If you want your child to learn discipline and emotional self-control, sign him up your martial arts. While most parents think it’s all about flying kicks and battle cries, real martial arts training is based on non-violence. In fact, kids who take it are told, again and again, that a true warrior does not need to beat other people up to feel strong. Strength is self-mastery, and that’s a great value to teach any child at this day and age.
Benefits of enrolling your child in martial arts
It builds confidence and self-esteem, and teaches respect for others, courtesy, and sportsmanship. It is particularly ideal for kids who don’t enjoy team sports. It is one of the most well-rounded after school activities because it teaches both physical and mental practices.
Types of Martial Arts programs
Karate is great for teaching strength and endurance. It involves kihon (moves like chops, kicks, blocks). kata (a series of offensive and defensive moves) and kumite (sparring). Jujitsu also teaches defensive and aggressive moves and also includes training in weapons. Aikido, on the other hand, is more a defensive training where you are taught to use the strength of the attacker against him, by disabling or redirecting his hits.
Judo is very safe, and compared to other martial arts, has ‘gentler’ moves that are very close to wrestling. Kung-fu actually covers a lot of different martial arts styles, and uses kicks, punches, etc. Taekwando is known for its quick footwork and high kicks and develops strength and force.
Choosing a martial arts program
Consider your child’s personality. If he is very energetic and likes to compete, then he may enjoy taekwando. A more sensitive child, on the other hand, may prefer judo. Also read on the principles and philosophies of the martial arts program you chose and see if it matches your expectations and the kinds of values you want to teach.
Choose a school or a teacher who specializes in teaching martial arts for kids. Ask how many classes he has handled, and the age of the kids. You may also want to observe a class to see how he interacts with the kids, and whether their is sincere respect for him or just fear or boredom.
Ask about their safety measures and look at the size of their room and number of people in the class. Will there be enough space for everyone to move and kick without hitting each other? The floor surface should not be slippery and they should have mats for teaching rolls, etc.
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