This is why I want my kids to train martial arts

Discipline, resilience, self-confidence – these are just some of the life lessons your kid can take from the mats...

Mums, raise your hand if you’re constantly worried about how your kids will turn out in the future. Sure, we turned out alright (we think), but as parents we’re always looking for ways to give our kids the best chances for success. Whether it’s enrolling them in the right co-curricular activities, making sure that they go to the best schools, or even speaking to them in our mother tongue so that they’ll learn a second language – a mum’s job is never done!

As someone who has trained martial arts for nine years and married to someone who’s practised it for even longer, we both know that giving our kids the opportunity to learn martial arts is one of the best advantages we could give them. Over hundreds of years, martial arts has proven that it teaches its practitioners the importance of working towards becoming the best versions of themselves. And there’s no doubt that they’ll be able to apply this in every aspect of their lives, even as adults. Here’s what else you need to know:  

Martial arts makes them bully-proof

Nothing is more heartbreaking for a parent than having their kid come home crying because they’ve been bullied. Although many argue that it’s part of growing up, it doesn’t mean that it should be a rite of passage. That’s where martial arts classes come in. They give kids the confidence in knowing they can defend themselves if ever they get caught in a compromising situation. Yes, we do live in super-safe Singapore, but you can never be too sure! Worried that martial arts will turn your kid into a bully? It’s actually quite the opposite. Instead, it teaches kids that using the skills they’ve picked up from their martial arts classes should be their last option.

Martial arts teaches kids how to be independent 

All parents want their kids to be independent! From the time they start their foray into the world of solids, we’re trying to get them to feed themselves, then later on, use the potty unassisted or take public transport on their own. Unlike other sports or activities, one’s success in martial arts is completely dependent on how much effort an individual puts in. Everything you do – whether it’s learning techniques or preparing for a competition – is based on your own hard work and commitment. This is why it’s easier for kids who learn martial arts to be independent. They know that by putting in the work, they’ll get better at anything!

It makes them more confident  

One of the key benefits for kids training martial arts is that they have more self-confidence. Every new technique they’re able to do properly in class or every competition they do well in makes them more confident! Not only that, the positive reinforcement they get from their coaches and training buddies also does wonders for their self-esteem.

It teaches them to be patient 

As parents, we know teaching our kids to be patient makes it less likely for them (fingers crossed) to turn into fully-fledged brats. When they train martial arts, they’ll realise that EVERYTHING takes time. Whether it’s getting promoted, or even just nailing the warm-up routine – all these don’t happen just because they want it to. Kids will learn that to get what they want, they need to put in the time. And the best part is that doing the work is fun – everyone in class is working towards their own goals too, so knowing that makes it a whole lot easier.

They’ll learn how to set goals 

Goal-setting is probably one of the most important life skills you’ll ever learn. Why not start as a kid? We know that goal setting gives us direction and motivation, teaching us to focus on whats important (more on that later) so that we can achieve our goals. In a martial arts class, kids will learn that the more hours they put in, and that the harder they train, the easier it will be for them to achieve their goals. And what’s great is that the results are so obvious, especially when they start sparring and putting their skills to the test.

It makes them resilient 

Hands down, this is one of the best things your child will take away from his or her martial arts lessons. They’ll understand that nothing comes easy and that talent only works for so long. It’s hard work and perseverance that makes the difference. It doesn’t matter if it just means showing up to class consistently or being able to do the warm-up routine properly – it all counts, just as long as you do it and work at it!

It teaches them respect 

In a traditional martial arts class, one of the first things you’ll do is line up in order of rank and bow after the instructor’s greeted the class. And after class, you’ll shake each other’s hands and bow again. Respect is a huge thing in martial arts. It shows that you honour your instructor and your teammates and that you are grateful for the lesson you’ve learned. Getting our kids to learn this valuable lesson will go a long way. Not only does it teach them good manners, it also teaches them to appreciate everything we’ve done for them thus far!

It whips them into shape 

It’s no secret that a lot of kids nowadays would rather stay at home and play video games or watch TV. Getting our kids fit and healthy can be tough, especially when we can’t find the right way to motivate them. Because of the goal-setting nature of martial arts, you’ll find your child wanting to go to class because they have a goal they’d like to reach. WIN! 

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