February 2015 News Archives

On 10 February, 2015

Knowing which types of exercise are right for your children can be a complicated matter.

It goes without saying that you want your child to be fit and healthy, but you also want them to stay safe. More than that, you want them to always be happy. But if you are looking for sports activities for a child who suffers from ADHD or similar conditions, then balancing fitness, safety, and achievements becomes even more important. The answer to this puzzle means understanding the nature of exercise as well as you understand your own child's needs. And it may surprise you to learn that one of the most beneficial choices for your child is a sport that you have probably never even considered: martial arts.

The idea that martial arts can help your child's concentration is not a new one, and anecdotal evidence in support of its benefits are abundant both amongst psychology professionals, and in the wider world. Parents and children both make a convincing case that regular martial arts classes can train a young mind to find focus and stability, whilst psychologists with an understanding of martial arts (such as the above-referenced Michael J Formica), have investigated the phenomenon of martial arts training for children with ADHD.

So how exactly will your child benefit from studying one of the martial arts? The answer to this lies in the fundamental nature of the martial arts training process.

Every sport has its own, unique approach to training: whether it is technique and skills development for ball games, team building drills for co-operative play, or straightforward stamina, fitness and muscle development for athletes. Martial arts builds each of these elements, whilst also improving your child's focus and levels of concentration. This “mind training” can be attributed as much to the discipline of the martial arts class as to the physical training itself: providing structured learning and clear goals. It has perhaps been put best by Dr. John J. Ratey, a professor of clinical psychology at Harvard Medical School, who talked to the New York Times in December 2000: “This is not a cure, but it is certainly a useful intervention.”

A child with ADHD has a number of special requirements which means they can excel at some areas of sports and athletics, but may equally become quickly frustrated by other areas. Even the world's top athletes know that the secret to success is as much a case of setting realistic, attainable goals as it is about testing the boundaries of your own, personal limits. Striking the perfect balance between enjoyment and attainment is the key to unlocking your child's potential and them finding fulfilment in exercise. Along with the discipline of the lessons, the main strength behind martial arts classes is the emphasis on the controlled release of energy.

When we began, we talked about safety, and it is always a point of concern for parents. No doubt many will be nervous about sending their own children to martial arts classes but, in reality, martial arts is an incredibly safe activity. Trainers do not simply supervise classes so much as actively lead them, and personal progress is monitored throughout a child's training. Your child is never pushed into advancing before they are prepared; in fact, your child finding his or her own pace to develop at is one of the core character-building facets of the study of martial arts. The combined sense of clear goals, tangible achievements, and improved self-confidence have been described as like a therapy for children with ADHD, providing them with the confidence to achieve their goals. Though perhaps not a miracle cure, there is little doubt that martial arts are a pathway: a journey to a healthy body and a peaceful mind.

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On 18 February, 2015

If you're trying to get fit and trim down, you're likely to have considered reforming your diet and taking up some form of exercise.

1 Calorie burning during classes

Kickboxing is a relatively high-impact form of exercise that involves almost the full body. Despite the name, punches and upper-body movements feature heavily alongside large leg movements and defensive footwork. All of this effort allows someone who weighs as little as 9 stone to burn an average of 600 calories (kC) per hour during kickboxing practice. Obviously, if you're starting at a higher weight, you'll burn even more!

2 Calorie burning after classes

After performing a protracted session of a high-impact sport such as kickboxing, your metabolism can stay raised for several hours. In this time, you could burn up to 20% of the calories that you spent during your exercise session - a fabulous bonus that comes at no extra effort!

3 Strength

Well-defined muscles, while weighing more than the equivalent portion of fat, both look better and help to burn more calories! Kickboxing is especially good for encouraging shoulder and arm muscle development but will not promote "bulging" muscles or create an imbalanced look because of the way the whole body is used.

4 Core muscles

In addition to arm strength, and perhaps more importantly, kickboxing's martial art focus promotes good core muscle development. These help to protect your back and provide abdominal strength. As well as improving the appearance of your stomach, good abdominal development helps with balance and energy, as it ensures you're not wasting your strength compensating for poor muscular support.

5 Cardiovascular health

As well as being a full-body high-impact sport, kickboxing gives your insides a good workout. Committing to a good kickboxing training programme that includes breathing and strength exercises will provide a workout for your entire cardiovascular system, strengthening your heart and encouraging good circulation to help protect your extremities and, as another bonus, improving your body's natural rate of calorie burning.

6 Support

Trying to lose weight on your own can be difficult, as can keeping up a solitary exercise programme. By choosing a sport that can be practiced in groups, you can provide yourself with an automatic support group to help you stick to your goals. Whether you want to stick solely to exercise classes or have ambitions to join a competitive martial arts team, the effects of working with your peers are likely to be significant and enable you to meet your goals more easily.

7 Confidence

By incorporating kickboxing into your weight loss plan, you can give yourself an automatic confidence boost by training by with your teacher and your class to develop skills and techniques. Your physical confidence is likely to improve even more quickly than your fighting technique.

Mentally, it's also helpful to realise that you have chosen to take care of yourself by developing these skills. All of the achievements in terms of weight loss and fitness development that you can develop through dedication to your kickboxing regime are a result of your own dedication and work - how's that for an ego boost?

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On 19 February, 2015

Parents may shy away from letting their child learn martial arts because they believe it could encourage their child to be more aggressive.

However, learning martial arts can be very beneficial to both the physical and mental development of children. There are lots of different types of martial arts that children can choose and they can be practiced by children as young as five years old. Here are 4 reasons why your child should learn martial arts and why it’s so beneficial for them.

Your Child will Become More Active

Helping your child stay fit can be a problem when there are other distractions like YouTube and console games. Martial arts can help children to stay active while helping them develop physically too.

Learning Focus

It’s natural to think that Martial Arts is about learning self defence skills but it really is more. Martial Arts teach children the skills they need to focus and teach children to think before they act. These skills can come in useful in all parts of a child’s life such as school work or being able to manage tricky situations or confrontation.

Gain Self Confidence

Martial arts are extremely engaging and children learn confidence and self respect along the way. Children gain a confidence every time they manage to complete a move or move up to the next grade in their training helping them to feel a sense achievement which in turns helps them build their confidence.

Connecting with Other Students

Learning martial arts gives children the opportunity to make friends and have fun. Your child will be able to make connections with other children in ways that they never could by simply watching television or playing computer games. Children who practice martial arts together often form strong bonds that will stay with them throughout the course of their lives. Most martial arts schools also arrange a wide range of social activities such as tournaments between other schools, where you child will have the chance to meet a lot of other children. After these tournaments the children are often taken out for food, giving them the perfect opportunity to socialise and make new friends.

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