By Master Joseph Ash
Martial Arts is an ideal life-skills activity to involve your child. Specifically, between the ages of 4 and 7 years of age are wonderful times to get them enrolled. These are some critical growth times both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, there are very few high quality activities, like Martial Arts, that can facilitate programs for such ages and do so while positively impacting their development.
I will share four brief insights as to how Martial Arts benefit young children.
1. Physical Excitement and Individual Rewards
Physical Excitement is a term I use around my students because fitness is so overplayed and undervalued. Using Physical Excitement makes it fun for children and gets them more excited about being physically active. Combine that with a properly taught martial arts program and you get an excellent way to learn about your body while moving. Not only are the movements dynamic and combination of skills endless, but the rewards are based upon individual effort. This is a win-win combination because it keeps children interested and engages them for longer periods of time. Ultimately, it creates a better chance for the exercise to become more of a positive habit… and a good one at that.
2. Academic Participation and Performance
Children that are actively engaged in a martial arts program demonstrate more mental alertness than those who do not. Also the students are able to stay focused on tasks longer, resulting in completed projects and assignments. The patience their training develops helps with studying, therefore producing better grades. Because of their participation and dedication in training, martial arts students are more likely to participate in classroom activities. Students also display far less anti-social behaviors like bullying.
3. Character Development
The character lessons martial arts students learn provides them with valuable references for challenges they will inevitably face later in life. Through controlled experiences, students are able to be guided and mentored in best practices self control as they move from level to level. The student understands more about themselves and their potential because of their exposure to real life experiences. Also, because of their training they are more respectful to their teachers, parents, peers and themselves.
4. Leadership and Purpose
Role modeling in a martial arts program provides great opportunities for children to develop leadership skills. Such a skills carry with it a purpose and is extremely valuable in terms of day to day activities like being a big sister or brother, a Boy or Girl Scout, a class president and later in life, a boss or father. Truly professional martial arts programs are heavily involved within their community and such participation involves students. This is a wonderful avenue to teach students about growth through contribution as well as community pride.
In the end, children truly love Martial Arts, the growth and self measurement. The guidelines by which the individual is challenged and rewarded goes a long way in the eyes of a child. Through such systems, children learn to believe in themselves and others thus producing a wonderful balance of self and the world.
– Master Joseph Ash, Owner, BAEPLEX Family Martial Arts Center, Inc., Author: Martial Arts Unlocked