Parents have a lot of options when it comes to choosing activities that help get their children away from the TV. Deciding which will benefit the child the most and be fun enough that they do not hate you for forcing them to go to every practice or class is hard. Martial Arts, or karate specifically because that is the style I have the most experience in, is one of the many my mother tried and I am still training almost seventeen years later. There are many benefits that come from the martial arts (like the ability to defend yourself, the confidence you can gain, and the physical health it promotes) all of which are great from the view point of Mom or Dad but just as importantly they are FUN which as I’m sure you are aware is the most important part for the kids.
Earlier I said that training is fun. It most certainly is but does that mean that children are always going to want to go to class? Of course not, their … Sensei, Sifu, Master, the teacher could be called any number of things depending on style and rank … will require that they work hard while they are in class. Do you want to get off the couch to go do a workout that you know is going to push you to your limit? No one does all of the time so it is crazy to expect that from your kid, but while they are there and after class ends they and you are going to be glad they went. I would even bet my car that they leave with a big smile on their face.
There are many benefits to the Martial Arts, too many to talk about here, in fact, so we are going to focus on three. If you are reading this you are probably aware of the boast in confidence and physical health along with the increased ability to defend yourself, so we can ignore them for now. I want to talk about stress relief and reduction, having more energy for day to day life, and the focus on YOU.
Let’s start with stress. It is an unfortunate part of life that can’t be avoided and it is up to us to find good ways to handle the stress that does come our way. Martial Arts is a healthy, fun, and efficient option for reducing and relieving your stress. The full body workouts are great at releasing the tension the builds up in the muscles. The drills force you to be 100 percent focused on the here and now, which is a fantastic thing when the deadline is approaching all too quickly. In the long run, everyday stressors become less stressful when you have faced down drills like “The Gauntlet” and “Shark Bait” a few hundred times. There is nothing like a Martial Arts class to relieve your stress. (If “The Gauntlet” intimidates you, keep reading and we will retract its claws soon.)
Now we can move on to the excess energy. One outcome of being more physically fit that not everyone knows about is the increase in energy. The extra reserves come from your muscles not needing to work as hard to complete normal day to day tasks. As you start pushing the muscles, challenging them and yourself to be stronger (after they are done complaining) you will realize the things you do every day, like walking, are easier. This is because you started the day with more energy in the tank so all the things you usually do, used a lower percentage of your daily allotment. A good class will also show you what it means to truly be tired and you might find that your tank holds more energy than you thought.
I could tell you about how Martial Arts teaches you to think more creatively, improves leadership skills, helps you overcome fears, and all the other benefits that people do not realize exists, but if I did this article would never end. Instead, I will just remind you that Martial Arts have so much to offer and everyone, especially YOU, should at least try a class.