinely really enjoyed myself. After just one lesson, Kickboxing opened my eyes, there’s actually a fun side of exercise, and sweating might actually be worth it!
Next week Kelly and I will be a fully-fledged members of our local Kickboxing school and we’ll be attending twice a week (hopefully not in 32° heat every time) so watch this space for both of our progress updates.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that it’s not an all-male orientated environment which some people, myself included, think (thought). There are also classes for females only if you’d prefer, but I wasn’t slightly intimidated by participating in a mixed gender class (despite all of the loud and unusual grunts).
Overall, I really enjoyed my first Kickboxing lesson and I’m already looking forward to my next one despite aching all over and feeling muscles I didn’t know even existed!
Make sure you visit our Get Into Martial Arts Facebook and Twitter pages. You’ll be able to see some of the benefits you could experience by attending your own local Martial Arts class which can be found here, and don’t forget to book your free trial lesson!
So that’s it until next time,