Why Should Kids do Martial Arts?
By Cynthia Miller
“Can’t you just tell a kid who grew up doing martial arts?” I heard the gentleman say to a few of the other parents who were gathered, either arriving or about to depart after the day’s classes.
I had recently been pondering the benefits to children of all ages who practice some form of martial arts. Confidence and self-esteem, respect for yourself and others, physical fitness, self-discipline, sharpening of observation and decision making skills, positive motivation, leadership, patience, grace under pressure. The development of these qualities is ageless; the opportunities for life applications boundless.
To be sure, the physical fitness aspect alone is important as we watch the dissolution of organized sports and dance as a regular aspect of school curriculum, as faded as the reference to the President’s Physical Fitness Test. In 2008, the United States Department of Health and Human Services issued the first comprehensive guideline on physical activity for children age six and older (Massachusetts revised its Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework in 1999). According to” About Physical Education,” the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, only six states require physical education in every grade (Massachusetts is one of them). Only 20 % of school districts require daily recess (Massachusetts is not one of them). Daily physical education is provided in only 4% of elementary, 8% of middle, and 2% of high schools.
Fewer than half of all children and adolescents are regularly physically active. And yet research by “About Physical Education” and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that youth who engage in physical activity perform better academically, have better attendance, have improved behavior, and have higher self-esteem. This is in addition to having health benefits that lower their risks as adults including higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and stronger muscles, lower body fat percentages, and lower levels of anxiety and depression.
So, if it could be said that most any children and youth sports can help to teach a child confidence, respect, and self-esteem in addition to developing physical fitness, why choose martial arts?
My answer to this came together as I heard my mind’s voice reply, “Yes, you definitely can tell a kid who grew up doing martial arts.” Because the context martial arts offers for kids to develop these qualities and values is larger than the lessons gained from the game, the team, the win; larger than the collection of desirable personal attributes. Martial arts help kids to study human nature. The venue itself helps kids to discover how to make “win-win” problem solving second nature. Kids who already move with ease in this arena as they work to improve their individual qualities and attributes will certainly have the advantage as they work to become successful adults. Even better, these are the kids who grow up understanding the value of owning collective responsibility and will know best how to build and protect resilient communities.
Cynthia Miller (Black Belt at Boston Martial Arts Center)
Boston Martial Arts Kids program
Boston Martial Arts Center
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Martial Arts class for Kids in Boston. Over twenty-five years of teaching and mentoring kids and young people in the martial arts, we feel many life skills can be learned at the dojo. Our thoughtful teachers model focus, communication, confidence and mutual respect. Our carefully constructed and tested physical curriculum provides a balance between strength and stretching, structure and flexibility, and supports growth and individual learning styles. To learn more about our classes for young people, call or visit today!
Sign up Today by calling (617)789-5524 or fill in the form below and we will set a time so you can try a free lesson:
For our youngest students, our Tiny Tiger program is designed for 3-5 year old children. The focus of these classes is on age-appropriate body and spatial awareness. This is a great class to get the wiggles out during long winter days, and to support body/mind coordination at a young age. Activities include:
~ Log rolls
~ Coordinated movement
~ Calm focus
Dragons in Training
Designed for school-aged children, 6-11 years old, these classes build skills and coordination, confidence and strength in a supportive and respectful environment. Activities are crafted around safety both within the dojo and in the rest of life. Skills include:
~ Kicking and punching, while learning to not kick or punch others
~ Dodging and ducking as a sensory exercise and spatial awareness
~ Strong and healthy posture for stability and joint health
~ Leading and teaching others
~ Precision and power for muscle tone
Our older students usually arrange to attend adult classes. These students are paired with a chosen adult mentor to work on the class material in a safe and appropriate context. As young adults progress, they are also encouraged and supported in teaching and mentoring younger students. We work to support young adults as they transition from the children’s to adults’ classes and maintain communication with them to make sure we do this well.
Sign up Today by calling (617)789-5524 or Full in the form below and we will set a time so you can try a free lesson