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.
Obviously, similar scenarios exist in other sports, too. A child who doesn’t pay attention in football could get hit by the ball. In rugby, it might mean running into another player.
When sparring, every child is extremely incentivised into remaining focused. If they don’t, they might get a reminder in the form of a – padded – kick. It won’t be serious enough to cause a bruise, but it’s something they’ll want to prevent a second time. The only way to do this is by focusing in on the present moment.
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 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!