Parents have plenty of choice when it comes to extracurricular activities for their children. Children can be very busy with school and their social life, so its important to make a wise decision when it comes to investing time and money. It has been said many times that a child or a teenagers primary job is to excel academically. Therefore, it makes sense to engage them in activities that support their education. Martial arts like Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Kung Fu are excellent for this, and I will explain why.
First, one can easily do martial arts to make a person smarter by raising his intellectual capacity. An important element in karate and other arts is to perform techniques with both sides of the body. Striking and kicking techniques often require the practitioners arms and legs to pass the center line or sagittal plane in the brain. This can confuse the brain and require further neural pathways. Maintaining this process over time is consistent with weightlifting for the brain, making it work faster and more efficiently. This can help with learning, problem solving and memorization.
Second, martial arts educate students the power in a structured environment. The ranking system, used in many styles, teaches children that consistent exercise will lead to consistent improvement, which is then rewarded by developing into a new belt rank. Most martial arts schools will provide a roadmap telling the students what is expected for them to reach the next level. This idea is replicated in our education systems with curricula and graduation needs. The typical time frame for a student to earn the first level of the Black Belt is three to five years, similar to a high school or college education.
Thirdly, there are many character traits taught in martial arts schools that are necessary in the academic classroom.
Character development begins with integrity. Students are taught that all major character derives from having unruly integrity. In a world of plagiarism and cheating it is very important that the school age is equipped with this feature.
Next would be Concentration. It has been said many times before we live in an ADHD world. Internet and other technologies have made many of us unable to focus on current moments. This trend goes to our school systems where we are academically outperformed by many European and Asian nations. Martial arts teaches the idea of empty mind, which means giving full attention to the task. It is important that the concentration has optimal success in the classroom.
Perseverance is another tenant preached and practiced by martial arts. Often it is difficult to recognize incremental progress within itself. But in martial arts we learn that consistent practice leads to possible breakthroughs and profits will come before we know it. In school, students can struggle with one or more subjects such as mathematics, reading or science. This can lead to frustration and desire to end. A child who has been exposed to martial arts training may be less likely to give up when the times get difficult.
Finally, martial arts students are well-known in respect and obedience. They learn to respect and care for their bodies. They learn to listen to their instructors and act kindly to their peers. They learn to respect their parents, teachers and other trusted government figures. They also receive respect for another culture, whether they are training in Japanese, Chinese or Korean styles, as the source of their art. This will lead to greater appreciation and tolerance of students of other nationalities and races.
A word of caution, do not remove your child from their martial arts program at the beginning of slumping grade or bad behavior at school. Too many parents make this mistake, thinking of punishing the child or freeing up their time by removing their lessons is a good move. This can be very counterproductive because you would remove a source of structure and discipline in their lives. Instead, use their instructors as a resource. Young students especially have a great admiration and respect their Senseis, Sifus and Sah Bum Nims. Often, a third-party government figure outside the family, considered to be powerful by a child, has a lasting impact on their behavior and relationship with their parents.
To summarize, martial arts is one of the smartest investments you can make for your child to achieve his full academic potential. Students develop their character through qualities such as integrity, concentration, stamina and respect. Finally, use their instructor as ally when they experience tough times. They are there to help you with your childs overall development and are usually very good at doing that.