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Can Martial Arts Help Kids Dealing with Anxiety?

By Jessica Militello

A martial arts child student bites her nails in a state of anxiety.Anxiety can be very uncomfortable and scary for anyone to deal with, but for parents who have children who deal with anxiety, it can feel frustrating to watch your kids struggle with it, especially if you are unsure of how to help. 

It’s important to note that anxiety is a feeling, and all feelings come and go. If you have a child who suffers from anxiety, there are many things that you can do for your child to help ease the feelings that can turn into healthy habits your children use throughout their lives.

A balanced, healthy diet, consistent physical activity, and mindfulness are some of the best coping skills to combat anxiety. Martial arts offers both physical and mental benefits, especially Jeet Kune Do, which is built on the foundation of adapting and being in the moment. 

Here are just some amazing benefits that Jeet Kune Do can provide to help your child cope with anxiety.

Martial arts gives kids an outlet to release stress

It can be easy to associate childhood with always being happy and stress-free but due to various circumstances at home, school, and other life events, kids can hold on to worry and be unsure of what it is they’re feeling and how to communicate it. In some cases, anxiety can show up as anger or a quick-temper and lead children to get into disciplinary issues when they actually are struggling to ask for help. Martial arts is a great outlet to release pent-up energy in a healthy environment where instructors are also teaching children the importance of discipline and self-control. 


JKD teaches you to be comfortable with the unknown

A major aspect of JKD philosophy is being in the moment and learning to adapt to circumstances as they come. Through training and studying Bruce’s amazing outlook on getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, it can help children with anxiety by teaching them to practice mindfulness and give them tools to be in the moment. Learning self-defense also gives kids confidence that they can handle what ever comes their way. 

Training with partners helps you be in the moment

Anxiety often contributes to ruminating about your worries and it becomes a habit that’s tough to break. Meaningful interactions with your peers boosts your happiness and it keeps you focused on what is presently happening when you are talking to classmates and working with each other during drills. Martial arts forces you to be in the moment because you need to listen to your instructors as well as focus on what you should be doing in class all while having a fun time.

Higher self-esteem from martial arts training

Learning a new skill while being helped by classmates and instructors to get better in their training builds self-esteem and confidence which contributes to a better mood overall. When you learn to trust yourself and have confidence in what you can accomplish, it can help to make your worries easier to face when kids learn how resilient and strong they are.

Martial arts is fun

Coming to martial arts class is fun and exciting; no matter how long you’ve been training, there’s always something new to learn and another skill to accomplish, all while spending time with other kids who love martial arts as well and instructors who truly care. Learning to fight like Bruce Lee is pretty cool for any age, but the younger you start, the better you can get over the time you spend training there.