I am a firm believer in education. There is no doubt education prepares children for success in life. Reading the Saturday paper to scan the employment ads; writing a thank you letter to someone who interviewed you for a position; creating a good resume; making the correct change from a fifty; these are essential skills in today’s competitive job market. Skills we hope our children have as they approach the age of adulthood. Can the martial arts help kids do better at school? Definitely yes.
Discipline. Martial arts promote self-discipline in a way that few other after-school activities can match. The high standards, focus on the achievement of goals, emphasis of individual self-reliance over group, and need to attend class regularly (even when they don’t feel like it), will carry over into their school life.
Ability to memorize. The ability to memorize is taught in the forms or kata in the martial arts. These forms or sequences of martial arts movements can be fairly complex and can really test ones ability to remember them. This stimulation of the brain helps children remember their studies better.
Ability to focus. Students must watch, listen, and engage all other senses to learn the techniques, at the same time tuning out distractions. Parents of children with attention deficit problems have told me how the martial arts have helped their children focus at school. By the time these children reach black belt, they have a laser-like focus.
Respect for self and others. Respect is something that will make or break a child’s efforts at school. Martial arts highly stress the value of respect and children will be at a big advantage at school and in later life if they treat others with respect. Respect for self means they will be able to resist peer pressure to get involved with activities that will get them into trouble at school.
Accountability. The martial arts build accountability from day one. If you master a series of techniques, you earn your stripe or belt. If you don’t do your best, the disappointment you feel at not getting your belt will teach you to be accountable to yourself and try much harder next time. Being accountable to oneself is necessary for success in school, and also in life.
Give your children the edge in school, get them in a martial arts program. You won’t regret it.
There are other benefits of martial arts for children on this link.
Can Martial Arts Help Children in School? is an original article by Sensei Matt Klein.