Martial Arts & How They Help Kids Develop
Posted: April 01, 2016
We live in an age when physical fitness and having a healthy lifestyle is in the spotlight more than ever. We see men and women working out, watching their diet (sometimes even counting calories), and trying to be more respectful towards their body and live a healthier life.
It is very crucial to bear in mind that when you try to apply this kind of lifestyle when you’re over a certain age it is quite difficult and a lot of people often fail.
This is why:
Living like that requires a lot of self-discipline and the ability to change, not only the way you live but also your mindset.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychologist, in her book “Mindset: The new Psychology of Success” clearly states the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. You can either have success or failure in life depending which one you choose to live by.
In the early stages of our lives we tend to cultivate and develop our mindset. As parents it is of great value to acknowledge that our actions and efforts towards developing a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset for our children is of great importance.
Martial arts: a means to achieve a growth mindset.
Martial arts are often misunderstood in the world today. They are considered by many as a reason of aggression amongst the youth and have been blamed in numerous occasions for random acts of violence.
These accusations could not be further from the truth.
Martial arts, when taught accordingly, do not condone violence and acts of aggression. In reality, martial arts encourage and promote resolving issues and conflict by using words and only turn to martial arts techniques for defense.
Now, let’s get back to the subject at hand.
One of the most important roles when being a parent revolves around making the right decisions about our children and directing them towards the right and beneficial paths in life.
How can martial arts help in my child’s development?
Below I will provide a few reasons on how beneficial and life changing martial arts can be for kids in creating a growth mindset that will follow them all through their adult lives.
Learning the Tough Lesson of Discipline
One of the most difficult lessons in life is to learn how to be disciplined in all matters. When children learn how to be disciplined when they are young, they are more likely to follow and live by that discipline their whole lives.
One of the longest studies ever made was by Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychology at Duke University and King’s College London. It showed some outstanding results!
Moffitt and his team studied a group of 1000 people who were born in New Zealand between the years of 1972-1973 and tracked them until they became 32 years old. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In a nutshell:
A large portion of the children that were not taught self-discipline never really reached their true potential, they were more prone to having financial problems, and a large percentage developed health problems.
Even though the research did not prove that all the above happened because of lack of self-discipline, the lack of discipline was a common factor.
Other studies have shown that self-discipline is taught during the early years of a person’s life in order to have a true effect on their lives.
Martial arts can provide that life-changing lesson of self-discipline to children and help them achieve their goals in life.
Staying Clear of Obesity
Have you ever been to an actual martial arts class? Kicking and punching repeatedly is a great workout!
One of the greatest benefits that martial arts can have on children is that it keeps them fit. One of the greatest problems of our times is the epidemic of child obesity.
Nowadays, more and more children become obese and this lack of self-control and exercise leads to a life of no self-control and lack of understanding of the damage done to our bodies.
Martial arts can be a helping hand against child obesity. When children take martial arts classes they are required to go through physical training and learn to respect both their body and mind. In order to become a real martial artist they need to really take care of their body and maintain a high level of physical fitness, not to mention the important values that are taught in martial arts classes.
Become more Active, Focused and Dig Deeper into the Self
We live in a society ruled by smart phones, tablets and technology. While there are a lot of benefits to theses, children can be affected negatively by all this exposure to technology.
Just by walking down the street I guarantee you will witness the vast percentage of children and young adults with a mobile device in their hand and earplugs in their ears. Most young people today are tech addicts and that has a negative effect on their everyday lives.
Martial arts not only will keep kids more active and focused, but they will also start taking a closer look at their inner self, away from all the noise and distractions that technology creates and avoid seeking external validation on social media.
Bruce Lee once said: “Behind the punches, kicks, and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are.”
Children and young adults need to search within to understand themselves and figure out exactly where they stand and what they need to improve in order to be their best.
That combination of activeness and self-awareness that martial arts offers cannot be found in other activities. It is very difficult to find another activity like martial arts that can cultivate and develop both mind and body at the same time.
Develop Better Social Skills
It is common knowledge that children who have difficulties socializing can improve their social skills when they are among other children that share the same interest.
In a martial arts class everyone is equal and is treated the same. That is crucial, especially for kids that find it hard to be a part of a group. Being with people with the same goal in mind and establishing healthy rivalries pushes us to become better.
Martial arts teaches us how to manage and resolve conflict successfully. That is a very important social skill not only for kids and young adults.
Martial arts teaches us that violence is not the answer to conflict because it actually leads to more violence and trouble. Martial artists are taught how to calm themselves and use words rather than violence. Helping our children to build strong and solid social skills is something they will thank us for throughout their entire lives.
If you desire to teach your kids valuable lessons that will last forever, why not stop by a few dojos or gyms in your area and have a chat with the instructors. Also seek advice from other parents that send their children to martial arts classes. Maybe martial arts classes are what you and your children have been looking for.