The martial arts are an ancient method of training your mind, body and spirit to work in harmony together. While martial arts practitioners strive for harmony, they also learn effective and often devastating self-defense techniques. Children who are involved in martial arts acquire many benefits in several areas of life. Martial arts have been developed throughout the world, in every nation, and in every culture.
Fitness is a vital element to all classes, especially where children are involved. Warm-ups with jumping jacks, stretches, push-ups and other exercises are common, and the movements of the martial art itself often a challenge to your muscles and cardiovascular system. Martial artists are known for being toned, flexible and physically fit, and your child will be no different.
The ability to defend yourself against an attacker is an awesome feeling. Most martial arts use self-defense as a cornerstone for their entire program, while for others it may be a distant benefit. The precise methods will vary from art to art, but you can be certain that with regular practice, your child will learn to defend himself in a variety of different ways. Many martial arts schools also teach techniques to kids to help avoid problems altogether.
Martial arts help instill mental focus in your child, giving her the ability to concentrate on a task and see it through to the end. The discipline that is taught in the Dojo in regard to uniforms, customs and techniques often translates into other areas of life, including school and household chores.
Martial arts are all about respect. Punching, kicking, throwing and locking are all secondary to the respect that is shown form the moment you walk into a Dojo. Children learn to show respect to the instructors as well as to learn to treat other students as they wish to be treated. Quality martial arts instructors press upon the respect issue regularly and instruct students to practice respect for self, parents, teachers and peers at every opportunity.
A child who is involved in martial arts is generally a child who is confident in herself. Working through a martial art and the belt ranking system gives a child measurable goal to follow that are realistic to attain. The sense of accomplishment a child feels by mastering a new technique or graduating to a new belt follows him everywhere he goes. A person who is confident in their ability to defend themselves is less likely to be afraid in situations and less likely to have to resort to violence or combative communication techniques, i.e. "Yelling!"
Michael Rowe is the Founder of Alpha Omega Martial Arts and has been dedicating his life to the study and teaching of self-defense. It is his goal to motivate, inspire, and transform the lives of all his students; young and old!