The Best Sport for Mastering Self-Discipline…At Any Age
Martial Arts training, such as karate, judo, and taekwondo, combine strength and fitness with a specific focus on the development of mental strength, like self-discipline and self-confidence, the benefits of which last well beyond the lessons and uniform.
With the worries every parent has about bullying at school and in the playground, why not give your child the opportunity through sports to gain mental strength training along with the physical ability to overcome the tough situations that often accompany childhood?
For adults, Martial Arts training provides mental conditioning where focus is lacking, along with self-defense skills for people interested in acquiring them.
Dojo. Sensei. Ninja. Kung Fu. Black Belt – the unique words of an ancient sport.
Martial Arts is indeed a sport, involving referees, timing, rules, scoring and judging. Believed to be among the oldest of sports, Marital Arts evolved over 4,000 years ago.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, wrestling and boxing were contests in the Ancient Olympics at Athens, Greece. Today, Karate, Judo, and Taekwondo form part of the Summer Olympics Martial Arts roster, with Men’s and Women’s Taekwondo being the most recent addition in 2000.
Various forms of martial arts are in practice today around the world by students young and old, amateur and professional, and often lifelong.
Benefits of Martial Arts Training:
- Introduction to Structure – every aspect of a martial arts class follows a defined structure and routine based on respect.…from how and where the student prepares for the class and approaches the mat to how students speak to the instructor. Repeated over time, class after class, the actions become habit, and spread into other parts of the student’s life.
- Paced Goal Setting – progress is measured as students move through the ranks. Some studios test just once a year; others provide students with the opportunity to test every 3-4 months. The more a student practices, the more ranks on which they can be tested.
- Ease of Practice – the physical elements of Martial Arts can be practiced anywhere, anytime, with no special equipment or facility needed. The mental skills acquired through Martial Arts can be practiced and applied daily at school, work, and home.
- Gain Self-Discipline and Self-Control – students of Martial Arts quickly learn that if they don’t practice regularly, their progress slows. Martial Arts training helps students to push through the days when motivation is lagging. This is how self-discipline develops and builds; the kind of self-discipline that can carry through to homework, and other activities requiring frequent practice.
- Learn to Focus – in Martial Arts, the targets, foot and arm movements are often very precise, and require keen focus and balance, similar to hitting a golf ball.
- Acquire Self-Confidence by moving through the ranks. Higher ranks require greater skill, which will require greater practice and effort to achieve. Students of Martial Arts are taught the skills, and are carefully observed and coached as they practice over and over in class. Combined with self-practice and mental focus, demonstrating the skill at the time of testing becomes attainable.
- Sense of Achievement by earning belts. Much like earning swimming badges, students of martial arts acquire a physical badge of accomplishment -a belt- for levels completed. Different colour belts (white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, red, brown, black) signify the level of difficulty the student has reached – the pinnacle being the iconic and expert-level Black Belt.
Is Martial Arts Training Safe for Children?
HealthyChildren Organization reports that millions of children participate in martial arts training annually. Believed to improve children’s ability to focus and sense of self-confidence, Martial Arts – like any sport – also requires attention to recommended guidelines to prevent injuries.
Qualified instructors will adapt their lessons, teaching, practice and supervision to the age and abilities of the participants.
Properly-fitting safety equipment for students is mandatory– body pads, head gear and mouth guards (depending on the activity and level).
Best Time to Start Martial Arts Training
For Children and Teens: Check with your local studio. Some offer introductory classes for children as young as 2 years old (accompanied by parent).
In most cases, the typical strict structure class of martial arts starts for children aged 4-6 years old and up. Regardless of age, it is important to match the class to the child’s abilities.
Does my child have an attention span to listen and follow instructions for 30-45 minutes? How likely is my child to practice regularly? For preschoolers taking classes independent of parents, it’s important that the child know left from right, in order to properly learn movements.
Some studios offer Open House events where parents and children can observe a class in action, or participate in birthday party events where children can be interactive with a Dojo for a few hours.
Other studios offer Spring Break or Summer Camps, where students can try out the sport more intensively over several days.
For Adults: Like Yoga, Martial Arts Training (namely, Karate and Judo) provides a lifelong physical opportunity and method with which to build strength, focus and balance AT ANY AGE.
Many studios offer beginner classes for students of all ages, as well as seniors-only classes. And, because martial arts studios operate year ‘round, the progress and benefits gained from Martial Arts training is sustained.
Regardless of age, comments frequently made about Martial Arts training – it’s physically satisfying, mentally engaging and strengthening, well-structured, social, and fun.
Cost of Martial Arts Training
It depends. Some studios charge a membership fee that covers a set number of classes weekly. Others charge per individual class taken, in addition others offer packages, i.e., 12 classes for $299.00.
Overall, Martial Arts training falls in the mid-range of cost for sports and exercise – the uniform, cost of registration and time commitment on lessons and practices being the major outlays.
Some studios include a free uniform with the cost of registration. In other cases, students provide their own. Classes typically run 45-60 minutes.
Did you know…Martial Arts training is available year ‘round? There are over 35 Martial Arts Studios in the Niagara Region. Find one near you on LocalSportSeach.com