Why All Kids MUST learn Martial
I believe that martial arts education is essential for
all kids. The reason I believe this is because the
lessons learned in martial arts, our 'teacher's
syllabus,' are crucial life skills that kids need as
young adults (and as senior citizens!). They will use
and apply these skills in the process of living and
gaining enlightenment. Yet, these skills are not taught in
public schools nor are they easily taught by parents.
Though parents try to teach some of the life skills and
principles that are part of martial arts, principles
such as patience, honesty and effort, there is another
skill that kids need but parents don't teach.
Heroes of Self Defense and Protection
You may notice that many kids are attracted to those
characters in books and entertainment that are best able
to solve their own problems. Usually these characters
are super heroes or scientists with superior technology.
Kids look up to these heroes because they can defend
themselves or because they can defend what is morally
right, or because they can defend friends and family.
Heroes have overcome their fears and kids are drawn to
That quality is worthy of our admiration and we should
work toward helping kids develop it in themselves. The
most fear inducing problem that kids may encounter is
someone wanting to harm them.
You may recall your experience as a child of being
afraid of someone because they might hit you. When kids
don't feel intimidated or paralyzed by fear it clears up
their minds to better deal with more subtle forms of
aggression such as peer pressure or intimidation.
The hardest Part of Self Defense
The hardest part of self defense to teach is how to
react after you get hit. Why do kids need to learn this?
Young kids can be prone to intimidation and peer
pressure. As they overcome their fear of the grossest
manifestation of hostile aggression, getting hit, they
will be better able to deal with those subtle forms of
aggressions such as peer pressure and intimidation.
Teaching kids how to react after getting hit is hard for
parents to do, because in order to teach and learn
counter attacking you must actually get hit. Which
parent do you know who actually
shouts, 'Dodge, Block, Kick!'? Well, I do
that with my kids, but that is because my two kids (2nd
and 6th graders) are students in my own kung fu class.
Martial arts instructors help students learn how to
hit and counter in a safe environment. Such simulations
of strikes and counters are not as aggressive as they
would be in reality certainly not as
dangerous. However, practicing safe hitting and counter-attacking that
makes contact teaches self-defense,
hones awareness of surroundings, builds self-confidence
and self-reliance, strengthens the body and sharpens the
child’s mind. It teaches the child how to think things
through, make decisions, be persistent and follow
through. These are all highly valuable skills
how to spar and what happens when their sparring partner
hits them. They gain the reflexive skills and the idea that when
someone hits me, "I don't have to cower and
aggressive attacks from my opponent neither stop me nor hurt me."
learn these valuable lessons, and the earlier they learn
the better, the deeper ingrained becomes the idea of
overcoming their fears. This is important because we want our kids to feel that they
have the strength and confidence to stand up for
themselves and what is
In learning Martial Arts, they are learning so much more
than just self defense,
there are other sports that involve contact. It is not
that the kids are gaining discipline and
principles that they will
use for the rest of their lives. It is that they are
learning not to freeze in fear when someone gets
aggressive with them. This is a lesson that can save
their lives, just ask 9 year old Calysta.
when reading the story of Calysta, would pray their own
kids would react like she did. Calysta
Cordova engineered her own safety when she was attacked and
kidnapped by a man already charged in previous assaults on
children. Calysta kept her eyes open
looking for an opportunity to escape her kidnapper and
when the chance came she risked the temporary safety of
staying with the kidnapper and instead challenged him in
front of another adult to gain her freedom from her
there was an adult in sight Calysta took the chance to
fight for her own safety. If you are not familiar with
the story of Calysta you can read about her story as
well as see a short video clip here.
Girl Who Outsmarted Alleged Kidnapper: 'I Got my Fight
It is more
than self defense. Kung fu develops a healthy exercise
habit that keeps you happy and healthy through out life
and gives a positive reinforcement of the lessons that
parents want their kids to learn
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