What Can Martial Arts Give My Kids?
A lot of parents wonder if martial arts are right for their kid, who may be small or shy. Two throw in two cents here-YES! Martial arts are right for your kid, regardless of their size or shyness. I started studying the martial arts when I was 9 and have never been far from it since, it was one of the most important decisions I ever made (and I was still so small).
One of the reasons for this is that there is so much more to the study of martial arts than physical fitness and the ability to defend yourself. Please don't misunderstand me; those are two VERY important things. Letting your kids study martial arts if they're interested can instill a love for physical fitness and vigorous exercise that will last for their entire lives.
I'm speaking from experience here. As someone who was involved heavily in the martial arts from an early age I have watched people I grew up with develop serious problems with drugs and alcohol or just get fat while I kept getting stronger and healthier by finding my highs in endorphins and the warm fuzzy feeling of real health. Even after experimenting heavily with all of that stuff through high school and college, my love for martial arts and the way it feels to live inside a healthy body kept me pointed in the right direction.
But I said there was more to it than that, and there is. One of the most serious problems facing modern children is the ubiquity of instant gratification. Nobody waits for anything anymore: You're bored, don't imagine create or do anything-turn on the TV. You're hungry, put something in the microwave, and only take a few seconds. You want to feel like you've accomplished something, score a few points in a video game.
These things will fulfill an immediate need, but they do not fulfill or add anything to a child's life or an adult's.
Martial arts study can teach children the absolutely essential life skills of determination, self discipline, and long term goal setting. It can even improve their manners.
Kids have seen action films or cartoons where martial arts experts do amazing things, and they want to be able to things like that too. I remember watching a senior student in one of my classes when I was ten and thinking about how I could reach that level of skill. Actually doing martial arts in real life takes more time and determination than doing it in a video game.
At excellent academies like Peak Performance Martial Arts in Keller, Texas, ranking systems like colored belts help children set definite goals, recognize the steps they need to take to get from where they are to where they need to be in order to reach their goal, and learn the value and feeling of successfully taking those steps in order to achieve their goals.
These sorts of accomplishments will be much more gratifying than a high score in Blood Saw 6-Zombie Dolphins or whatever and will give a child a real sense of accomplishment and really boost their self esteem. The extra self esteem becomes confidence, becomes outgoingness, becomes social development, and ultimately a more rounded and happy human being.