Teaching martial arts to children means teaching them self-defense and introducing them to a way of life. Martial arts classes for children contribute to their good emotional, psychomotor, cognitive and social development. Because martial art is a sport activity and a philosophy, its practice is beneficial from childhood.
WHY TEACH YOUR CHILD A COMBAT SPORT?
Some parents fear the violence associated with martial arts and combat sports. However, on the contrary, in a karate school or a judo club, the child will learn self-control. Indeed, discipline and respect for opponents are at the heart of the teaching. There are differences between the martial arts and combat sports, and many similarities:
- Respect for safety rules
- The will to go beyond one’s limits
- The acquisition of moral values
- The development of physical qualities
All combat sports also increase self-confidence. On the other hand, martial disciplines are distinguished by the importance given to self-defense and spirituality. Let’s take a look at the main benefits of the most popular martial arts for children.
JUDO CLASSES: PREVENTIVE EDUCATION AND MORAL CODE
Preventive education refers to the prevention of risks through learning. In a judo club, practitioners learn how to position their back to fall on the tatami without hurting themselves. Judo, a Japanese martial art, teaches projection techniques – Nage Waza – and conveys positive values:
Baby judo lessons are offered from 3-4 years old. However, the majority of judokas begin their initiation around 5-6 years old, the classic age to enroll in a martial arts school. The learning of chokes is reserved for teenagers and adults.
KARATE PRACTICE: CHANNELING YOUR EMOTIONS
Karate also belongs to the Japanese martial arts. Unlike judo, a grip sport, karate is practiced with punches and kicks. Depending on the style of karate, the sequences – Katas – will be different. The fighting techniques – attacks and defenses – always involve several parts of the body. Learning karate particularly develops :
- The flexibility of the articulations
- Balance and coordination of movements
- Control of abdominal breathing
- The evacuation of stress
Aikido, born in Japan, has similar benefits. The fighter uses sometimes the natural weapons of his body (including his bare hands), sometimes a stick.
KUNG-FU OR KUNGFU TRAININGS: OBSERVATION AND FLUIDITY
Kungfu, or Chinese boxing, is part of the Chinese martial arts. The principle is to be inspired by the postures and movements of animals to defend oneself. This martial practice reinforces :
- Muscle tone
By the way, belts always symbolize the progression of martial arts practitioners (the rank, or Dan). The famous black belt generally represents the highest level, but there are exceptions.
TAEKWONDO LESSONS: FOCUS AND LET OFF STEAM
Taekwondo is one of the most popular Korean martial arts practiced by children. It is a spectacular fighting art that literally means “way of fists and feet”. Its philosophy is based on 5 principles, which constitute the oath of the practitioner:
- Indomitable spirit
As always in the practice of martial arts, ethics plays an essential role. The training program includes self-defense classes. Taekwondo sessions have a reputation for improving a child’s ability to concentrate and stay calm.
BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU CLASSES: STRATEGIC GROUND FIGHTING
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art, contact sport and self-defense system, derived from Jiu-Jitsu. Moreover, jujitsu, or jûjutsu, created by Japanese samurai, has also inspired judo. Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners prefer ground fighting, as the strength of the opponent is less important. In addition to the benefits previously mentioned, the JJB favors :
- The elaboration of strategies in front of a problem
- Improvement of physical condition
- Motor skills and muscle strengthening
Finally, let us mention an Afro-Brazilian sport, capoiera. This martial dance integrates singing and rhythm, while encouraging autonomy and self control. The capoiera and martial arts classes end with a return to calm with relaxation exercises.
In short, the teaching of a martial arts master is adapted to all children. The most restless children learn to channel their energy, and the most timid ones to assert themselves. Finally, all martial arts clubs contribute to sociability and social mixing. The students, boys and girls, are dressed in the same kimono, on a common tatami, in the dojo. Don’t hesitate to have your child test different martial arts disciplines by enrolling him/her in a workshop or a trial class.