It’s a relatively well-established fact that participation in sport can have a positive impact on a child’s self-esteem. Encouraging your child to get involved with any sport or group activity is great for teaching them the art of teamwork, accomplishment and belonging.
For children who don’t possess ‘raw talent’, or are simply not predisposed to fast-paced competitive sport, such as football or rugby, martial arts is an alternative way for them to reap the benefits of participating in sport.
The practice of martial arts offers the same sense of belonging as any other sport, providing children with an opportunity to compete and shine as an individual. However, there is one key difference between most mainstream sports and this cultural pastime: commitment.
Whilst most mainstream sports can be fun for children with varying levels of ability to take part in, if a child is not particularly good at it, they’re unlikely to take confidence from playing; getting to the top of your game is unlikely in the absence of raw talent.
In martial arts, however, the skills and strength required to become good is learned. Generally speaking there is an opportunity for every participant, regardless of skill, to become great at their sport.
Self-esteem and a hunger for success are important life attributes that need to be cultivated and nurtured. The martial arts teach children about setting attainable goals and targets, and then the importance of hard work and discipline in order to succeed.
The practise of the martial arts is intertwined with history, culture, philosophy and diversity. Students have to learn to respect the sport and their instructor, or they won’t be able to progress.
In its standard format, pupils are expected to bow to their instructor and to training partners, and are taught to respect the skills and abilities of others.
Because becoming good at this kind of sport is primarily down to commitment and training rather than innate talent, children quickly learn the kind of time and effort involved in achievement and what garners respect.
Practising the martial arts has obvious benefits, in that it teaches skills that will enable a person to become comfortable in defending themselves.
Some fans of the sport believe that it has genuine scope to reduce the instance of bullying, as children both:
- Build the confidence to deal with physical aggression through the technical skills that martial arts offers, and;
- Will reduce the likelihood of being targeted themselves through the confidence and assurance that it teaches them in their bearing and mannerisms
This kind of confidence, that builds inner strength and emotional robustness, is not always taught within other sports or activities.
This article was written by Laura Moulden on behalf of Fightshop.com; the leading MMA fight gear supplier. Visit the website for more information.