Every child’s early years are incredibly important to their development and well being. Many concerned parents are interested in what is the best way for their school age child to receive ample physical and mental stimulation. Considering that there are many so-called “strategies” that falsely tout benefits, it’s very difficult to delineate the truth from the misleading claims. Martial arts, specifically karate, has been used in many replicated scientific studies to improve fitness, and reduce stress specifically for children. Here we discuss the five main benefits that an early start to martial arts may benefit your kid.
Reap the health benefits through regular physical activity
With over 1 in every 4 Aussie child being overweight or obese [Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare], Australia will be facing considerable challenges in the future with regards to preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Doctors and health professionals claim that exercise is the best thing anyone can do to improve their health [Source: health.gov.au]. Making the first step for your child early on in life will instill the importance of being fit. Martial arts, when done right, can be the perfect fun activity for your child to supplement their daily physical activities. With sufficient warm up and cool down exercises and moderately intense activities, a good martial arts session makes sure that your child gets their dose of exercise without feeling burnt out or risking injury. Hence over a longer commitment, martial arts will definitely keep them healthy and fit for the rest of their lives.
Allow your child to explore their own physical and mental capacities through kata and kumite.
Sometimes in the face of adverse situations, it is quite challenging to keep calm and think rationally. Perhaps your child is unaware of their own physical and mental capabilities or perhaps they don’t think that they can do it! Martial arts challenges your child to remain calm, analyze obstacles and draw on their learning experiences. Successful martial artists are brilliant strategists! They understand their own capabilities, their obstacles and the difference they need to overcome them. Over the course of many gradings and training sessions, every student is able to quell low self-esteem, stress, nervousness and a lack of confidence. However, the real benefit is long term planning and confidence in their abilities in other fields that is instilled by this routine. Starting early gives the advantages your child needs to ace in school and all of their personal endeavors.
Increase situational awareness, and potentially avoid dangerous situations.
Learning about conflict resolution when in danger may be a life-saving skill to have. The common misconception that martial arts teaches you to fight. In fact, karate and many other martial arts live off the adage that one must not seek conflict, when at possible to resolve it through other means and seek help when they are clearly in danger. While most martial arts have a self-defence component, the proper and safe approach taught to every martial arts student is that conflict resolution is almost always the sensible way to get out of any physical altercation.
Make lifelong bonds and become a member of a culture with a rich heritage.
Every single martial art has been born out of a rich history, a dedicated culture and a friendly diaspora. Each martial art today has stood the test of time. However it wouldn’t have if the martial arts didn’t place an emphasis on fraternity. Walking in any dojo, it’s easy to see how family-like the atmosphere is. Everyone, from the senseis to the rookie white belts attending is dedicated and motivated and more importantly serve the shared goal of “being the best one can be”. Frequent local competitions with other Victorian dojos and the occasional gradings and championships keep reminding us that martial arts is a community-driven enterprise with a focus on teamwork and cooperation.
Join Kimekai and take the first steps to benefiting your child’s development.