Martial Arts for Children and Young Adults
by Sensei Rob Wetmore
I have been teaching the Martial Arts for over 20 years. In those years, I have been asked by many parents how Karate or the Martial Arts in general can help their child
- both younger children and young adults. There are many different benefits
for children/teenagers in the Martial Arts. Some of these include self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-defense. Some train for the physical conditioning, others simply
participate in the martial arts because it is fun and great for making new friends. Martial arts have even been known to help children in school.
A good Martial Arts program first teaches all students discipline. Students learn to listen to their parents, elders, and teachers the first time they are
spoken to. Not only do they learn to listen when told to or not to do something but they also learn to use self discipline and good judgment in the decisions they make. They
learn what is the appropriate way to act even when the parental figure is not present to give directions. Having better discipline helps children and young adults to focus better
in school and to stay out of trouble. They learn to pay attention and ignore distractions. School grades usually reflect this improvement in discipline.
Confidence is one of the larger benefits for any student training in the martial arts.. Children are exposed to many sports and activities growing up. Baseball,
football, wrestling, swimming, and gymnastics just to name a few. Competition is at the root of most of these
activities. I do believe it is good to push children to strive
to be better in life however, sometimes competition can have adverse effects on children. Not all children are natural athletes. When they do not excel in these activities, it tends
to break down their self-esteem. A good martial art program allows students to focus on self improvement rather than competing with the other children. They are taught to focus on
improving themselves every day rather than focusing on whether or not they are better than the next child in class. Students are fed positive reinforcement in a fun atmosphere on a
daily basis which allows the child to walk out of class feeling good about him or herself every day. Feeling good about one's self is the key to confidence.
Learning self-defense is an obvious benefit of the martial arts.
It is of growing concern in today's increasingly ugly society. It tends to give parents a piece of mind to know that their children can take care of themselves if they have to.
Most parents don't know what they are looking for when they first seek out the martial arts. They just know their children have been asking them to do Martial Arts
(karate) for one reason or another. One thing remains consistent, that the majority of students who train in the martial arts do benefit from it in one way or another.