Why should a child learn a Martial Art?

Why should a child learn a Martial Art? – In today’s society, knowing a Martial Art is something that everyone should know for fitness for health and for self-protection.  For children, Martial Arts means many different things depending upon the reason that both they and their parents want them to study Karate, Judo, Taekwondo or Kung Fu for.

Although being taught a Martial Art can teach kids how to successfully defend themselves against bullies and other physical dangers that they may face. it also teaches them self-discipline, self-reliance, self-control and self-confidence as well, which arguably are more important life skills which can lead to success in all walks of life, from school to work. The government has identified childhood obesity and lack of exercise as a major contributory factor in children’s health and also in the later stages of life as they become as adult.

If a child is prone to anger, stress, anxiety, hyper-activity or a lack of focus, the structure and the discipline imposed by learning a Martial Art can help them to learn how to control both their feelings of anger or anxiety and stress and to remain calm in difficult situations. By improving their skills in a planned constructive manner, children’s confidence and levels of self-belief increases during their journey to their black belt. The determination, drive and confidence to become a Black Belt Martial Artist sets them on a course which will help them to go further in life.

karate, GKR, Goju, Shito Ryu, Wado, Shotokan, Shotokai, Sport Karate, Matt Fiddess, Matt Fiddes, Kung Fu, Ju Jitsu, Aikido, Go Kan Ryu, Go-Kan-Ryu

To start on this journey, the first thing to do is to find a club teaching a style of Martial Art that they will enjoy. With many different styles to choose from, it can be a difficult choice to make.  The most popular Martial Arts for children include Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, Kung Fu and Kickboxing.  When making a decision as to which Art to choose, the first thing to consider is the club and the coaches that you want them to train with and if your child has a preference for type of Martial Arts. For example Karate, Kickboxing, Taekwondo and Kung Fu tend to be stand up punching and kicking arts, whereas Judo, Brazilian Ju Jitsu and some styles of Kung Fu are more based around grappling, throws and groundwork.

You then need to start reviewing local martial arts clubs and academies near you. It’s worth remembering that the closest club to your home or school may not be the best one to train at. As an example, we have children who travel over 35 miles to train with us. Whilst this may be an extreme example, it is worth travelling to train at a good club with good coaches. Those of you living in smaller towns or village may also have limited choice locally, so you may need to travel further afield.

The coaches teaching the classes, should be experienced Black Belts. A Black Belt is not a coaching standard it is a mark of their technical ability and skills in the Martial Art that they are teaching, the higher the Dan grade or level of belt, the better. The coaches should also have formal coaching qualifications ideally from a National Governing Body or other Sport England recognised coaching qualification awarding body. A certificate saying that a coach is registered as a Black Belt isn’t a qualification. Becoming a qualified coach isn’t easy, but it’s vital to understand the basics of how to safely coach children, the differences between them and adults, safeguarding, first aid and long term athlete development.   

dojo, training hall

When you have made the decision to enrol your child in a Martial Arts club, you should take them for a taster class and sit and watch the class yourself to make sure that you are both comfortable with the dojo (or training hall) cleanliness and the equipment being used, the format of the class, the other participants and the coaches. There should be no reason that you aren’t allowed to watch a class, if you can’t watch, then consider whether this is the right club for you. Is there a system to follow to help your child develop their skills? If you watch a beginner versus someone who has trained for a few years, there should be a noticeable difference in skills.

Even though the Martial Art itself may be good and beneficial to your child, it won’t help them unless the facilities are upto the job and the instructors are good and able to communicate with their members.  Please make sure that you choose the best available classes for you, which is why it always wise to shop around.  If you search through your available choices, you’ll normally be able to find what works best for you and your child.

It could be argued that you aren’t joining your child to a Martial Arts program or class but rather to a child development program that will help them to develop soft skills such as confidence, self discipline, motivation, self control and focus. These attributes will help them up to and during vital exam periods at school. At the same time they learn important self defence and self protection skills not just in physical ways, but also their own health, emotional and physical.

Kids learning a Martial Art is a wise investment of your child’s time and effort, which is one of the reasons why they are such popular sports to get involved with. So if you’ve ever asked that question “Why should a child learn a Martial Art?” you know some of the reasons now, good luck and good training.

BJA Coach, British Judo Coaching qualification, Level 4 coach, UKCC