Martial arts training provides a full-body workout for people of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. Practicing martial arts helps to tone and strengthen the body. It also provides a host of mental and emotional benefits.
Good martial arts instructors know that kids who attend martial arts schools will experience developmental milestones regularly. In fact, martial arts classes can help children of all ages to improve their mental and physical fitness while providing instruction at a level appropriate for their development. Here are 6 developmental benefits of martial arts for kids.
#1: Physical Coordination
Many kids struggle with physical coordination. They may appear to be clumsy or careless but in many cases, the issue is that they haven’t yet learned how to control their movements and channel their energy.
Martial arts training helps kids build physical coordination and control through repetition. As they acquire new skills and gain proficiency, they’ll be less likely to be inadvertently destructive in their lives.
#2: Improved Focus and Concentration
A lot of kids, particularly young ones, may struggle to keep their attention on a task or activity. A child’s focus drifts both at home and in school and while that’s normal for young kids, it is necessary for them to learn how to focus.
In any martial arts class, kids must pay attention to their instructors and focus on them as they demonstrate new moves or explain core values and tenets of the martial arts. As kids learn to focus, they will be learning developmentally appropriate skills that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
A lot has been written about kids’ brains being sponge-like, able to absorb new information easily. That’s true but it’s also true that memorization is a skill–and an important developmental one for kids to learn.
Studying a martial art requires kids to learn new information and new movements. They must remember how to do each move properly and memorize sequences of movements. Their memories are tested when they try for a new stripe or belt, and all the time, they’re learning how to memorize efficiently.
#4: Respect for Others
Children of all ages must learn how to behave properly. Young children are likely to test boundaries in ways that may come off as disrespectful or inappropriate, so it stands to reason that learning to respect others is an important developmental step.
Respect is one of the five core tenets of the martial arts. As kids learn to respect themselves and other students, they also improve their self-control and self-confidence. Children learn when and how to speak to and treat others every time they step onto the mat.
#5: Goal Setting
Kids may struggle as they pursue goals, particularly long-term goals that require discipline and patience. One of the most useful things about martial arts training is that it is built around a structure that takes big goals and breaks them down into small and manageable tasks.
For example, a child pursuing a new belt won’t get overwhelmed because the focus in class and in practice is on learning one new skill at a time, with each skill building upon the last. Kids who study the martial arts internalize the process of setting attainable goals and that’s something that will help them in school and into adulthood.
Socialization is important at multiple developmental stages. Kids need to learn how to form connections with others, how to treat people, and how to behave in social settings.
Martial arts classes provide kids with the opportunity to build communication skills that they can use in everyday life. Martial arts schools attract children from a variety of backgrounds and put them together, where they can learn about each other and make new friends.
Attending martial arts classes can help kids developmentally at every level, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers.