To catch up on the blog I started, I haven’t really discussed reasons for kids to practice martial arts lately and I feel that we need a reminder. I happened upon an article that was talking about this subject so I named the reasons they gave and am giving my opinion of those reasons.
Their fifth reason was that kids will be able to connect their mind and body. Once again, I have to agree with this notion overall. I believe they are talking about a more spiritual sense here as opposed to a more coordinated physical body. When reading their reasoning, it is apparent that they are talking about the spirituality of Martial Arts. By there reasoning, it would always depend on the individual. If your child wants to participate in Martial Arts because they want to win medals or not fear bullies (which are perfectly acceptable reasons), they will most likely not tune into the spiritual side, especially if they are in boxing or wrestling. Now, connecting your thoughts to how you perform physically is how I would say they gain an advantage. I would say this is true for sports in general.
It boosts agility, speed, power, and response when you participate in physical activities.
Hand-eye coordination is also a great benefit to connecting your mind with your body.
A great one, is learning conflict resolution is another reason according to the article. I would say that problem solving is probably a more accurate answer. I know many a child that gets into several conflicts weekly and needs an adult to intervene. These same children probably have the behavior reinforced at school and home, so Martial Arts, in my opinion wouldn’t be any more advantageous to conflict resolution than any other aspect of their life. Problem solving is also learned at home and school, so my opinion of this reason isn’t that it is wrong, just not any more beneficial than other areas.
Reason seven is that they will learn to breathe (properly at the right time). I concur fully, but again, it must be taught correctly. I have seen many instructors that don’t emphasize breathing properly. For people who don’t know what I’m talking about, the article and I are talking about proper breathing technique. Proper breathing technique would be exhaling while exerting force such as a fast twitch movement to throw someone in Judo, or deliver a knee in Muay Thai. This technique extends to inhaling correctly for recovery between techniques. This is a great reason for kids to join Martial Arts because it can prevent injuries and help them achieve optimal training for whatever sport they choose to participate in.
If you are still skeptical about making the long term commitment to a Martial Art for your child, visit a few schools but chances are you have a friend, or friend of a friend who is already enjoying the benefits and will be happy to guide you on your first steps. Many schools offer trial options, especially for younger kids, so you don’t need to make a huge financial commitment up front if you feel that it isn’t for your child. It really can’t hurt, as I discussed, there are a lot of great reasons to start and not any good reasons to keep putting it off.