If you’re looking for a way to encourage your children to get more physical exercise, it’s worth considering children’s martial arts. Your child may have already expressed an interest, thanks to popular comic creations, or your child may be more interested in independent sports rather than team games such as football or soccer.
There’s a wide range to choose from and many health centers in Charlotte offer martial arts classes designed just for children. Below you’ll find more information on the various martial arts available, alongside the benefits children can get from the sport, and some basics on the belt system.
How can martial arts help your child?
There is a wide range of martial arts disciplines, but generally speaking they all encourage the things parents often struggle to stimulate in their children – physical health and agility, discipline and concentration. If your child isn’t interested in team sports, children’s martial arts provide a great way for them get some exercise, meet other children and learn valuable skills that will stay with them for life.
With the concept of the belt system at the heart of martial arts, the sport provides a useful way for children to focus on moving up the ranks and the sense of satisfaction and self fulfillment it brings, building a child’s self-esteem and confidence along the way.
But children’s martial arts aren’t just about physical prowess – it’s also about training the mind and spirit so children learn skills they can take into other areas of their life such as better concentration and reasoning skills, which are important for academic success. Physically, martial arts provide physical skills, such as self-defense, which may help children if they find themselves in a risky situation.
If you’re feeling a little uneasy with the fighting system implications of martial arts, don’t worry. Despite the sport’s outdated origins, the disciplined, carefully supervised environment of the martial arts training school, combined with an emphasis on using the mind to overcome the opponent rather than brute force, reinforces positive behavior and self-restraint.
What are the different forms of children’s martial arts?
There are many, many types of martial arts available, with new ones emerging all the time, but the most widely available, and most suited to children include the following.
Karate: Literally meaning ’empty hand’, Karate is one of the most traditional martial arts. In essence it’s an unarmed-combat system, employing kicking, striking and defensive blocking with arms and legs with a big emphasis on mental attitude and courtesy.
Judo: Involving lots of throwing moves, Judo is good for developing fitness, strength and balance, as well as posture and stamina. Meaning ‘gentle way’ in Chinese, Judo today is widely practiced by both sexes and adheres to a belt system – white belts are worn by beginners and black by masters, with various different color belts in between. Judo training can start at any age though children under 8 are not permitted to compete in the sport.
Taekwon-Do: Emphasis in Taekwon-Do is placed on self-defense and development of self-control. Its guiding principles are the ‘6 Tenets’, a principle of belief that followers of the sport must adhere to and try to implement into all areas of their day-to-day lives.
Aikido: One of the more intellectual of the martial arts, Aikido is a more formal, non-violent martial art that encourages dodging confrontation and never uses force to oppose force. It uses movements from the ancient Japanese Samurai tradition and is today an internationally recognized sport, practiced by all ages.
Kung Fu: This is perhaps one of the best-known children’s martial arts, and literally means ‘achievement through great effort’. It includes a group of Chinese martial arts, all of which use a range of punches and kicks on specific pressure points on the opponent’s body.
Ju-Jitsu: Loosely translated, it means ‘gentle art’ and is applied to many schools of unarmed and hand-to-hand combat. With an emphasis on cultivating mind and body, it teaches ways to control one’s anger and frustration and the use of force is only allowed in self-defense.
Tang Soo Do: This is a relatively modern style with its roots in ancient martial arts. It’s suitable for children from 4 years upwards, and is a great way to learn self-discipline, self-confidence, physical fitness and stress management. It can also have positive effects on a child’s concentration.
If you would like more information regarding children’s martial arts, call us today or stop by to discuss your options!