Children’s martial arts classes not only tend to be profitable for schools but also are an amazing way to improve the lives of the kids, their families and the communities. This is because of the values the martial arts impart to children. Those values include the following:
The kind of courage that young people learn in martial arts is one that encompasses a certain spirit of bravery. It is not simply acting without fear; it is channeling an internal energy to act in spite of fear. Courage is a transferrable skill that allows students to set goals, overcome challenges and attain success both in the dojo and in life.
One tenet of martial arts is respect. Children are taught to respect the masters who came before them, as well as their instructors, their peers and themselves. Quality martial arts instructors focus on this value consistently, encouraging students to carry it with them beyond the studio. Self-respect and respect those who are above and below them in status are essential character qualities that stick with kids throughout their lives.
Some young people have inherent leadership qualities, while others develop them with proper mentorship and growth opportunities. The martial arts are a sport that encourages and stimulates young leaders with chances to help lower-level students reach their goals. With these skills, children can be empowered to make positive decisions and act as role models within their school, family and community.
Discipline is one of the most important martial arts values because it transfers to other aspects of a child’s life. It goes beyond respect for authority and for those who dispense corrections and punishments. Rather, it focuses on self-discipline practices. In martial arts, discipline includes the ability to control one’s emotions and short-term desires while working toward more meaningful long-term goals.
When students work toward their goals and see themselves succeed, they begin to feel empowered with self-confidence. In this way, the martial arts teach children that hard work and focus can help them accomplish what they set out to do. Kids learn how to work with their own strengths and weaknesses and how to believe in their own abilities. They enjoy increased self-assurance, a quality that makes them more confident in other aspects of life.
Martial arts also teach children the correct way to fail. Their coach will warn them that they may not always win when they participate in tournaments or matches, and, on a smaller scale, they may have days when they struggle in class or find it difficult to learn a new move. Instead of getting discouraged, kids in martial arts learn to view failure as a learning experience. These kids will have the confidence to try more new things when they don’t see failure as something to fear.
The mental and physical challenges of martial arts training require attentive focus from students. This is important for correctly learning a technique and for properly channeling one’s energy and strength. Like other martial arts values, focus is needed for success beyond the dojo, as well. When kids learn this skill in their martial arts class, they can begin to apply it to homework, chores and personal goal-setting as they move into adulthood.
Like other sports, the martial arts keep students physically fit. They also learn to value the quality of being fit, as it becomes necessary for reaching their goals and maintaining the other moral values imparted within the dojo. Martial arts classes often include cardio workouts, strength training, relaxation drills and flexibility. Having a healthy body also tends to have a positive impact on other aspects of the child’s life such as increased energy levels throughout the day, the ability to concentrate and the production of the endorphins needed for good moods and healthy social interactions.
These benefits of training will stay with a child far beyond their time in the dojo. While self-defense skills are one of the more tangible outcomes of martial arts practice, positive morals contribute to lifelong character-building and the development of the soft skills needed for all-around success.
If you’re a martial arts instructor and teach classes to children, make sure that you bring up these values when you are talking with parents of new or potential students. Actively promote them in your school, and both you and your students will reap the benefits.
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