The benefits of exercise for children have been proved by many studies. Obesity in children is an increasingly common problem, and physical exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risks of this. Regular exercise can also improve mood and behaviour, and helps to build a child’s self esteem. Martial arts training is a great form of physical exercise for children, and it can be the start of a lifelong commitment to health and wellbeing.
Martial arts like judo, Choi Kwang Do, and aikido are a fun and interesting way for children to develop and improve their fitness. Some martial arts clubs run special classes aimed at very young children, but five or six is a common age for children to begin training. Classes are generally a mix of stretching and exercise combined with games and technical training in martial arts techniques. The benefits of martial arts training for children include the following.
Developing attention and focus.
Experts have many views relating to why some children aren’t able to focus, and studies into attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have led to the creation of a range of drugs and treatments. Parents of children with ADHD often report improvements as a result of participation in martial arts classes. The disciplined nature of classes and the requirement to follow etiquette and formalities can help children to improve their focus and develop more structured thinking. There are very few distractions during martial arts classes, and children benefit from the focus of attention.
Developing social skills and teamwork.
Martial arts classes involve high levels of social interaction, and this is a great way for children to develop social skills. Classes also help to develop teamwork and trust, and parents often report noticeable changes in a child’s ability to mix with people and make friends as a result of attending. Although some martial arts have elements of competition, the focus is generally on students working together to achieve common goals.
Developing physical fitness.
Martial arts classes for children are generally less demanding than those aimed at adults, but they inevitably involve some exercise and physical activity. There is often a warm up routine at the start of a class, and this can involve a wide range of exercises designed to develop a child’s muscles. Martial arts like Taekwondo and kung fu involve punches and kicks which help to build strength and stamina.
Developing self confidence.
Parents are often surprised at a child’s increased self confidence as a result of attending martial arts lessons. The formalities of martial arts and the mutual respect between students and teachers help children to become more confident. As a child begins to see rewards for their efforts in training they learn to value to themselves and see what they are capable of achieving.
Developing goal setting skills.
Most martial arts have a belt system to identify and reward progress, and this is a great way for children to develop goal setting skills. Belts are awarded at regular intervals if the child attends classes and shows commitment and progress. This motivational aspect of martial arts training can bring a wide variety of benefits to a child’s development.
There are a wide range of martial arts schools for children, and it’s important to do some research before joining one. Speak to other parents in your local area, and visit classes to watch and see how they are run. Some martial arts schools cater for children better than others, and watching classes and speaking to instructors is the best way to compare one school with another.