Let’s face it. When people think about enrolling their kids in a sport, martial arts might not even cross their minds. What’s more, many consider the sport to be too dangerous for children and teenagers. Considering the physical aspects of the sport –close combat, self-defense techniques, and sometimes strenuous full body work outs –it’s easy to see why anyone would hesitate to bring their three to six-year-olds into this atmosphere.
But the truth is that, aside from the physical strength gained from martial arts, the mental attributes learned from the sport are what makes it great for any kid to be a part of. Learning respect, leadership, patience and confidence are vital components that help kids develop into well rounded individuals.
In martial arts, kids learn about more than just the self-defense skills that will strengthen them. The first thing they are taught is respect. Respecting their coach as well as their class mates is one of the core values taught to every kid and adult that enrolls in a class at LCBJJ.
“We have seen a lot of great results from our daughter since she started with LCBJJ. She has developed a lot of great skills and strength. But most importantly, she has developed a great balance of confidence and respect.” – Liz Collins
The respect kids learn on the mat extend beyond training. Kids learn that they can also show respect at home – towards their parents and other family members –and in school towards their teachers and peers. Kids who have respect for others also learn to have patience.
Learning to respect our partners and our coach also helps us become patient. Students are taught to be still and patiently listen to their sensei, as he/she teaches a new technique. While practicing those newly learned techniques, kids learn to be patient and wait their turn.
“I’ve seen positive attributes strengthened overall. What I’ve seen most during Harrison’s time here is his willingness to engage and participate…Physical strength. Competitive mind. But also, learning how to lose and getting better from it. Harrison’s patience has also been developed over time. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time here.” – Michael Goolsby
The focus and patience it takes to practice a move repeatedly until you get it right, or to wait until the perfect time to execute a move while grappling with an opponent are key to helping kids become confident in their skills.
The more our kids learn about patience, they also learn how hard work pays off. Their small successes help them believe in themselves and give them the hope needed to achieve their goals.
“…a boost in confidence, excitement when attending class (he doesn’t get like that with other things,) disciplined, humbled, willingness to help others, and understanding the meaning of working hard and accomplishing a goal…” – Leng Hsieh
We help build that confidence by treating our students as equals, which in turn helps build their self-esteem. The higher confidence our students have, the more capable they are of taking charge of a difficult situation or helping out other kids who may be struggling.
Leadership comes in different forms: from taking the initiative of helping that new kid that seems shy, to teaching the younger kids be more focused while their sensei is talking. Our kids know that their leadership isn’t just an expectation, but a part of what makes them a great martial artist.
“Since joining LCBJJ I have noticed tremendous strides in my son’s leadership skills. He started off as one of the youngest in his classes. Now a year and some change later, I see him emulating the leadership methods shown to him by the older kids. Coach Carlos and Coach Patty do a great job of creating an atmosphere that encourages personal growth, and you can see it being practice by coaches and students alike.” – Burnell Brinkley
Overall, when the going gets tough, students can always to build lasting friendships with their classmates, who in turn will also become their training partners.