So, you want to enrol your child in martial arts.
But, something is holding you back. Maybe you’ve never done martial arts. Maybe you’re scared that they’re just going to learn how to fight. Maybe you don’t want them to get hurt. These are all valid reasons to be hesitant about enrolling them. But, martial arts is so much more than the punching and kicking. Here are 5 reasons why martial arts might be the BEST extracurricular that you could ever enrol your child in.
They will learn to respect themselves and others
Taekwondo comes from a very traditional background, and with tradition comes respect. Bowing, shaking hands, greeting each other — these are all aspects of martial arts. In class, they will learn to bow or shake hands with their training partners. They will learn to speak respectfully with words like “yes ma’am,” “no sir,” and “may I go to the washroom, ma’am?” They will learn to sit properly with their back straight and hands on their knees. They will focus on standing straight without leaning on walls or doing the infamous “bus stop stand” with their hip out to the side.
We all know it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a good instructor, a sense of self-respect and a group of awesome training partners to raise a martial artist.
They’ll develop a “Yes-I-Can” attitude
Everyone knows the old saying ‘fall down seven times and get up eight.’ But, does your child?
Do you find that they want to quit when something gets too difficult? Well, that won’t fly in Taekwondo. We strive to develop, what we call, a “Yes-I-Can” attitude. The journey to black belt is not an easy one, but it is worth it. It’s just difficult to explain that to kids that are used to getting everything RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW.
We want your kids to understand that there are some things that can’t be bought, but only earned. A black belt. Seeing their own belts move from yellow to orange to green and so on, they will learn to turn the “I can’t” into “I can” as they surprise themselves with the new techniques and skills they learn from consistent practice.
They will develop coordination
Have you ever seen your child trip over their own feet? Or maybe try to throw a ball and see it hit 30 yards off target?
Coordination is something that children (and many adults!) struggle with. Their bodies are constantly growing. Martial arts puts a strong focus on developing coordination. It starts at their core and moves out from there. Kicking and punching may look easy when you watch it on Youtube, but there’s much more to it than you think. In class, your child will develop a strong foundation of balance (on one or two legs!). They will learn to pivot properly, ground their stances and, eventually, be able to hold their leg in the air just like they do in the movies!
They will learn self-control
We all get angry, or sad, or frustrated sometimes. Growing up, children, more than anyone, don’t have the awareness to control those feelings. They might lash out by throwing their toys, yelling at you, or just storming off. This isn’t out of the ordinary, but the longer you wait to teach your child how to control their emotions, the harder it will get. In class, children are encouraged to try, try and try again. They might forget their poomsae, fall when they try a new skill or get kicked for not moving fast enough in sparring.
Our instructors never fail to encourage students to try again when they feel as though they have failed because failing is just a part of the journey. They will learn to understand those feelings of doubt that bring out anger and disappointment through continuous practice and verbal lessons taught throughout class.
They will learn to set and achieve goals
Becoming a black belt is no walk in the park. It takes years to achieve and as fast it can go by, kids still want it to come faster. One of the most important lessons for them to learn at a young age is patience. Our instructors explain that the importance of having short and long-term goals in Taekwondo. While their long term goal may be getting their black belt, their short term goal should be to learn that kick that they’ve been struggling with or to get their yellow belt (the second belt in our system).
They will learn to have a vision for what is possible and this will bleed into other areas of their lives, such as school. The concept that achieving anything takes work and determination is a lesson that will carry on for the rest of their lives.
So, I hope this makes martial arts sound a little less scary and a lot more fulfilling. Just remember that you, as parents, are just as big a part of their Taekwondo journey as the instructors are. Help us help them and you’ll see amazing results in the near future.