Many people enroll their children into a martial arts program so they can have a physical activity and spend their time more productively. Did you know that there are also many emotional and mental health benefits for children who participate in martial arts? In this post, we’ll discuss the mental health benefits that practicing martial arts can provide.
1 – Social Skills and Friendship
The ability to make and have friends is a major factor in a child’s satisfaction and comfort level in school. It is also a key factor in their abilities to interact with the world as they get older. Martial arts provides children the ability to feel incorporated in a nonthreatening family environment. Dojos are extremely structured and facilitate a family-like atmosphere. Ultimately, that makes it a perfect environment for shy children to begin to open up and make friends. Martial arts training also teaches the concepts of compassion to opponents, patience and conflict resolution.
2 – Discipline
Having discipline will help a child in many ways. Discipline will allow a child to learn how to structure important aspects of their lives to accomplish tasks and goals. In martial arts, discipline is a foundational practice. Martial arts instructors are keen on not tolerating disruptions, excessive talking or goofing around. This type of discipline is especially important if the child is not receiving it in school. The discipline taught in martial arts also teaches how to control anger, how to diffuse situations without fighting and how to be self-accountable.
3 – Respect
Along with discipline, respect is another foundational practice taught in virtually every martial art. Children are taught to respect their instructors, their co-students, opponents and themselves. Respect is deeply engrained in martial arts and it is a lesson that it taught from day one until the end of practicing martial arts. The respect associated with martial arts comes from the close interaction students have with their teachers. Naturally, as the student learns more from the instructor they begin to increase in belt ranks, which also facilitates respect for their techniques, knowledge and abilities.
4 – Confidence
Learning new skills, self-defense techniques and how to acquire higher level belts provides a system of accomplishment that rewards the child with increased confidence. Because there is a competitiveness within martial arts, the ability to face an opponent and win also allows the child’s self-confidence to grow. Because it is a one-on-one sport, the child becomes more self-aware in a loss than in a team sport environment. These factors combine to boost the confidence of children, which is something that can help them become more daring in their future dreams and wants.
5 – Awareness of Personal Safety
Martial arts provide children with the ability to be self-accountable in an adult world. This dynamic not only makes a child more confident, but more aware of their personal environment as well. For children, many dojos will teach about stranger awareness and what to do when encountering a stranger. While parents also teach these rules to their children, their martial arts instructor also reinforce that from different angles as well. Ultimately, children taught about stranger awareness and personal safety in dojos can come away learning better decision making methods.
6 – Physical Fitness
Physical fitness is a growing concern these days when it comes to children. Because of technology, downgraded quality of food and busier parental schedules, children are becoming more sedentary. Martial arts provide an avenue for children to work on their balance, posture, coordination and an understanding about the importance of health and fitness from an early age. Studies have shown that physical activity is incredibly helpful to a healthy mind.
7 – Focus
A child with a strong attention span is one that will do better in school, have more discipline and have the ability to better handle situations without feeling overwhelmed. Martial Arts teaches children how to focus on a particular task, set of moves and reactions to an opponent’s moves. This also goes together with the discipline built through martial arts.
8 – Responsibility
In many dojos, children are required to maintain the cleanliness of their uniforms, the dojo and to be punctual. Along with the personal responsibility children have in memorizing moves, these elements impact their ability to achieve higher belts. Ultimately, that system of personal responsibility is important in the independence felt by a growing child.
9 – Listening
Listening to instructions from martial arts instructors is a vital aspect of the success a child will have in their martial arts program. Because children need to listen to their instructors, clear lines of authority and respect are drawn. By listening to their instructors, children are taught that following directions, accountability and focus are important to success.
10 – Attention to Detail
Martial arts are all about details. When children learn moves, they will learn how important every little movement needs to be and how it can impact outcomes. This emphasis on attention to detail helps a child increase their focus, concentration and memorization.
Martial arts are great for boosting a child’s physical and mental health. Many of the positive aspects of healthy mental health are incorporated within the martial arts system of respect, rewards, accountability and confidence.