Finding the Best Martial Arts for Your Kids—A Parent’s Guide
To effectively instill balance and discipline in their children, many parents turn to one thing—martial arts.
Many also consider it as the ideal outlet for kids to release their pent-up energy while developing their self-confidence and social skills.
And since children are impressionable by nature, learning martial arts is easier for them the earlier they start.
Other valuable traits children stand to gain from the discipline can include:
- Discipline – learning martial arts is no walk in the park. For starters, it will entail a tremendous amount of focus and discipline. Even if discipline is not your child’s strongest point, in time, they will learn to appreciate and eventually develop the trait as it is one of the valuable traits that will be emphasized and taught.
- Social skills – most forms of martial arts like aikido will include pairing off, helping shy children come out of their shells and learn to develop friendships with others. Kids will also gain the confidence to perform in front of their peers, instructors, and other people. The confidence they will develop can help them better communicate and socialize with other people.
- Focus – many people, especially children have very short attention spans and find focusing highly challenging. However, while many may not be aware of it, focus is important so they would be able to effectively accomplish their goals. Without focus, they can end up starting one project without finishing it as they will become easily distracted by other things. When doing martial arts, they will develop the ability to focus as learning complex moves will require just that.
- Respect – when learning martial arts, children will learn to show unwavering respect and submit to their sensei’s (teacher / instructor) authority. This show of respect can also translate into other authority figures they will encounter outside their martial arts classes.
- Goal Setting – since martial arts involves the earning of colored belts, it will help encourage the children who are involved to set goals and work hard to achieve them. Setting goals and finding ways to accomplish them are needed for them to be able to move from one colored belt to the next. By the time they have moved to the last colored belt, they are likely to already possess the confidence they need to accomplish whatever it is that they set their minds to.
- Strength and Good Health – when joining a martial arts class, children will have an exercise and fitness routine that will help them develop strength and keep their physical, mental, and emotional states in peak shape.
Narrowing Down Your Options
Since the incomparable benefits children gain from joining a martial arts class or kids self defense classes is not up for debate, the challenge for the parents lies in finding the consummate martial arts they should enroll their kids in.
Undoubtedly, the choices are infinite.
However, you can easily narrow down your options by asking yourself one important question: what discipline can help the child become a healthier, better, and well-rounded individual?
For many, the answer is aikido.
Make no mistake about it however.
The fact that aikido is the preferred option by many is no mere coincidence.
For starters, this non-aggressive form of martial arts teaches kids a different concept of settling conflicts.
Rather than kicking or punching the opponent, they are taught fighting is and should be the last resort.
Aikido also teaches kids the importance of staying calm and relaxed especially when faced with conflicts.
In other words, rather than lashing out and using force to settle conflicts, they are taught ways to better communicate so conflicts are not only resolved but also avoided.
While there are plenty of other alternatives to pick from, aikido often stands out as it instills discipline and promotes overall health and well-being sans the need to be aggressive.
It’s a win-win for both you and the child as aikido will help you mold your child into a better, well-balanced, and healthy individual and they’d develop valuable life skills, learn how to better socialize, and gain confidence while they are at it.
Finding the Right School
However, finding the right martial arts to enroll your child in is just half the battle.
Equal importance should also be placed on finding the best school to enroll your child in.
When looking for the best school, take the following key elements into consideration:
- Qualified Teachers – find a school with passionate and certified teachers that adapt fun and innovative teaching approaches.
- Teaching Methodology – to make learning enjoyable and easy, opt for a school that takes into account the child’s level of understanding. In addition, go for a school that encourages positive reinforcement so the child will enjoy and look forward to each session.