Fitness is a crucial element to all martial arts classes, especially where children are involved. Warm-ups with jumping jacks, push ups and stretches are common, and the movements of the martial art itself often challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system. Martial artists are known for being toned, flexible and physically fit, and your child will be no different.
Every martial art will increase your coordination and Balance. Through the activities and games that help to teach the fundamentals of martial arts the children will improve their co-ordination and balance, which will help them in life as well as in their martial art.
Martial arts help instill mental focus in your child, giving the ability to concentrate on a task and see it through to its conclusion. The discipline that is taught in the dojo in regard to uniforms, customs and techniques often translates into other areas of life, including school and household chores.
Martial arts are all about respect. Punching, kicking, throwing and locking are all secondary to the respect that is shown form the moment you walk into a dojo. Children learn to bow to the masters who came before them, and to their current instructors. They also learn to treat other students as they wish to be treated. Quality martial arts instructors press upon the respect issue regularly and instruct students to practice respect for self, parents, teachers and peers at every opportunity.
A child who is involved in martial arts is generally a child who is confident in themselves. Working through a martial art and the belt ranking system gives measurable goals to follow that are realistic to attain. The sense of accomplishment a child feels by mastering a new technique or graduating to a new belt follows them everywhere they go.
In order to be a good martial artist, you must have very fast reflexes. Research has found that by participating in martial arts, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times during all activities of your life. This is very important in a number of daily activities.
“The concentration of attention or energy on something” Once the children start working their way through the ranking system it is proven that their focus is improved. This goes hand in hand with the Self-Discipline and as they learn the skills in their martial arts it is naturally carried over to everyday and school life.
The ability to defend yourself against an assailant is an empowering feeling. Most martial arts use self-defence as a cornerstone of the entire program. The precise methods will vary from discipline to discipline, but you can be certain that with regular practice, the child will learn to defend themselves in a variety of different ways. Many martial arts schools also teach street-smart techniques to children to help avoid problems altogether.