Responsible Martial Arts for Kids




“Neung, saawng, som, see (1,2,3,4).... sink, good foot orientation, focus!”...  Martial arts is the centuries-old pursuit of perfection. It is an art form practiced by young and old across the world... whether studying Japanese karate, Chinese kung-fu or Thailand’s Muay Thai boxing, the goal is much the same; personal strength and balance, both in the training hall and out.

Martial arts, or warrior arts, have been around for thousands of years. In the training hall students put forth volumes of energy and effort to obtain the mastery they see reflected in the art. For students, this mastery comes by achieving one goal at a time. The efforts spent achieving the levels of competency result in a powerful sense of accomplishment and transformation of the individual at any age. The confidence this develops transmits to all aspect of their lives.

Finding the right school and the right student-teacher relationship becomes very important. In school there develops a mutual respect between the instructor and the student for the pursuit of excellence.  The larger part of the responsibility is held by the instructor because they posses the experience, knowledge and the tools that the students need to develop their skills and progress in training.  The instructor must be able to provide a comprehensive, practiced core curriculum. Conscientious  instructors keep their student’s physical, mental and emotional well being in mind at all times.  Young children have different physical and emotional limitations than adults and should train accordingly, not weight lifting, sparring excessively or breaking boards.

 The instructor is often one of the most important and influential models that students have. As mentors, we must be mindful of our every action, tone of voice, appearance and attitude.  Parents and society appreciate the traditions, custom and etiquette associated with martial arts, from the proper way to wear uniforms, to bowing, to where and when to use their skills and knowledge. Responsible martial arts instill respect, politeness, honesty, self-confidence, self-defense skills and disciplined behavior.

Generally, martial arts are chosen as an alternative to organized sports.  Children see the martial arts as exciting and fun. The impact of training is quite remarkable, even in a short period of time.  Students build a history of significant achievements through belt testing and through personal mastery of individual goals. The satisfaction this develops is tremendous. Martial arts have proven to be of great benefit for those children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, increasing their attention span and mental focus.

As parents, we want our children to possess strength of character, to accomplish goals, to feel good about themselves and to be able to defend themselves. Martial arts provides a healthy, positive, responsible forum for whole self development. Many accounts exist of martial arts affecting young lives or transforming their lives for the future.  Lives are changed for the positive, and stories of those lives affecting others are plentiful, because the responsible practice of martial arts is powerful.

“Good job Daniel, your continued effort, work and dedication have rewarded you tonight... I congratulate you... you passed your first test; you are now yellow belt.”

Written by Roy Harrington