After school program that your child’s school offers can be beneficial in certain ways – but martial arts for kids teaches incredible life lessons and success skills that other after school programs just don’t offer. It’s about learning valuable skills like focus, discipline, perseverance… and making fitness fun.
We gathered up our top 5 reasons why Palm Harbor parents choose martial arts for kids- and some of them may surprise you! Read on to find out more.
Reason #1: Martial Arts For Kids Help them focus
Stepping outside of after school programs for a second, we can say with confidence that a lot of kids struggle with focus and concentration. Some of it is, of course, just part of being a kid, some of it has to do with more screen time leading to less control over attention spans, and some of it can be genetic for kids with attention issues.
The good news is that we’ve found that a lot of students who have attention problems actually benefit greatly from consistent martial arts classes. Why? Well, martial arts for kids is actually about way more than just punches and kicks. It’s a tool that people have been using for hundreds of years to develop character and build incredible life skills.
Our instructors are like ninjas, sneaking in quick games and activities to build focus over time. But aside from games, the act of martial arts itself requires discipline too. To master the physical moves, kids need to be still, listen intently, and concentrate on what they’re doing. Once they’re able to get the moves down, our instructors praise them, using positive reinforcement to create a reward connection between paying attention and being celebrated.
Soon, the students understand the connection between receiving positive feedback and staying focused, and they start to see great results. This ultimately helps them achieve better grades and become more confident, which you’ll read about in Reasons 2 and 3. (Cool, right?)
Reason #2: Better Grades Are Possible With Martial Arts For Kids
Yes- it’s true. Martial arts classes for kids can help your child achieve better grades. How, you may ask? Here’s how it works: Through fun games in class and consistent practice of the martial arts moves, we teach them how to improve their focus and attention skills (we talked about this above in Reason #1).
With this improved focus, our students become more “indistractable”- they have better hand-eye coordination and sharper attention spans, meaning they squirm less in their seats in class and can concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Better focus leads to better listening, so the information is “sticking” better, and they can sit down to complete their assignments with a higher quality of concentration. And, because the information is “sticking” better, they’re able to recall better on tests and quizzes, they’re scoring higher because of this heightened recall, and voila- better grades! Yep- it’s that simple, and it really does work!
Reason #3: Martial Arts Is An After School Program That Builds Confidence
Believe it or not, sometimes your child’s after school program can lead to a decrease in confidence because she’s comparing herself to others on her sports team or in her debate club. If your child isn’t the most athletic, or they’re somewhat shy, it can be difficult to find an after school program that suits them where they don’t have to worry about “letting the team down” in any way.
What’s great about martial arts is that it’s an individual sport in a group setting, so our students don’t have to worry about being the best of the best- they just have to focus on being better than they were yesterday. They learn how to compare themselves not necessarily to others, which can be a losing game but to the previous versions of themselves in order to keep improving.
In this way, our students can see in real time how awesome it feels to set goals and get goals, and they can understand the discipline and perseverance it takes to become successful. Those are skills they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives.
Additionally, our students learn to be real cheerleaders for their peers and support each other whenever they need it. This is one of the best things about teaching martial arts to kids- seeing the way that our kids become friends and cheer each other on. For those who have low self-esteem or just feel down about themselves, getting that support from both their instructors and their peers can be very gratifying and even start a lifelong path of confidence and happiness.
Reason #4: Our Martial Arts Instructors Are Positive Role Models For Kids
If you think about it, most after school programs are about an end result- the show in Drama Club, the games in sports but martial arts for kids are different. “Winning” the belt ranking is not our sole focus. Because martial arts is an individual sport in a group setting, our instructors are able to hone in on each student and help them with their own unique journey.
Our kids then begin to look to our instructors as positive role models- and our instructors are more than qualified to fill the role! They have dedicated their lives and careers to bonding with the kids and encouraging them through positive reinforcement, positive self-talk, and a focus on progress, not perfection.
The great thing about martial arts as a whole is that every black belt was once a beginner… so every instructor teaches with integrity. They know what it’s like to be frustrated or upset, but they also know how valuable it is to keep going! We show our students how to get back up when they’ve been knocked down, always stay humble no matter how far they progress, and how valuable personal development and a commitment to growth can be. Those kinds of lessons just aren’t as common in other after school program.
Reason #5: It’s Just Fun!
This one’s a no-brainer- martial arts for kids is just fun! Our awesome instructors make each lesson fun and engaging. Our classes are centered around non-stop activity. We break each class into different sections to keep our kids engaged and learning and sprinkle fun games into the mix to add an element of surprise.
Fun activities and games not only help the kids stay engaged with our lessons, but they also help our students make the connection that physical fitness and movement are sources of positive emotion, a connection that they’ll carry with them for life.
All of this focus on fun is also how our instructors manage to sneak those life skills, like focus, confidence, and discipline, into each lesson. The kids don’t even know they’re learning something- they’re too busy having a blast!