It’s back-to-school season again. And with it comes a whole new set of adventures, challenges, and routines. This time of year can be exciting. Students get to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. And you learn all sorts of cool and useful new things along the way. But it can also be stressful, and maybe a little intimidating. It can take a while to get comfortable with new teachers, new classmates, and new schools entirely. The transition from summer mode to school mode can also throw some students for a loop.
If your child is struggling in any of these areas—or simply looking for something to do outside of school hours—a training program in a martial art like Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or mixed martial arts could be the answer. With their focus on self-awareness, self-improvement, community building, and respect, martial arts have the tools that students need to deal with tough moments, treat themselves and everyone else at school with dignity, and make the most out of the good times, too. Here are seven ways that martial arts training can help your children succeeded now that they’re back to school.
Let’s face it, even the most popular and well-adjusted child has moments of painfully insecurity. And the average school environment can sometimes be hard on even the most confident kid. Martial arts lessons encourage students to take pride in themselves and their accomplishments while remaining humble. This is a great foundation for developing an internal sense of self—and a confidence in that self—that can’t be easily swayed by playground dynamics, school competition outcomes, or test scores.
For children who are struggling to fit in at school, martial arts lessons can also provide them with a more welcoming group dynamic and a place where they won’t be judged for being themselves. Which can go a long way toward helping insecure kids feel more comfortable with themselves and their place in the world.
Modern life is filled with distractions that chip away at our ability to concentrate on tasks and complete them. This can make sitting in school, following lessons, and completing assignments challenging for many children. Martial arts lessons often include step-by-step instructions and clearly explained goals that help students break down the learning process so that they can understand how to work through a task—and actually follow through on that task. Martial arts also encourages a focus on mindfulness that improves concentration. Together, these aspects of martial arts training can help a student develop stronger focus and discipline in their school studies.
Martial arts classes are filled with opportunities for students to work together and support each other in all sorts of meaningful ways. They will learn to help each other while working together as a team. They’ll also learn to quietly respect each other and encourage everyone’s individual progress in technique training. And sparring and competition will teach them how they can still respect and value each other as teammates while they are working against each other to pursue their own goals. All of which are vital life lessons that can be applied to any group setting, including school classes, after school activities, and gym class.
Dealing With Setbacks
School can be a scary place for children who have issues with perfectionism, anxiety, and fear of failure. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks are an integral part of school. Nobody’s perfect, and we can’t improve if we’re not taking risks and learning from the ones that don’t work out. But a child who struggles with mistakes to begin with is unlikely to feel comfortable being this vulnerable in the average school setting. Martial arts can provide children like this with a much more comfortable place to embrace this learning process. We’re all about learning from mistakes and getting back up again, after all!
Realizing that failure isn’t the end of the world in an environment that doesn’t shame students for mistakes (and often celebrates how vital they are to being a good martial artist) can go a long way toward helping perfectionists be a little kinder to themselves. And that kindness can go a long way toward helping children feeling more comfortable with with being an imperfect human being who makes mistakes and grows from them.
Problem Solving Skills
Conflict resolution is a key skill in martial arts, and students are given a variety of chances to hone that skill in their training. Working with instructors and your fellow students teaches you how to communicate with people and work through problems either together or alongside each other. Mindfully dealing with frustrations—like when a technique isn’t coming to you easily, or a sparring session doesn’t go your way—teaches you how to take a deep breath and control your emotions when a situation gets tense. Opportunities to quit and regroup in technique and sparring training help you to learn when it’s time to take a step back and refocus your energies.
Children who learn to develop these skills in martial arts classes will be well equipped to handle the kind of conflicts and disagreements that happen whenever people come together in a group setting like a school.
Keeping up academically and socially in a school setting can put a lot of pressure on students. Martial arts training, especially high intensity training in striking arts like Boxing, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai, provide children with a fun and rewarding outlet for working through a lot of that excess energy.
Dealing With Bullying
Martial arts can be valuable to children who are dealing with bullying situations at school for a couple of reasons. First, martial arts classes can provide a kind and encouraging environment for them where they won’t have to worry about the kind of harsh judgement they’re facing from other kids on the playground. They might even finds friends and a support system that will help to remind that they’re valued and love, and not everyone in the world sees them the way their bullies do. Secondly, it provides children with the skills they will need to help protect themselves on the playground.
This can include self-defence techniques for neutralizing physical attacks, although we hope it never comes to that. But it also involves developing confidence to stand up for yourself and learning how to diffuse situations before they turn to violence.