Children can benefit from martial arts training, especially for children and teenagers. Martial arts benefits a Child’s physical, mental, and social attributes, of which are improved through martial arts training.
Physical benefits include the following: · Physical fitness · Personal security
Mental benefits include the following: · Learning abilities · Goal setting · Discipline
Social benefits include the following: · Camaraderie · Self-esteem · Respect · Calming
Naturally, these benefits also apply to most adults as well. However, developing these attributes early in life contributes to a healthy, happy adulthood. That’s why it’s even more important to get those kids kicking.
Martial arts develops cardiovascular fitness as well as muscular strength also a heightened sense of balance, as well as learning specific skills to avoid injury. Martial arts classes exercise all joints and muscle groups. Classes usually begin with warmups, then stretching, followed by intense exercise and a subsequent cooldown. Regular training causes incremental improvements in fitness.
This increased awareness helps them defend themselves against bullies, and by understanding Martial Arts they can protect themselves without force.
Basic martial arts training always involves learning how to avoid physical damage in a confrontation–whether by blocking a punch, evading a strike by moving out of the way, or checking the incoming limb before it can reach full-speed.
Martial arts training also involves awareness of how attacks occur. In training to spar, students learn how to detect the beginning of an incoming punch or kick: the subtle weight shift to a support leg, or a change in focus in their opponent’s gaze. Translate such awareness to the street, and kids learn to watch what’s in a stranger’s hands–is it a weapon? They learn to size up a potential opponent, and decide the best countermeasures–perhaps it’s better to cross the street before you pass that shady-looking character.
Martial arts training doesn’t just improve physical attributes. One of the more renowned benefits of martial arts training is the mental workout. Focus…is Key
Learning to execute the complex and foreign techniques of martial arts requires extreme mental focus. Students need to concentrate under pressure; whether they’re directing energy into a difficult board break or ensuring that a technique is executed crisply and correctly. Students often find this focus is applicable to academic studies as well, citing improved concentration and focus, even under stress as in college entrance examinations. Martial arts training also requires extensive memorization of terms and techniques. Many martial arts terms are in a foreign language–it’s not uncommon for young students to be able to count in Korean as easily as in their native tongue. Pre-arranged sequences of techniques, must be memorized–not only to replicate each technique in the proper sequence, but also with correct execution and with an understanding of its implementation in combat.
Aiding such learning is the repetition used to ingrain martial arts techniques into students’ muscle memories. These instructional techniques: repetition leading to memorization and then testing the implementation of that knowledge (for example, through belt exams, kata interpretation, or sparring), are adaptable to academic settings as well.
Learning martial arts is learning made fun.
Many martial arts divide the various stages of ability into ranks by coloured belts, ranging from the white belt of a new beginner to the black belt of a senior student.
Advancing One Step at a Time
The requirements for each belt level are defined in detail and represent incremental improvement in that martial art. Successive belt ranks require more difficult and comprehensive knowledge, and represent new challenges to overcome.
Kids learn to take on new learning in chunks; by dividing up all the knowledge needed to master a martial art into sections, they can take on each section as they become able. Upon passing the tests required to receive the next level, they can look forward to the next belt level, and so on.
Learning to tackle complex and comprehensive bodies of knowledge by breaking them down into smaller portions is a skill that can help outside the martial arts as well, whether it’s learning to swim or learning calculus.
The regimented nature of martial arts instruction fosters a deep sense of self-discipline in students. One can’t become a legitimate black belt overnight, and so students learn that their goals will require patience, hard work, and dedicated study over several years. The message is that if it’s worth anything, it’s worth working hard for.
Martial arts training have become popular for children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) because of the training moderates some ADD traits. Martial arts training can teach students self-control and concentration–in order to perform a technique correctly, students must focus intensely on their task. Furthermore, the self-confidence gained through martial arts training lets ADD kids feel able and “normal”, not burdened by the stigma of being labeled with a “deficit.”
Discipline, to many people, is all about doing what you must do even when you don’t want to do it. Martial arts training instills such discipline by showing a path of rewards for hard work, and the benefits of doing that extra few reps.
Martial arts students feel a strong sense of camaraderie with their fellow students. This feeling of fellowship is based primarily on shared experiences and surpassing of challenges, but is also based in tradition.
In historical times, instructors taught the martial arts only to those students the instructors deemed worthy. To endear themselves to the instructor, prospective students would often have to perform menial labor or perform the most basic techniques for hours–showing that they were humble, patient, and honest. Today, most students don’t need to undergo these tests before they can start training, but the sense that the martial arts are special, and learning martial arts is a special privilege, remains.
Many martial arts classes are held as a few parents have noted, “like the old one-room schoolhouse”. Although kids of different ages and belt levels are segregated into their own smaller groups, most children’s classes are held with all kids together in the same room. Kids at a lower rank can look over at the senior students practicing their forms–even when the lower-ranked kids haven’t yet learned those techniques.
Martial artists feel a sense of esprit de corps with other martial artists and particularly with students of their own style.
Self-esteem is largely based on a student’s self-worth, if students feel capable, able, and confident, then they enjoy a healthy self-esteem. Martial arts training build’s self-esteem by providing small challenges that build incremental successes. Students learn that they can overcome the challenges as they improve in their training.
Many martial artists note that before they began training, they were awestruck and amazed by the seemingly superhuman feats that their instructors or senior students were able to perform. Yet after just a few months of study, they progress to a level where they too can do things they would have thought impossible. Challenges like breaking a board, are surpassed and students feel a surge of pride in themselves and their abilities. As a result, they feel capable and alive.
Also, the physical security provided by martial arts training builds confidence–students do not have to worry any longer about the bully at school. This confidence enables students to feel better about themselves and their reactions to conflict.
One thing newcomers to the martial arts notice immediately when visiting a school for the first time is the numerous expressions of respect. “There’s all that bowing,” they might remark. Showing respect is intrinsic to the martial arts, and is a core facet of the cultures from which many martial arts originate.
Students show respect to each other, their instructor, and even to their school upon joining each class session. Sometimes it’s a simple bow, in other styles it’s a salute of some kind. The gesture encompasses several messages: gratitude, for the learning the student receives, and respect, an acknowledgement of the other person’s abilities.
Regardless of the ritual, almost all martial arts teach students to value age, rank, expertise, and experience. Respecting those who know more than you do (greater expertise), and have proven it (higher rank) shows that you are worthy of them teaching you their knowledge. This respect for instructors and senior students can often carry over to classes in regular schools as well.
The martial arts are very calming–a trait that may seem contradictory to those who just see the martial arts as violence. Most senior martial artists are the coolest, calmest characters around.
Martial arts classes, because of their intense workouts, allow students to release nervous energy until they are drained from the exertion. Working up a good sweat has always been a great way to diffuse anger. Adding punches and kicks, especially against a heavy bag or foam shield, is even better.
Some martial arts use a ritual shout, known as a kihap in Korean styles, made at the moment of attack. While the shout is meant to improve one’s focus and breathing when delivering a technique, or to startle and frighten an opponent, it also serves to release the student’s tension and nervous energy.
Many martial arts include meditation as part of the curriculum. Meditation, or training the mind to achieve a calmer, empty state, allows martial artists to relax fully.
Experienced martial artists exhibit calmness outside of the training hall as well. This inner peace is due to several factors, but is probably a result of experiencing stressful situations when learning self-defense or sparring–and overcoming them. The confidence gained through mastery of martial arts techniques also lends itself to keeping calm in stressful situations.
While the reasons for studying martial arts apply to all kids, there’s special reasons why girls should learn martial arts. Girls often don’t have the same avenues as boys for developing self-confidence or exhibiting mastery. Boys are channeled into sports at young ages, finding spots on Little League baseball teams or pee wee football squads. Without similar sports opportunities, girls are left with just academic, social, and family settings to build assertiveness and self-esteem.
Martial arts techniques are often easier for young girls to learn than young boys, a girl’s natural flexibility is an advantage over boys the same age. In some arts, upper-body strength, usually a male advantage, is not as important as lower-body strength, usually a female advantage. As a result, girls can enjoy a unique pride in their abilities–they can think, “if I can do as well as a boy in TaeKwonDo, I can do as well as a boy in maths class.”
COURTESY-to promote the spirit of mutual concessions, to be polite to one another, to encourage the sense of justice, to distinguish Instructor from student.
INTEGRITY-ability to define right from wrong, and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt.
PERSEVERANCE-a serious student must learn not to be impatient: to continue steadfastly, to persevere.
SELF-CONTROL-this tenet is extremely important inside and outside of the Do Jang whether conducting ones’ self in free-sparring or in ones personal affairs. A loss of ones’ self control can prove disastrous to both student and opponent.
INDOMITABLE SPIRIT-a serious student will at all times be modest and honest. If confronted with injustice, he will deal with the belligerence without any fear or hesitation at all, with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number may be.
I shall observe the tenets of Taekwondo.
I shall respect the instructors and all seniors.
I shall never misuse Taekwondo.
I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.
I shall build a more peaceful world.