Admit it. When going gets tough at home, we’ve all plopped kids in front of television and breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, we can get started on dinner, maybe check email or sort that massive pile of laundry.
But when your five-year old yells at you “Mom, Kids Rule!” or your ten-year old horrifies you with language that would make a sailor blush, you realize there must be something amiss with what these “family programs” really teach our kids. And sadly, its happening all over media today, from sports to cartoons, and our children are learning things that we, as parents, vowed we would never teach them. Old fashioned values like respect and self-discipline, seems to have been forgotten, replaced by dreaded “bling bling” pop culture of today.
Just thought of your angelic three-year old morphing into a designer-clad, smart-mouthed, money-worshipping, me-obsessed, lay-about is enough to make any parent consider that threatening military school brochure, but there is a solution out there to consider.
Martial Arts training.
From Ninja Turtles to The Karate Kid
You and your kids have all seen flying kicks, battle cries and mighty chops of their favorite TV characters, as they beat bad guys to submission – but, you may ask, how on earth can these acts of violence teach my child anything worthwhile?
First, know that what you see on television (save perhaps Karate Kid) is a far cry from what real martial arts are all about. The fact is, martial arts training is based on non-violence.
Originating in Asia (mainly Japan, China and Korea, although Thailand and Vietnam have their own practices as well), martial arts range from a variety of types and styles, all of which are based on well-rounded, moral teachings. The beauty of learning martial arts is that it encompasses not just physical aspect of “sport”, but mental and emotional lessons as well.
Comparing that to other kid’s activities and sports, where fierce competitiveness and “winning at all costs” seems to be order of day, it’s not surprising that many children grapple with issues of self-esteem and misplaced aggression.
Now imagine your child actually learning valuable life lessons, skills that he will take throughout life, laying foundation for a happy, well-adjusted and fulfilled adult life. If only karate for kids was popular in 70’s, when I was growing up!
• Karate, and other martial arts for kids, builds confidence and self-esteem as well as self-discipline, respect, concentration and courtesy.
• Many martial arts schools also offer leadership courses for kids, in conjunction with their karate for kids programs, or similar lessons.
• Martial Arts is ideal for children who do not do well in team sports, giving them ability to flourish this activity, while combining physical and mental practices.
• Many do not realize this, but it is a fact that martial arts training are safer than most school sports.
• Children with special needs, such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), learning difficulties and hyperactivity are often recommended to participate in martial arts for kids because of clear benefits in its structured training techniques.
Kung-Fu Master or Ninja Warrior?
Before you sign up Junior for first martial arts class you see, take some time to check out different methods available, and match it with what you know would suit your child best. This is a good way to avoid any problems that may sprout from a conflict of your child’s personality and training techniques.
Is your little Zach a sensitive soul? Then maybe a class that doesn’t center on sparring (full-on kicks and punches training) but rather, slower, defensive maneuvers would fare better for him. Kids with an aggressive streak, however, may prefer more forceful moves and thrive in competitive sparring.
Here’s a quick primer on kid-friendly martial arts training you’re likely to find:
Martial Arts From Japan