Why Kids Benefit From Martial Arts

Michael Chin Worcester MA Martial Arts

Children often clamor to sign up for classes in the martial arts. It can be wise to indulge that desire because studying martial arts offers a few concrete benefits that can help them both as children and later in life.

Health and Fitness

Exercise is vital for children and adolescents. It helps to prevent obesity, which is a common health problem among young people that can cause many other diseases to develop. It also helps to manage mental health by reducing stress levels, helping to prevent anxiety and depression, and even by boosting energy.

A few factors contribute to making martial arts a good way to get that exercise. Most people practice them in a class, which makes it easy to stick to a regular schedule and ensures frequent exercise. They also provide a steady level of exercise over relatively long classes, which tends to be easier on the body than working out in short bursts.

Social Bonding

Shared activities are the best ways to make new friends. Kids who take part in martial arts have plenty of opportunities to meet people with shared interests. As they spend time with the other people in the class, they will tend to build new friendships.

Strong friendships tend to boost happiness and help form good memories, but they also form a cornerstone of good health. The psychological benefits are overwhelmingly positive, with strong social bonds reducing the risk of most mental problems in all age groups. To a lesser extent, these friendships also help to maintain physical health by giving people a reason to stay active and interact with the world. That means that anything that helps people to make friends will greatly improve their lives.

Defense

Martial arts did not begin as sports. This practice developed naturally as practical tools for warriors and only became traditional sports during a period of extended peace. Many of them still see some use in military forces and law enforcement agencies all over the world.

Taking classes in the martial arts won’t turn kids into soldiers, but it will give them tools and the confidence that they need to defend themselves in an emergency. It is always best if they never need to use those skills, but it is better to be prepared for an emergency that never happens than to be unprepared for one that does.

Martial Arts and Mental Health: Therapeutic Benefits

Michael Chin- Martial arts & Mental health

If you want to improve your mental health, and you’re not getting as much out of that therapy session or yoga class as you wanted, there’s another option: martial arts. Martial arts has been shown to improve mental health as both a spiritual and physical exercise.

First of all, martial arts are a physical activity. Participants train to improve their strength, balance, flexibility, and agility. It’s a full-body workout that can really get your heart going. And like any other physical activity, martial arts provides both physical and mental health benefits, reducing stress, releasing endorphins, and developing healthy habits and coping mechanisms. Additionally, martial arts improve physical self-confidence. By knowing that they are in good health and physically powerful, participants may feel better prepared to cope with all sorts of stressors.

But martial arts has other, more specific, benefits, separate from those of regular physical activity. The depiction of martial arts in the Western world has often featured a lot of flashy hand-to-hand combat and impressive demonstrations of physical power, such as breaking wood or bricks with bare hands, feet, or foreheads. However, martial arts has its roots as a spiritual movement, with many of its concepts drawn from Taoism or Zen Buddhism. The spiritual emphasis of martial arts can be best seen in so-called “soft” martial arts, such as tai-chi, which focuses on the direction of energy inwards, rather than outwards, resulting in a pattern of graceful dance-like movements, rather than fighting. However, even “hard” martial arts often involve “soft” aspects, such as meditation, and some forms of martial arts, such as Shaolin Kung Fu and Goju Ryu, are neither hard nor soft, but rather a combination of the two.

Thus, counter to what pop culture might suggest, martial arts –even those that emphasize combat– have been shown to reduce aggressiveness in participants. Mastering the complicated body movements required in the various forms of martial arts requires a great deal of self-awareness, and that attention to detail translates to improved self-regulation and reduced impulsiveness. Additionally, martial arts forms come with various ethical codes or ideals. While the contents of these codes varies between forms, some common values include respect, sincerity, and integrity. A successful martial arts program will help participants how to live up to these ideals.

These advantages have made some mental health experts consider martial arts a form of somatopsychic therapy. This is therapy that takes advantage of the body’s effect on the mind in order to improve the mind by improving the way a patient uses the body.