The choices can be overwhelming when there are so many different types of extracurricular activities available for children to enroll in. Which one will help them excel in school? Which one will equip them with skills for life? Which one would they enjoy and take a sense of pride in? A martial arts academy ticks all of these boxes. Apart from improving general fitness and being fun, there are many other benefits to training martial arts, and parents will see real changes in their child once they start attending.
Today, Evolve Daily shares the 5 Crucial Ways Martial Arts Will Change Your Child For The Better.
1) Improved coordination
Contrary to popular belief, most people aren’t born with coordination skills. These are practiced over time as children, usually through sports. Children are a sponge for learning, and childhood is the best time to develop traits such as coordination. Martial arts is like no other sport in developing coordination.
Coordination is developed through physical exercise that accesses both hemispheres of the brain. We often subconsciously do things on our favorite side (i.e. the the stronger side, depending on whether you are right or left handed). However, in BJJ in particular, positions and drills are practiced on both sides and often from side to side, repetitively. All movements can be done from both the left and right-hand side of the body and children will be encouraged to explore their options to develop an even coordination.
In Muay Thai, coordination is also very important and will be developed quickly by children. A kick may look like a simple movement, but the leg itself is only the tool being used to deliver impact. The secret behind a kick’s accuracy and power is utilizing the head, feet, and hip placement and learning how these move together to coordinate the kick onto the target.
With practice, coordination skills will be built inherently in children through martial arts.
2) Increased confidence
Confidence is not something that can be taught, it is not enough to learn and understand what it means, children have to actually experience it to become it, and the best way is to provide a class that does just that!
Children will build their confidence every time they show up to a martial arts class. Just bowing and stepping onto the mats takes courage, and every time they do it, they get stronger. Instructors always encourage students to ask for help if they need it, which builds assertiveness, a key ingredient in self-confidence and career success many more years down the road.
Each time a child progresses through belt rankings in BJJ, it builds an additional layer of self-confidence. They will learn that with a bit of work, determination, and confidence in their abilities, success can be obtained. They will also feel a tremendous amount of confidence being able to advance and play with the “big kids” as they become more experienced.
3) Willingness to listen and follow instructions
Focus plays a key role in the mindset of children who have limited attention spans at this stage in their lives. A martial arts gym is the ideal place to increase attention spans, decrease distractions, and build positive peer relationships, mainly due to the fact that respect is deeply rooted in its traditions.
Martial arts instructors have clear rules and constantly reinforce them. Classes are normally run with structured training techniques, which are easy for children to grasp. Instructors also emphasize good behavior both in and out of class by engaging children to listen and follow instructions in a fun and physical environment where children may not realize they are learning such important skills.
As a result of martial arts, children will improve their ability to stay focused, and become astute listeners in the gym, at home, and at school.
4) Appreciation for teamwork
Although martial arts focuses on individual progress, no progress can be made without instructors and peers. Unlike team sports where competitiveness with winning and losing can outshine the values of teamwork, in martial arts it is continuous improvement that is the ultimate aim. Classes in BJJ and Muay Thai often end with a bow, and a handshake or clap to everyone in the class, which both pays respect to the instructors and instills a sense of teamwork, having learned and gotten through the class together.
Children will make friends for life when they begin martial arts and will feel pride and a sense of belonging to the gym they attend. Children will also come to appreciate that their parents, the ones who are on time for pick ups and drop offs to and from the gym each week — because they are a part of the team too!
5) Become more independent
Becoming more independent is a residual effect from all the other great changes mentioned above that you will see in your child. With greater coordination, focus, confidence, and an improved team mindset, children will naturally become more independent. Gone are the days your child will be hanging onto your leg for dear life crying at the top of their lungs because you are attempting to leave them in a supervised setting.
Martial arts requires children to be self-reliant and independent. As they start attending more classes, children will set personal goals and realize they can only be achieved through their own will and that there are no short cuts. Learning how to do a technique and progressing to the next level is completely based on the commitment put in by them.
Independence is one of the greatest lessons you can pass on to your child; it will greatly contribute to their successes later in life and martial arts can greatly assist in this effort.
Almost any child can and will benefit from training martial arts. You will see real changes in your child that will shadow them to future success in life. Still sitting on the fence in consideration? Let us also note that all children (and most adults) think martial arts is super cool, and it gives children an edge over their friends. Do it for your child, introduce these positive influences into their life, and sign them up for a trial class today!