“The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.”
– Bruce Lee
This is the obvious reason kids should do martial arts in this day and age – to get active and moving. We have an epidemic when it comes to our nation’s obesity problem. The problem is particularly alarming as it relates to our kids who are increasingly unfit. The martial arts offer many benefits, but when it comes to fitness, becoming a true martial artist means becoming a supremely fit person. Martial arts can help your child get fit and healthy.
Of the many challenges that parents face today, one is that we are constantly plugged in. While there are a great many benefits to the Internet, there are many more benefits in stillness and silence. Unfortunately stillness and silence seem to be rare to find. At some juncture in life, every one of us comes to learn that the greatest obstacle we face in this lifetime is ourselves. That battle is fought in the stillness of our hearts and the willingness to confront ourselves. As Bruce Lee pointed out, behind the punches, kicks, and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. As a martial artist, your child will learn what it is to be still, challenged, and focused.
Reason #3: They’ll Learn to Take Hits
In the martial arts, your child will learn what it is to take a hit, whether that hit is a literal blow or a disappointment like failing a test. Part of life is learning that we all take hits. The key is in learning how best to take that hit and get back up. Unfortunately, this lesson seems to be lost on many in our “every-kid-gets-a-trophy” culture. In the martial arts, your kid will learn to fail – a lot. Half of martial arts is hitting, but half is also getting hit. Ironically, learning how to take a hit is perhaps the best way for your kid to learn how to avoid it.
Reason #4: They’ll Gain Self Confidence and Self Respect
Your child will gain a tremendous amount of self-confidence from martial arts. Learning to set and achieve goals is an important life lesson. Martial arts also gives all of us a little reminder of humility – someone is always bigger and stronger – but martial arts school will teach your child that there are no tough guys. Every martial artist ultimately learns this sense of respect and true confidence. Your child will learn that confidence and respect for others comes from a deep sense of self-knowledge.
What they don’t teach you at school or your local health club is how to really listen to your body. To listen to your body is to also see your thoughts and have heightened awareness of your emotional construct. A martial artist is taught to see, feel, and listen – both internally and externally. Tapping into intuition, fear, and courage are examples of being able to put the physical together with the mental. How often have we heard the phrase “being paralyzed with fear”? Being able to combat such a thing is what you learn in the martial arts.
Your child will learn to use the skills learned from martial arts to resolve conflict, but one of the first lessons taught is that words were never grounds for a fight. In the martial arts, you learn that there is no such thing as “fighting” words. Instead, you learn to respond without reacting in the martial arts.
Of the many things martial arts will teach you, breathing is near the top. Indeed, nothing is more essential to the success of how we move our body than tapping into the life force of our essence – our breath. Ask a professional athlete, or an actor, dancer, or signer, and they will tell you that to succeed in any physical craft is to access your breath correctly. So many adults have never learned to breathe properly when under physical exertion. This skill can literally save your life. In the martial arts your kid will learn the essence of how to breathe and even relax under pressure.