This is the obvious reason children should do martial arts today – to get active and moving. Youth sports and physical education programs are great, but not every child is an athlete and many schools no longer view PE as a high priority. Karate offers many benefits, but when it comes to fitness, becoming a true martial artist means becoming a supremely fit person. Karate can help your child get fit and lead a healthy lifestyle which will benefit them throughout their life, making their life more enjoyable.
2. They’ll Learn to Focus and be Still
Of the many challenges that parents face today, one is that we are constantly plugged in. While there are a great many benefits to the Internet, there are many more benefits in stillness and silence. Unfortunately, stillness and silence seem to be rare to find. At some point in our life, every one of us comes to learn that the greatest obstacle we face in this lifetime is ourselves. That battle is fought in the stillness of our hearts and the willingness to confront ourselves. As Bruce Lee pointed out, behind the punches, kicks, and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. In years of karate classes, I remember many challenges, breakthroughs, and setbacks. What I do not remember are distractions or gimmicks like you often see at your local health club. At the karate dojos (schools) where I trained, there was no loud music or flat-screen TVs, just hard work and sweat. As a martial artist, your child will learn what it is to be still, challenged, and focused. As your child learns to focus more the easier it will become. This will help them at school and in life.
3. They’ll Learn to Take Hits
In karate, your child will learn what it is to take a hit, whether that hit is a literal blow or a disappointment like failing a test. Part of life is learning that we all take hits. The key is in learning how best to take that hit and get back up. Unfortunately, this lesson seems to be lost on many in our every-child-gets-a-trophy culture. In karate, your child will learn to fail – a lot. Half of martial arts is hitting, but half is also getting hit. Ironically, learning how to take a hit is perhaps the best way for your child to learn how to avoid it.
4. They’ll Gain Self-confidence, Self Respect, and Self Discipline
Every martial artist ultimately learns a sense of respect and true confidence. Your child will learn that confidence and respect for others come from a deep sense of self-knowledge. As they progress through the grading system facing challenges on their way, the more confident they will become. This confidence will help them face challenges throughout their lives. They will also learn what it is to have goals and not to give up on them even if it requires hard work to achieve them. They will learn to value hard work for the successes that can be achieved, a valuable life lesson!
5. They’ll Connect Their Mind and Body
What they don’t teach you at your local health club is how to really listen to your body. A martial artist is taught to see, feel, and listen – both internally and externally. Tapping into intuition, fear, and courage are examples of being able to put the physical together with the mental. How often have we heard the phrase “being paralysed with fear”? Being able to combat such a thing is what you learn in karate.
6. They’ll Learn Conflict Resolution
People often ask me whether I have ever used my martial arts training in a fight. You will learn how to defend and protect yourself. Remember that words are never grounds for a fight. In martial arts, you learn that there is no such thing as “fighting” words. Instead, you learn to respond without reacting in martial arts. Learning the skills to control a situation without physical fighting.
7. They’ll Learn to Breathe
Of the many things I have learned in karate and other sports, being able to breathe properly is important. Indeed, nothing is more essential to the success of how we move our body than tapping into the life force of our essence – our breath. Ask a professional athlete, an actor, a dancer, or a signer, and they will tell you that to succeed in any physical craft to access your breath correctly. I am shocked at times when working with adults who never learned to breathe properly when under physical exertion. This skill can literally save your life. In karate, your child will learn the essence of how to breathe and even relax under pressure.
8. Brain Development
Karate teaches the left and right sides of the brain to communicate with each other! This results in better balance and coordination which is often a difficulty in the early years. It will also improve their ability to solve problems and come up with solutions to life’s difficulties.
It Builds Cognitive Function: All forms of physical activity boost cognitive function and development, and karate is an active sport that blends intensive movement, balance, and cardio in one workout. As they practice karate, your child’s memory and attention span will improve, which will help them throughout their school life and into adulthood.
9.No Bench Time
In many sports, if you are not in the ‘A team’ you get a lot less practice. In karate, students will be practicing all of the time, no matter what their level of ability is. Each child is treated equally and encouraged to be the best they can be.
The tools for success!
- Improve fitness
- Concentration and focus
- Build confidence and self-esteem
- Teach self-discipline