With so many different sports and activities available you might be wondering, why martial arts? Won’t this make my child more violent? Isn’t there a high risk of injury? What if I have no interest in fighting? These are questions I’m often asked and topics I’d like to address in this article along with the many benefits martial arts training has to offer for any individual no matter your training goals. First, let’s clear a few misconceptions:
Misconception #1) Won’t this make my child more violent?
There’s a common thought among parents that somehow enrolling their children in martial arts will make them violent, turn them into the school bully, or encourage them to use physical techniques on their siblings and peers. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A good martial arts school will instill the proper mindset in children, that martial arts is to be used for self-defense only and practiced only under the supervision of an instructor. With physical training comes an emphasis on character and treating others with respect. A good program will also develop self-control and the ability to manage one’s emotions so students don’t lash out when they’re angry. If your child could benefit from developing these characteristics then martial arts are a great option for you to consider!
Misconception #2) Isn’t there a high risk of injury?
Adults often worry about this issue when considering a martial arts program. This certainly can be the case IF you choose the wrong training environment. Consistent martial arts training can actually help you prevent injuries by increasing flexibility, balance, and coordination. Choose a school that has a friendly and safe environment, not one with ego-driven instructors and students. A good school will emphasize safety first and you’ll have a lot of fun developing your skills while becoming physically stronger and avoiding injuries.
Misconception #3) I have no interest in fighting, isn’t that what it’s ultimately about?
Sure, if you choose an MMA gym you’re most likely going to have to participate in some level of sparring eventually. However, many gyms offer students the option not to spar. For example, at 7 Spears Martial Arts, we focus on technique, conditioning, and drills during the class and provide optional sparring sessions for the students who are interested in learning how to apply their skills in this manner. It’s important to note there are so many other aspects of martial arts aside from sparring! You can benefit from learning the techniques, acquiring self-defense skills, and seeing an overall improvement in your health!
Now that we’ve cleared that up, I’d like to mention just a handful and the many amazing benefits of martial arts training for both children and adults!
Discipline! Parents, who wouldn’t love a little more discipline in their child? This is a struggle for a lot of children these days with short attention spans. In our programs we reinforce discipline, listening to and respecting adults, and of course focus!
Confidence. Many children are suffering from a lack of confidence these days due to limited social interactions. Not only does martial arts provide a positive social environment, but students feel empowered and emboldened as they develop and master their skills.
Decision-making and self-defense. Not only do students learn physical self-defense techniques, but they also learn about how to make smart decisions and be aware of their surroundings. They learn defensive moves and to listen to their “gut” when a situation doesn’t seem right.
Fitness. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, many kids have seen dramatically lower activity levels. This has led to many young children becoming overweight and lacking physical strength and stamina. Martial arts is such a great physical workout because it works the entire body while developing both strength and cardio endurance. It’s also a lot of fun so children don’t complain about the exercise!
Mental health. Another unfortunate side effect of the pandemic is the negative impact on mental health in children. We’ve seen an uptick in children with anxiety and depression due to the uncertainty and lack of human interactions. What’s so great about martial arts is it provides a positive peer group for students to connect with and leaves them feeling supported and encouraged. Martial arts programs help provide the stability that children desperately need and physical exercise is great for producing endorphins, our natural mood enhancer!
Body composition. If you’ve struggled to change your body composition using traditional fitness methods, the problem might not be you, it’s likely the routine. Martial arts workouts engage the entire body, especially the core and legs which help to burn major calories and sculpt your muscles. The other point to consider is the degree of enjoyment you get from your fitness routine. If you dread going to the gym, you’re not likely to stick with it or see the same results. If you love your routine, and it’s hard not to love it, you’ll be excited to train and stick with it for the long haul!
Strength and flexibility. The movements of martial arts naturally build strength and develop flexibility. The dynamic stretches help to loosen up the hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, and more. Whether you’re hitting heavy bags or practicing takedowns with a partner, your muscles will become stronger and more agile with each session.
Mental clarity. Learning martial arts requires focus and helps take your mind off of stressors and distractions. Many adults love martial arts training for the mental clarity and sharpness it helps to develop. It’s great for stress relief, mood-boosting, and helps you keep a positive perspective.
Community. Could you use a positive peer support group? Students build meaningful bonds with one another and friendships that support a common goal. It’s such a great feeling to show up to class after a hard day and be encouraged by your fellow classmates! Martial arts friends help motivate you toward something positive and beneficial to your health!
Confidence. We talk a lot about confidence as a benefit of martial arts for kids, but truthfully adults see a major improvement in this area as well. Being strong makes us feel good about ourselves. Learning how to defend yourself makes you feel empowered and learning new skills increases your confidence in your abilities. Not to mention the physical results you’ll see through regular training will make you feel good about your body!
The real question should be, why not martial arts? Come check out a class and see what makes martial arts training so great! If you live in Poway or nearby San Diego areas, click HERE to set up a free trial class. We hope to see you soon!