Why are kids martial arts classes beneficial?

You may be considering enrolling your child into kids martial arts classes, but are not sure if the class will benefit your child. There are many reasons why it is so good to learn martial arts as an adult, but do these apply to kids as well? Here are a few reasons why you may want to take your child to their first martial arts class:

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5 Benefits of kids martial arts classes

1. Discipline

The difference between your child in class at school and your child in a martial arts class is that one they must attend, and the other is voluntary. At school, the teacher can not say “Do not come back to my class”. They may send the student to the principal’s office or put them in a time out, but unless the student gets expelled, the teacher can not permanently remove the child from her classroom.

There are multiple times over the years where students have heard me say “I did not ask you to be here, you came because you chose too”. This is a big reason why kids that would usually mess around at school, behave when they are in our martial arts class. They want to return and participate in the active and fun environment that is a kid martial arts class, so they don’t want to be told they cannot come back.

This begins to implement the idea that if they want something, they have to behave in order to have it, and sets them up for later in life. Do you want to have some extra money in your pocket? Don’t mess around at work and respect your employer. Do you want to be selected in that sporting team? Behave appropriately or the selectors won’t look at you twice.

2. Fitness

It has long been known that exercise is one of the key components to a healthy lifestyle, the problem is, for most kids, spending 30 minutes on the treadmill is not on their list of things to do. When the drills and exercises are fun and exciting, and also have a purpose, it is much easier for them to get their heart rate up and burn those calories.

There is also the effect that training in a group has on people. If there is only one person exercising on their own, they have an intensity in their head they think is acceptable and often will happily stick to that for the duration of their workout, but when there are people either side of them working out at harder pace, they will lift their energy to match, or even surpass their peers. In martial arts, the combination of their peers working hard, and the sound that a kick or punch makes when it lands on a pad, lifts the energy in the room, to the point that everyone is giving much more effort by the end of the session than the beginning. This is no different in kids martial arts classes.

3. Teaches children to be humble

Most children have never been in a fight. Although this is a good thing, and fighting in the street/playground is something that is discouraged by any good martial arts instructor, this also means that they have no idea what other people are capable of.

In martial arts where there is some supervised light sparring, it doesn’t take long for a child to realise not to judge a book by its cover. Sometimes a 40kg child will find out that a 30kg child could probably give them a good beating if they wanted to. In our classes, we keep the contact light enough that no one will get hurt but keep it at the intensity that will expose them to the fact that bigger isn’t always better.

4. Adds structure to their day

Attending a martial arts class after school gives kids more of a structured day than going to school, coming home and killing time before dinner and bed. As adults, we are used to the fact that every day there is an endless list of tasks to do, children, on the other hand, are lucky enough to have their parents who run around after them, leaving them with the task of going to school, and not much other than that!

By enrolling your children in kids martial arts classes after school, it gets them used to the fact that once school is finished, the day is still not over, which carries on to later in life where they will have much to do each day after they finish work/study.

5. Gives them the skills to get out of sticky situations.

As a parent, you can do everything in your power to remove your child from harm’s way. You can guide them to make the right decisions in life, you can teach them to not socialise with bad influences, you can send them to schools with a good reputation, but none of these actions can completely remove the risk of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Occasionally we all find ourselves in a situation where we feel as though we lack the control over what people around us are going to do to us. Practising martial arts puts us in a far better position to defend ourselves when a situation like this arises. Not only have we learned techniques to strike and defend against an attacker, but we can function much better in these situations because we have been exposed to them many times at training in a controlled environment, and therefore are able to think much more clearly.

A person who has never practised martial arts and never been in an altercation in the street is in a far worse position when their “fight or flight” response kicked in. The combination of drills and sparring is what prepares a person for a fight. The drills are to practice a movement or a response over and over so that it becomes automatic, and the sparring (practising fighting at a lower intensity with padding) allows us to apply the movements we learn in drills, to a real situation.

Ideally, we like to have our students never have to defend themselves in the street, but at the same time be completely prepared in every way if a dangerous situation ever arises.

The Fight Centre Brisbane runs kids martial arts classes Monday to Thursday. Contact us to bring your child down for a free class!