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The Art of Learning: Martial Arts for Children
How To Get Your Child Fit & Having Fun Martial Arts for Kids
It is a sad fact that childhood obesity is
increasing. To challenge this epidemic, we must address the issues of diet and
inactivity. Leaving diet aside for now, let’s examine how we can get children
more active and specifically how Martial Arts – whether Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Karate, MMA or
any other Martial Arts discipline – can play a fundamental role in their
physical and emotional health. So what exactly does Martial Arts offer?
1. Fun, Fitness and Focus
Martial Arts certainly requires dedication,
but this provides a focus and set of goals. Through a hierarchy of belts,
students work towards their “grading” when they are examined on what they have
recently been taught. Those that do well are rewarded with a new coloured belt,
working up to Black Belt. Having a target creates focus, and progress can be
charted through the belt system. Children are also exposed to the possibility
of failure, something which although hard, needs to be accepted. Hard work and
dedication are the keys to success.
Physical exertion is certainly a key
element of Martial Arts, but it is focused and controlled not chaotic or
haphazard. Repetitive learning of many new skills and techniques is both
intense and rewarding and progress is easily recognised.
2. Discipline and socialisation
Children often lack discipline. Martial
Arts is based on discipline, on a hierarchy, and ultimately upon respect for
the Art, the practitioners, the belts and above all for yourself. It is an
activity that is solely reliant on the individual, yet is undertaken in a
friendly social setting. The classes offer the chance to see various grades and
to have a sense of belonging within the structure.
As an individual sport, those who partake
in Martial Arts, gain self-confidence. They also gain a sense of acceptance,
for all practitioners started at the same place and are just at different stages
of the same journey. This is both inspiring and rewarding to a child, they can
see progress, but learn that the hard work has to continue. This inspires
confidence and ambition, creating positivity and self-respect.
4. Mind, body and spirit
Martial Arts challenges all of these
factors, but in a positive manner instilling focus, dedication, self-belief and
the sense of achievement as the child improves, learns and develops. A
healthier body and mind soon follow from the commitment to Martial Arts, and a new
spirit is found in the commitment to excellence.
5. The world can be rough
Martial Arts is not learning to fight, but
to recognise and avoid bad situations, and in the worst case scenario, react
appropriately. Martial Arts creates an inner calm, not anger. It is ultimately
about respect for yourself and everybody else.
The camaraderie of Martial Arts, the
discipline, focus and mental toughness creates a more rounded individual, and
one who is super fit and healthy too. So it’s high time for your little one to
put down that ice-cream, pick up
those Thai boxing gloves and start shaking off that puppy fat!
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