Are you considering entering your child into a Martial Arts program?
We’ll dive deep into the benefit of involvement for kids and Martial Arts. I touched briefly on my personal experience with my son and Martial Arts in the Martial Arts and Evil article.
As I mentioned in that article, even if my own wife who married a man that’s on a lifelong Martial Arts journey can be hesitant, what about others who aren’t personally connected to our world? Many parents who are unfamiliar with Martial Arts may be apprehensive with entering their child into such programs.
Perhaps you found this article because you are contemplating signing your son or daughter up for Martial Arts lessons. More than likely you are doing your research on the benefits for your child, cost, and what results you can expect.
The individual need for kids and Martial Arts programs can have a wide range of options.
There is no way I can outlay the cost for you as depending on where you live and what programs you are signing them up for pricing can vary greatly. I can speak to the other results and will lay out as much statistical data that I can find from respected sources.
Will Martial Arts Help My Child In School?
The short answer is yes.
Your child will learn focus and memorization skills as they complete repetitive drills and forms. Discipline, as dojos will focus on traditional values and respect. Goal setting and effort as your child will have belts and ranks that they will strive to achieve.
They will earn these by consistent demonstration of techniques and will know the value of accomplishments through hard work and dedication. The confidence they gain through Martial Arts will carry over to other areas of their lives including school.
Respect for authority and their other peers will reflect in the classroom and transition over time as they become adults. A report from the CDC shows how keeping your child active will help them in their studies. Added benefits from the discipline involved in Martials Arts will only help to magnify these results.
Kids and Martial Arts programs seem to be a successful marriage.
Will Martial Arts Make My Child Aggressive?
In contrast involving your child in Martial Arts will provide them a safe outlet for their pent up energy. Martial Arts teaches self control and discipline and will foster your child’s ability and understanding of peaceful conflict resolution.
The National Institute of Health did several studies on the social-psychological outcomes of Martial Arts among youths. Many of these studies were conducted around aggressiveness and anger in youths and adolescents. A very comprehensive report that detailed individual Martial Art styles instead of a broad picture of all the Arts.
Consistently Martial Arts showed an improvement in a child’s behavior. When compared to youths who participated in other sports, Martial Arts consistently showed better results in a child’s behavior and mannerisms.
What About Bully Prevention?
One of the most common reasons for involving your child in Martial Arts has always been bully prevention. In the next section I’m going to breakdown the more common Martial Arts and what to expect your child to gain from them.
Obviously, the arts that focus more on Martial Skill and live sparring will give your child a more direct way to physically defend themselves from bullying. The more indirect way your child will be able to defend themselves is in the self confidence they will gain.
Surprisingly, how they carry themselves and interact with other children can prevent being bullied even more than actually learning how to fight.
A study was done by surveying prisoners in the U.S.
Prisoners were shown photos of men and women of varying size, ethnicity, and color. The prisoners were asked to pick out individuals that they would more likely select for a robbery or mugging.
Remarkably they did not select their victims by size or gender but chose them on how they appeared to carry themselves. People who stood up straight, had their shoulders back, head up, and appeared to walk with a purpose, and be confident were less likely to be victims. The photos with individuals with their heads down, hunched over, hands in their pockets, and didn’t appear to want to make eye contact were more likely to be attacked.
The self confidence your child will learn and exuberate will deter more bullies then their ability to physically defend themselves.
With continued training this will carry over into their adult life. Giving you more sense of security when they start to leave your home and go out on their own.
What Kind Of Martial Arts Should I Involve My Child With?
There are many types of Martial Arts you can involve your child with. I will lay out the most common Martial Arts that people practice and a general overlay of what they are about.
Karate is what would be considered a “striking” art. It predominantly focuses on punches and kicks.
Forms, also called Katas will be taught that your child will need to learn to progress in belt ranks. One of the most popular styles for both adults and children to be active in.
Karate can be a very effective way to learn how to physically defend yourself. Often times however it is not taught as such.
If you are looking to get your child started in Karate, take advantage of its popularity. Depending on your location I’m willing to bet there are multiple dojos that would be convenient for you.
Almost every school will offer a free class or free week.
Take your child to a couple of schools and find the right blend of Martial Skill and Martial Art that fits both you and your child’s need.
The “gentle way” is another popular art for your child to be involved with. Judo would be categorized as a “grappling” art and focuses on throws and bringing your opponent to the ground. As an olympic sport the bar for achievement can be set high if your child wishes to compete.
Judo is very effective as a self defense system. Brazilian Ju-Jitsu which has grown into one of the most popular forms of self defense stems from Judo.
Tae Kwon Do
Much like my review on Karate, Tae Kwon Do is extremely popular and you can probably find several schools that are convenient for you.
A striking art that focuses more on kicks then punches. The level of practical self defense training can vary from school to school. I’d again recommend taking advantage of the free classes to find the school that’s appropriate for your child.
There are many styles of Kung Fu available for your child to train. Kung Fu is a stand up art that will focus heavily on forms, blocks, and mental concentration.
For a child that might be restless or hyperactive this could be a great art for them. There is a heavy emphasis on mental conditioning and alertness. You should see a dynamic increase on your child’s ability to concentrate and focus.
In most Kung Fu that is taught, the practicality in a self defense situation is questionable. If that is your goal with your child you might wish to search for a different art.
Mental focus however, Kung Fu may be one of your best options.
Ju-Jitsu is a grappling art that has transformed over the centuries. Originating in Japan in the 1500’s as an unarmed counterattack to swords, spears, and other weapons. Ju-Jitsu (known then as JuJutsu) focused on throwing and immobilizing your opponent, also joint locks and chokes.
As Ju-Jitsu developed in Brazil and now the U.S. the art has became a ground fighting system. Very beneficial for allowing a smaller individual to subdue and defend themselves against a larger opponent.
Self defense and Martial Skill is a high emphasis for Ju-Jitsu dojos. You can expect that your child will learn techniques that will work for them if they are in a self defense situation.
With the growth and popularity of Ju-Jitsu many schools now advertise that they offer Ju-Jitsu. Unfortunately, they are sometimes not qualified Ju-Jitsu instructors and are just trying to “cash in” on advertising a trendy art. Your best bet is to go to a stand alone Ju-Jitsu dojo instead of a Karate dojo or some other art that advertises they teach Ju-Jitsu as well.
I can’t emphasize enough that almost every school offers a free class, week, or month. You should take advantage of this free offering and find the dojo that suits your needs.
Is Martial Arts Safe For My Child?
No activity in this world is 100% injury proof. Relatively speaking, kids and Martial Arts is a safe practice. As a parent of a child who trains Martial Arts, I feel confident that the positive benefits heavily outweigh the minimal risks.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released information on the safeness of Martial Arts and kids involvement. Also included is common injuries and injury prevention.
Martial Arts will help your child achieve more in life.
They will gain an increase in confidence, better social skills, and discipline. You should expect to see an increase in focus and concentration for completing activities. Their motor skills will increase as well from the skills they learn in Martial Arts.
All these skills and habits lead to improvements at school and should carry over into adulthood.