There are lots of activities that kids can be involved in. Soccer, swim team, ballet, gymnastics – my kids have done them all. Rarely have they been involved in a sport that I think holds life lasting benefits – until now. About a year ago, my teenage daughter asked if she could join the muay thai classes that her girlfriend was enrolled in, and I agreed. Well, it’s been such a great learning experience for her that I’ve now enrolled two more of my children in classes. They love the instructors, who make every class exciting, and the self-defense that they’ve learned has been amazing. The instructors keep tabs on all of the students, asking about grades and behavior at home and reinforcing the desired behaviors.
The study of martial arts is far more than an extracurricular activity – it’s a unique training program that empowers children with techniques and strategies for lifelong success. Martial arts classes help children learn discipline, self-control, self-confidence, respect, concentration and courtesy. It’s awesome to see a group of 30 kids stand at attention and belt out, “Yes, SIR!” Kind of gives me hope that the grunts and groans I usually hear will not last forever!
There are other benefits as well:
- Many martial arts schools also offer leadership courses for kids, in conjunction with their karate for kids programs, or similar lessons.
- Martial arts is ideal for children who do not do well in team sports, giving them the ability to flourish this activity, while combining physical and mental practices.
- Many do not realize this, but martial arts training is safer than most school sports. My kids have learned how to fall correctly to minimize injury and also how to successfully overpower a much larger opponent without fear. The gym that they train at is well padded and maintained.
- Children with special needs, such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), learning difficulties and hyperactivity are often recommended to participate in martial arts for kids because of the clear benefits in its structured training techniques. I’ve seen this first hand with my son, who has a slow processing speed and needs extra time to focus; his speed has improved dramatically, as well as his overall ability to focus.
Not only all of those benefits, but the kids just look so gosh darned cute taking class!
June 9th, 2009