There is a lot of information in print and on the web about the benefits of martial arts. That is because the benefits of martial arts are so extensive and have the ability to help us develop as healthy, well-rounded individuals. Many articles you will find list out a particular benefit and describe a few sentences about it.There are a few links to some of those articles at the bottom of this page. They are helpful but we decided to take a different approach. Our list is organized by what we have heard people say. Do any of these sound like you?
I want to get in better shape, I want my child to be in better shape, I want my kids to get some exercise
There is a lot of moving in martial arts and the more you move, the better shape you will be in. There are sequences of techniques you can learn and practice outside of class that will help you move even more. We also include some strength training in our workouts from time to time.
How can martial arts help me resolve a conflict in a non-violent way?
Sometimes if a conflict turns physical, knowing you have practiced enough kicking, punching, and escaping to take care of yourself will give you confidence. That confidence can translate into the patience you need to continue to work through a situation before it turns violent.
I want to be able to defend myself, or I want my child to be able to defend themselves
Being able to defend yourself is one of the most recognized benefits of martial arts. It comes through practice and repetition of a technique. Martial arts classes can help you practice those techniques in lots of different ways. They can also help you understand how to apply a technique to a given situation.
My child has trouble paying attention
Sometimes practicing martial arts requires that you watch a demonstration and repeat it. While this is not easy for everyone at first, the more you do it the easier it becomes. That helps build concentration skills and improves attention span.
My child has trouble listening
Sometimes your child is listening, but they may not be giving a proper response. Part of the martial side of martial arts is requiring a student to give an answer when asked a question. This not only helps build communication skills, it also reinforces concentration – you have to be engaged in what is happening to know what the question was so you are able to answer it.
I need help managing my child’s ADD/ADHD
We are not occupational therapists, but we have helped a lot of people with a lot of different challenges over the years. Some people with ADD/ADHD or similar challenges can benefit from concentration skills that come with martial arts training. It really depends on the person and what they struggle with. The best thing to do, as a parent, is to observe a class without your child. See if you think it would help your child and, after class, talk with the instructior. Coincidentally, that’s a good thing to do for anyone looking for classes.
I want my child to have an activity but he/she does not like team sports
Martial arts looks like an individual activity, and in many ways it is but it has the added benefit of building team work skills. In traditional team sports, a player is one of many and it may be hard for them to understand their role, or they may just not like dealing with that many people at one time. In martial arts you focus on what you are doing. Sometimes you have a partner, that changes the focus a little and it helps people practice communicating and working together – but on a smaller scale than an entire team of people.
My child is very shy and needs help with self confidence
Sometimes that shyness and confidence just needs a different environment and a chance to grow gradually. Over the last thirty years of teaching martial arts we have seen many students come in looking down at the floor and not saying a word, and after having been here for a while, when they leave they have their head held high, speak to everyone in their path, and are on their way to their next adventure. Through practicing techniques, students have to perform tasks – whether it is kicking, punching, stepping or turning – they have to try to do what the instructor has demonstrated. When they are with a partner, they have to talk to each other to accomplish their tasks. If a student stays with their practice long enough, eventually they have partnered with different classmates, which helps put them at ease. As they successfully accomplish more tasks they gain the confidence to try more and do more and that confidence builds.
How does martial arts improve etiquette?
In any martial arts schools, there is a process for how things are done. Classes start and end with a progressive set of bows. Practice with a partner starts and ends with bowing to each other. Students are expected to repond respectfully when their instructor speaks to them. If students are not familiar with etiquette, or correct manners, they will be taught as they learn their physical techniques.
My child is not very coordinated, can karate help?
Absolutely. Coordination is one of the benefits of martial arts that gets used everyday. When practicing karate, you move a lot, usually more than one arm and leg at a time – but not on the first day. Coordination is built up over time. As you progress through classes, each set of belt requirements adds techniques or combinations of techniques that advances your coordination development. This crosses over into everything you do. After a while you may notice that you lose your balance or fall down less. You may drop things less often, and daily tasks may take less time becasue you body is working together better.
How does martial arts help with Self-Discipline and Self-Reliance?
It starts with easy things and builds up. Students are expected to wear their uniform. It is a small thing, but making sure they wear their uniform, and for older students, bring their safety equipment, is the foundation for being responsible for themselves. Other small things are done in class such as helping put away practice equipment, getting yourself to the correct line quickly, and following instructions all build up over time. Eventually things spill over to life outside the dojo. As a student gets practice remembering to bring their sparring gear to class, they are better at taking their bookbag to school or the right shoes to soccer. As they improve on preparing for their belt test, they get better at preparing for regular school tests.
My child needs some goals, can karate help?
We have lots of goals! Some goals are about getting to the next belt rank, or the next more advanced program. Sometimes the goal is learning a new kata (prearranged exercise). While many people see the big goal as getting a black belt, each student can set different goals, on smaller levels, based on the belt test requirements system or based on what interests them. And there is always the goal of improving on what you have learned just for the sake of doing it better, stronger, or more efficiently.
I want to learn something new
We love to learn! Martial arts is great for people who like to learn because there is always more. That is part of why some people can practice for twenty or thiry years and still find it fascinating.