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Martial Arts and Self Control for Young Children

Enrolling your child in a martial arts class can help them in a variety of ways. Children in our classes get the physical activity they need. There are mental and emotional benefits as well since martial art instruction fosters a healthy mind-body connection.

One of the biggest benefits of martial arts classes for children is that it teaches them self-control. Young children often struggle to control themselves. They don’t have the motor skills that older kids and adults have, and they also lack reliable emotional control. Here’s what you need to know about martial arts and your child’s self-control.

Martial Arts Instruction and Physical Control

When children are young, they don’t have the ability to move with precision. That’s because motor control is developed over time. If you’ve seen a toddler walk, you know that they sometimes lurch from side to side. They may fall frequently. They’re still learning about their bodies and physical capabilities.

Martial arts classes teach children to control their bodies through repeated movements. The first time a student executes a kick, it is likely to be awkward and imperfect. Our instructors demonstrate proper form and over time, children learn to execute that kick correctly.

Martial arts classes help kids tone their muscles and that can help with self-control, too. When muscles are toned, it’s easier to make them do what you want them to do. It improves balance. When our young students develop muscles, they also learn self-control and discipline.

Martial Arts and Emotional Control

Teaching children emotional control takes time and patience. While many people focus on self-defense and physical fitness when they think of the martial arts, the mental and emotional benefits are just as important.

Martial arts training teaches students life lessons that go far beyond the mat. The connection between a child’s mind and body is one that needs nurturing from an early age. When kids understand that focusing their minds and bodies on any karate technique can help them execute it, they get excited about mastering the control needed to do something cool.

Control and self-discipline are closely related. Discipline is required to repeat the same movement until the student has mastered it. Self-control is the same. For some kids, the desire to earn the next belt stripe or new belt — culminating in a black belt — is so strong that control becomes relatively easy.

Emotional control and physical control are flip sides of the same coin. Because martial arts films show characters fighting one another, there’s a misconception that martial artists don’t understand conflict resolution. In fact, the reverse is true.

When your child learns the martial arts, they’ll learn how to deescalate conflicts. Their instructors will help them understand that most conflicts can be resolved with words. Over time, the lessons of self-control will become part of who they are.

How Long Does It Take Martial Arts Students to Learn Self Control?

One question we hear a lot from parents has to do with how long it takes for students to learn self-control. Our answer is always the same: it’s a process and the journey is different for every student.

Young children aren’t going to master perfect self-control right away and it’s not reasonable to expect it. However, they will learn in each class no matter which martial art they study. They’ll see how much self-control and self-discipline their instructor has and want to emulate it.

If your child continues to study the martial arts, we believe that self-control will be something that improves consistently as they grow and mature. They’ll learn physical and emotional self-control along with self-defense.

We believe that studying the martial arts is one of the best ways for children to learn the art of self-control. 

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