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8 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids

Originally posted on: 3/21/19

A child practicing martial arts will experience many physical and mental health benefits.When parents reach out to learn more about kids martial arts, they often have a variety of questions and concerns. Many of them wonder if taking part in martial arts will make their child violent or cause them to get into fights. While other parents want to know if it will distract them from school or other responsibilities.

While the easy answer to both of these questions is a resounding “No," it’s important to dive deeper into the benefits of martial arts for kids.

Believe it or not, it’s not all about punching, kicking, and throwing each other on the ground. It is about finding a balance between mind, body, and spirit.

Martial arts like Jeet Kune Do were created to develop a wide range of mental health benefits like self-control and focus, while also improving physical strength, flexibility, and endurance. Between the physical exercises and emotional instruction learned in martial arts schools, your child will develop a deep understanding of skills that will help them for the rest of their life.

On top of these health benefits, children learn how to defend themselves, feel safe, make friends, and be happier.

Let’s take a look at four mental health benefits and four physical health benefits your child will see in a martial arts class.

Mental Health

Developing confidence and surrounding yourself with good people are two key aspects of maintaining good mental health. The art of Jeet Kune Do places a large emphasis on quieting your mind, improving focus, and enjoying the journey of learning martial arts. Below are four key skills we teach to improve your kids' mental health.

1. Discipline

All too often, the word discipline is associated with the word punishment. But in reality, discipline should be involved long before punishment is ever necessary. It is a learned skill to establish self-control, cultivate good habits, and stronger will power to do what is right.

In our Jeet Kune Do martial arts for kids, discipline isn’t about punishment or retribution, but about teaching and preparing. The training is designed to open young students’ minds to the best way they can handle certain situations and scenarios.

Mental health benefits of this key training style pay major dividends in a child’s ability to learn self-discipline. They’ll be able to maintain control of their emotions, resist negative impulses, and better manage their overall behavior.

2. Focus

The same way a dull knife must be sharpened to accomplish its tasks, a child’s mind also needs to stay sharp as they go throughout the daily routine of their life. As things like technology continue to take over bits and pieces of our world and our attention, it is vital to find ways to counteract it.

The most recent statistics have shown that more than 6.4 million children in the United States between 4 and 17 years old have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While some may turn to medication and counseling, others have also brought their children to martial arts schools for help.

Through constant practice and sustained repetition, young students have learned how to clear their minds and focus on one task at a time. These basic, but powerful, principles go far beyond our dojo, remaining with your children in their classroom and even in their home life.

3. Confidence

Due to the continued problems of both cyber-bullying and physical bullying, many children have low self-esteem and minimal confidence. These negative feelings can be catastrophic to a young mind, often leading to depression, anxiety, anger, and guilt.

While many may not consider using martial arts for mental health issues like these, it is arguably the best way to boost a child’s confidence and improve their self-esteem. They believe in themselves more with each new achievement and feel more confident as their body gets into better shape.

Above all, they’ll be able to socialize with other members of the dojo and make new friends. These social aspects will give your child more confidence in their ability to talk and communicate with other people.

4. Respect

One of the first things taught in kids martial arts classes is the art of respect. From the Jeet Kune Do salute to listening to their instructors, they learn the importance of humility and honor.

It is crucial that each child understand everyone on this earth is different and to respect those differences. They will see a drastic improvement in their lives and have better interactions with other people on a daily basis.

Developing respect makes all other aspects of martial arts easier including discipline, focus, and confidence as mentioned above.

Physical Health

Being healthy makes it easier to feel confident and to focus in school or other important aspects of life. An active lifestyle means more energy to tackle the tasks that come with our everyday routines. Here are four physical health benefits your child will learn from a martial arts class.

1. Strength

While Jeet Kune Do isn’t about hitting the gym and lifting a bunch of weights, the exercises that students do have a tremendous impact on their strength and overall muscle growth. From full-body workouts and core training to developing cardiovascular strength, the physical health benefits of martial arts are unmatched by any other sport.

As students improve their conditioning, fighting stances, and footwork, they gain more power in their arms, legs, and abdomen. Each exercise focuses on multiple muscle groups at once to tone all parts of the body.

The continued practice and repetition of each move causes muscles to fatigue, which following a rest period leads to growth and improved strength.

2. Healthy Weight

Recent trends have shown that the national childhood obesity rate in America is nearly 20% for kids between 2 to 18 years old. While genetics and metabolism play a partial role in those numbers, one thing that every health professional agrees on is the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

Instead of running around a boring track for miles on end, why not put your kids in a martial arts class, where they can gain new skills, gain confidence, and take part in a fun, active atmosphere?

Martial arts instructors are professionals who allow each student to go at their own pace while continually urging them along enough that they see results. Styles like Jeet Kune Do can burn hundreds of calories in a short period of time, leading to healthy weight loss and a better physique.

3. Stamina

When training in martial arts, you are taught how to complete a range of short burst moves over longer periods of time. These techniques are designed to increase endurance, allowing your body the energy to keep going.

As children learn Jeet Kune Do, their entire body is engaged, triggering large and small muscle groups. These continuous actions build their stamina and lung capacity, giving them the strength to do more and more.

To develop more endurance, martial arts schools use jump ropes, pushups, sit ups, and other cardio activities that are designed to get the heart beating.

4. Flexibility

Pay attention to the way you’re sitting or standing right now. How is your posture? Are you hunched over in a chair? Maybe you have your neck bent down to look at your phone as you’re reading? Did you know that poor posture can lead to neck pain, muscle strain, tension headaches, and much more?

One of the best ways to enhance your posture is by improving your flexibility. Stretching is immensely important in martial arts for kids. It prevents injury, increases their range of motion, as well as improves overall performance and blood flow to muscles. These practices will also have physical benefits to your child’s posture, avoiding those potential health issues it can cause.

In every martial arts class, stretching is a key part of each instruction. Effective routines are followed to stretch arms, hamstrings, core, and other vital muscle groups before the classes begin.

Thinking About Enrolling Your Child in Martial Arts?

If you’re on the hunt for a kids martial arts program with all these benefits and more, we have the perfect place for you. The NY Martial Arts Academy has been teaching the effective style of Jeet Kune Do since it first opened in 1985.

We have trained over 10,500 students in this unique approach developed by martial arts legend, Bruce Lee. Some of our instructors have been trained by others who were taught the art by Bruce Lee himself and now share their knowledge with students both young and old.

After a short couple of months in one of our children’s programs, your kids will become more fit, improve their focus, and become more disciplined. Each of these crucial skills will last a lifetime and help them be a better person each and every day.

With four convenient locations across the New York area, we’re sure to have a place for you. p>

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