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7 Life Lessons Kids Learn from Junior Martial Arts
Kids are often first attracted by the uniforms plus the jumping, rolling, punching, kicking and yelling that are a feature of these high energy classes, but they also learn life lessons that last long after their uniforms and belts are outgrown.
“Martial arts training is one of the greatest tools available for building character in children” says Master Zak Jovanov, founder of Premier Martial Arts and Fitness Academy. A 7th-dan Black Belt and lifelong martial artist himself, Master Jovanov’s Perth Academy hosts Freestyle martial arts classes for kids which emphasize character-building in addition to self-defence. These crucial values and skills will equip a child for life beyond the martial arts training floor. While self-defence skills are one of the more tangible physical outcomes of martial arts practice, the positive mental attributes developed in junior martial arts will contribute to lifelong character-building and development of soft skills necessary for success.
Here are the life lessons kids learn from Martial Arts
Discipline is the value that parent’s usually place the most emphasis on when enrolling their child into a junior martial arts program. In the context of martial arts for kids, the discipline that is acquired through training would be more accurately termed “self-discipline”. Junior martial arts students at Perth’s Premier Academy learn to control their emotions and immediate desires as they work towards longer term goals. This ability to delay the need for instant gratification in lieu of a larger goal has been proven time and again to be the biggest predictor of a child’s success in later life. The discipline of attending class regularly, dressed in uniform, practicing techniques repeatedly until they are mastered and controlling their skills so as to not hurt their training partner is the sort of self-discipline that is hard earned, staying with the student for life.
If discipline is the most common value mentioned by parents when looking at the potential benefits of martial arts for their kids, then respect would be a close second! High quality instructors will stress respect in all aspects of junior martial arts training. Students are expected to show respect to everyone, regardless of rank. This is continuously reinforced via the training drills and etiquette required at Premier Martial Arts and Fitness Academy in Perth’s northern suburbs. Through their training, junior martial arts students at Premier Academy also learn to respect themselves. Kids who have a high degree of respect for themselves make better choices in life, and this enables them to grow up to become healthy, happy contributing members of their community.
One of the most under-rated life lessons kids can learn from martial arts is commitment. Commitment can be defined as “the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action”. In today’s fast-paced world – where it is only too easy for kids to be bound to tv, tablet, phone and computer screens – the trait of sincere and steadfast focus on a goal is often sadly under-developed in our children. Martial arts training for kids at Premier Academy teaches the most important type of commitment – the long-term commitment needed to achieve a goal such as earning their black belt. There are not many activities for children that teach this sort of long-term commitment but fortunately for parents it is embedded in the junior martial arts programs at Perth’s Premier Academy. The belt system used by most martial arts creates a structure of short to medium term goals, with the inbuilt larger goal of working towards their black belt. However, the achievement of a “black belt” should not be seen as an end but rather as a significant milestone on the student’s journey towards being healthy and happy for life.
To achieve even the smallest of goals in any endeavour, from learning to read to performing a jumping spinning kick, requires a great deal of focus. Martial arts training for kids teaches students to focus on the task at hand in order to learn new skills and techniques. It also teaches them to focus under pressure such as that applied by a resisting training partner. Once students at Premier Martial Arts and Fitness Academy have experienced the success that focus can bring them in their martial arts training, they will be very keen to transfer this skill to other areas of their life. Many parents report that martial arts have helped their child improve their attention and grades at school.
Once kids have learned to focus on the task at hand and seen that they can learn often complicated martial arts techniques by using this focus, they will start to believe in themselves. Self-belief gives children the power to step out of their comfort zone and learn new things, both at Premier Martial Arts Academy and at school. Once you have mastered the front kick, it is only a small step to turning it into jumping front kick! Once you have learned to perform a jumping front kick the next step might be to see how high you can kick or pull off the technique against a resisting opponent. This can only be achieved if a student has self-belief. This is a powerful attitude that enables kids to grow into powerful and motivated lifelong learners!
True confidence can’t be learned – it has to be earned! For a child to feel confident they have to believe in what they have learned. The emphasis on mastery of each technique in martial arts training at Premier Academy enables kids to build their confidence piece by piece over time, creating a strong foundation that enables them to tackle new learning both on and off the training floor! Junior martial arts also teaches kids the process of developing confidence, and they will then be able to apply this to other areas of their life. They will understand that to be confident in something they will need to put in the hours of practice required.
True courage is not being fearless – it is acting in spite of fear. This is the type of courage that we seek to build through martial arts training for kids at Premier Academy by focussing on channelling a student’s internal energy to act in spite of their fears! Junior martial arts training creates a set of challenges to enable students to learn to deal with their fear in a positive manner. With the development of a child’s self-belief and confidence comes the courage required for them to step outside their comfort zone, set goals, overcome challenges and be successful.
What Do Kids Learn From Martial Arts That Isn’t Taught In School?
In an age where many people turn to phones, computer and TV screens instead of outdoor activities, martial arts are the perfect way to make sure that kids make the best possible start to life by staying active and learning to love physical activity. On top of that, training in martial arts at Premier Academy builds muscle and increase cardiovascular performance, ensuring that your child is fit and healthy. The movements involved in martial arts will challenge and build motor skills, flexibility, reflexes and dexterity, which help develop a child’s athleticism. This helps create a good athletic base for kids that will help them excel in all other physical activities.
On top of the physical skills there are important mental elements that kids can learn from martial arts at Perth’s Premier Academy that are hard to learn in a school environment. There’s no doubt our school teachers have one of the toughest jobs around, and they are more than often prevented from teaching the most valuable lessons such as discipline and focus. But with martial arts, a child will learn focus, patience, restraint, and the many qualities that come with discipline. The same level of discipline and focus obtained from practicing martial arts will become a part of their daily lives, providing a valuable foundation that will transfer to school as well. Respect for adults, authority, or anyone in an advanced position is also becoming rare among children today. However, respect is a big part of martial arts and its traditions. Students will learn to be well mannered and respectful not only to their instructors, but towards everyone else as well.
Finally, kids will learn how to defend themselves. One of biggest concerns parents have is that their children would not be able to defend him or herself in times of need (i.e. being bullied). On top of teaching children to avoid trouble altogether, martial arts training at Perth’s Premier Academy will also prepare them both mentally and physically to defend themselves should the need ever arise.
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