Some parents are put off at the thought of enrolling their kids in martial arts due to a misguided belief that martial arts training will lead to violence and aggression for their child or even serious injury.
My folks thought exactly the same way back when I was still a kid and wanted to learn martial arts.
No matter how much I begged and pleaded with them to let me study martial arts, they would have none of it.
Luckily though, my rebellious and stubborn nature prevailed and I managed to convince my parents to let me study martial arts eventually and was able to reap all of the great rewards associated with studying martial arts.
Many parents may not actually know about all of these great benefits that martial arts can bring into a child’s life and thus deprive their child of this opportunity to experience these added benefits.
But what exactly are these so-called benefits associated with studying martial arts and should you enroll your child in martial arts training at all?
They Get Physical Activity
With child obesity rates at a staggering 18.5% in the USA according to the CDC and gym classes getting canned at schools, physical activity is now more important than ever.
Not only is being physically inactive not healthy for your child but it can lead to childhood obesity and a whole plethora of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Most parents only consider the traditional forms of exercise and physical activity such as playing sports or going to the gym as a way of preventing weight gain and obesity but martial arts training as a remedy for combating obesity should not be ignored.
Also, consider the fact that not every child enjoys going to the gym and doing laps around the track or playing sports.
I know for me personally growing up, I hated sports and still don’t enjoy it as an adult.
Now, martial arts on the other hand, I have always loved ever since I was a child and there’s absolutely no lack of motivation when it comes to learning it.
In a typical martial arts class, your child will learn a variety of different techniques and drills that involve using various bodyparts in their bodies.
Kicking, punching, blocking, sparring are all physically active activities that will help keep your child active all throughout the lesson, and who knows, maybe if they fall in love with the art, they may even choose to practice it at home.
All of this punching and kicking is a great way for your child to burn off those extra calories from eating all of that junk food you have lying around the house and prevent weight gain.
And unlike typical gym classes or sports, most martial arts programs are actually quite fun for children and they can easily make friends there as well.
So rather than allowing your child to remain sedentary at home playing some mindless videogames that add zero value to their lives, why not enroll your child in martial arts instead?
Improves Their Body Composition
Kids can be one of the meanest and cruelest bullies when it comes to body image and your child could be at the receiving end of bullying if they don’t quite have the ideal physique that society dictates that we have.
Luckily, martial arts training can have a huge positive profound effect on body composition.
If you look around, most martial artists tend to have healthy body compositions.
Guys like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Billy Blanks, Jet Li, etc, all have decent to great physiques.
A lot of children and adults that are overweight and enroll in a martial arts class, tend to see significant improvements in their body compositions only after a few months of training.
In fact, I remember returning back to Taekwondo training after taking a long break from martial arts and within a few months, another classmate of mine mentioned how much weight I had lost and how much my physique had improved.
I was arguably in the best shape while I was studying Taekwondo at that time and as soon as I stopped, the weight returned.
When your child studies martial arts, not only will they be shedding off all of those pounds, they will also be improving their strength and muscular endurance and conditioning as well.
I remember seeing a lot of children struggling to perform push-ups and sit-ups in the children’s class when they first started, however, within a few months, they were all able to do multiple reps of each exercise.
Helps Release Pent-Up Energy in Kids
Research has shown that giving kids recess and a period of time to play and release all of their pent-up energy can actually be quite beneficial for managing their behavior.
In one study that looked at the amount of recess time given to 8 and 9 year kids in the States and their classroom behavior found that kids that were given recess time that was greater or equal to 15 minutes a day led to better classroom behavior.
Kids in general, tend to have a lot more energy compared to adults and that energy needs a good release otherwise you will have a bunch of rowdy kids around the house.
At school, this is much easier due to having recess and free play time in class with other kids, however, once your child arrives back home, this is a completely different story.
Physical activity such as martial arts helps a highly hyperactive child release a good amount of energy and thus calming them down, making your life as a parent much easier.
If you want an easier life as a parent with a calmer child causing fewer issues who are more disciplined then you need to start signing up your child for martial arts lessons.
They Develop Self-Discipline and Self-Control
Kids will be kids.
There’s no doubt about that.
This includes monkeying around and doing immature things that someone around their age would typically do.
However, this doesn’t mean that they cannot be taught self-discipline and self-control either.
In fact, right from the get-go, most kids are taught self-discipline in a martial arts class.
When you first enter a martial arts school such as a Dojang, you are required to bow, and when you see an instructor, bowing is required to show respect.
In class, students need to line up in order of rank, and they are also given commands throughout the class such as performing push-ups or kicking drills.
If a student does not listen to the instructor they will receive punishment, usually in the form of extra push-ups or having a time out in a corner.
This quickly instills discipline in kids and teaches them to obey commands.
Furthermore, because studying martial arts involves striking, kids are taught to show self-control and restraint when sparring with a partner or practicing drills.
If a student were to not exercise self-control in those situations, they run the risk of injuring another student. Therefore self-control is of utmost importance for students.
If you currently have a child that lacks self-discipline and control, then martial arts training would be the perfect solution to instilling this much-needed discipline in your child and making your life a whole lot easier as a parent.
They Learn Conflict Resolution
Rather than using their fists or legs for every physical confrontation, children will be taught to find other ways to resolve conflict.
Most instructors at martial arts schools are against their students using martial arts to resolve matters unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Rather instead, students are taught to think with their minds instead of their fists and to show humility in everyday interactions.
And because students are taught humility, their egos do not run amok and they do not feel the need to prove themselves to anyone as they already know what they are capable of doing based on their training unlike the school bully with self-esteem issues who tries to pick fights with people because of how deeply insecure they are with themselves.
And research has supported this claim.
In one study, researchers looked at the effects of traditional Taekwondo training ( physical + psychological/philosophical aspect) on juvenile delinquents vs two other groups (modern Taekwondo training that involved only the physical aspect of training) and a control group that had no Taekwondo training at all. They found the first group that received traditional Taekwondo training to exhibit decreased aggressiveness, lowered anxiety, increased self-esteem, increased social adroitness, and also an increase in value orthodoxy.
It’s quite ironic isn’t it?
You study martial arts and learn a tonne of deadly moves that can put anyone on a stretcher, however, through studying martial arts especially when combined with the moral and philosophical aspect of it, you actually develop other means of conflict resolution instead, and very rarely do you ever apply it outside of class.
In fact, I think I’ve only seen a small handful of incidences where students were forced to use their training outside of class when dealing with bullies.
Most students of martial arts are actually quite humble and show a lot of self-control.
Does your child suffer from self-confidence and self-esteem issues?
Well, martial arts may be able to help your child out.
Through overcoming challenges in class such as trying to master a technique or getting experience sparring with a partner, your child will develop unshakable self-confidence in class that will be carried forward into all aspects of their life.
Most kids that start out in martial arts tend to be quite shy and timid, however, through their training they are able to develop self-confidence in themselves and able to come out of their shells over time.
Suddenly that shy kid that was always quiet turns into the Kiai screaming attention-grabber at tournaments wowing crowds.
It Improves Concentration
Martial arts training is as much about mastering your mind and psyche as it is about mastering your body.
Several research studies have demonstrated that martial arts training can improve concentration in children such as the one by Diamond and Lee, (2011) which looked at several interventions such as martial arts training to improve executive function development in children.
Because martial arts training oftentimes requires us to focus our mental energies in order to execute certain techniques, our brains get trained over time to develop better concentration and focus when in class.
A perfect example of this is trying to break a wooden board during testing for a belt promotion.
A lot of focus and concentration is required in order to break the hard object without injuring oneself.
This can translate and spillover quite well over to your child’s academic performance where they will be better able to concentrate in class and achieve better grades.
They Will Learn Patience and Perseverance
Mastering a martial art is no small feat and requires years of dedicated practice.
A child will undoubtedly go through failure after failure on their martial arts journey and through this journey, they will develop patience and perseverance.
Rather than getting instant gratification, a child will learn that they need to put in hard work and to remain patient in order to get what they want out of life which will help provide them with much-needed life lessons.
Maybe they might fail a belt promotion test or maybe they will suffer a defeat at a martial arts tournament to an opponent.
If they give up and just throw in the towel, they will learn very quickly that they won’t ever achieve their goals in life with this sort of attitude.
Instead, through time, they will learn to persevere and continue working at their goals while remaining patient until eventually succeeding at conquering their goals.
Should You Enroll Your Child in Martial Arts?
Based on these benefits that we discussed here in this article, I would absolutely say you should enroll your child in martial arts training.
Martial arts training offers a tonne of benefits for your child including both physical and mental.
Rather than allowing your child’s brain to rot watching mindless television or playing video games for hours, why not give them something of much higher value instead that will not only provide them with several benefits but will also teach them many of life’s lessons.
In this article, we looked at what happens when you enroll your child in martial arts and whether or not you should enroll your child in martial arts training.
Here’s a quick recap of what happens when you let your child learn martial arts:
- They get physical activity
- It improves their body composition
- Helps release pent-up energy in kids
- They develop self-discipline and self-control
- They learn conflict resolution
- It improves their self-confidence
- It improves concentration
- They will learn patience and perseverance
While there are a few inherent risks involved with martial arts training such as injury and the potential for violence if the child is not taught correctly, the benefits of learning martial arts for your child far outweigh these risks.
Based on all of this, I would highly recommend that you enroll your child in martial arts training.
To learn which martial arts you should let your child study, click here and read my article: Best Martial Arts for Kids
Let me know what you think about enrolling your child in martial arts training in the comments below.