Most children love the idea of being a superhero – of ‘kicking ass’, but most parents would prefer their child never goes anywhere near a fight and certainly doesn’t come home with stories of ‘whopping little Johnny at school today’. So best to keep them away from anything that encourages fighting? Well, actually – no.
Combat sports are on the rise – and this doesn’t necessarily mean contact. Many forms of martial arts and boxing never get anywhere near touching another person – it’s all about technique, flexibility, speed, and fitness and the new genre of fight gyms springing up across the country are the perfect place to introduce your children to fight skills in a safe, controlled, positive environment.
The skills your child can learn from martial arts and fight techniques are ones that every child can benefit from with the added advantage of getting fit, burning off some excess energy, and surprisingly, benefiting their mental health.
- Self-esteem: Many parents will encourage traditional sports like football, however, this can impact a child’s self-esteem. Some coaches and schools can put a lot of pressure on the child as they hope to find the next premier League star. Team sports tend to highlight which children are less popular and get chosen last for the team or get blamed for the team’s failure, and if teams contain both children who love the sport and those who are less keen, then this can serve to highlight your child’s perceived inadequacies rather than focusing on the positives. That’s not to say team sports are bad – just that they aren’t for every child.
- gyms, however, are about each individual child – not about who is best, not about finding the next star player, and not about making comparisons. It’s about the child’s individual abilities and self-improvement – they don’t need to feel inadequate or worry about missing a kick or losing a match. It’s all about individual self-improvement.
- ADHD: Martial arts have been shown to improve the symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). By developing coordination and improving focus your child will learn how to stay attentive to one task at a time and this will help them better control the symptoms of ADHD.
- Self-control: One of the key elements of martial arts and combat training is learning control, controlling how much power you use and controlling how you land your strikes. You’ll also practice combinations and movements over and over again in with the aim of perfecting them, so much so that you get to a point where muscle memory takes over and it becomes natural to you. This is all great for the skill you are learning but the underlying skill instilled is self-disciple. Whether you’re a beginner or a master of your chosen martial art, you’ll be taught to constantly keep working on developing and honing your skills.
- Confidence: Martial arts and combat sports training will boost your child’s self-confidence through a variety of reasons. As they go through school they are more likely to encounter some form of bullying, having trained in a fight gym which will have taught them self-control they will understand not to fight but instead stand up for themselves through the self-confidence gained in training. Standing up for themselves can mean speaking up and reporting rather than fighting back. Kids will be made to feel size and gender doesn’t matter and taught progress is better than perfection, no one will ever be the perfect martial artist but everyone can improve. This is one of the key tenets of training. If your child does go on to compete, they’ll also learn to deal with “failure”. As everyone will lose in competition at some point but their confidence will be built up to look at it from a perspective of what did they learn from that loss, a popular saying is “you either win or learn”, never lose.
- Self-defence: With the recent rise in crime being reported, as a parent, you worry about your child getting home from school. In a fight gym, your child will be taught self-defence and how to protect themselves when they get into tricky situations< They are first taught that getting out of the situation (e.g. running the other way) or raising the alarm is the preferred option, but if that is not possible then having self-defence skills can be invaluable. Children with confidence, who know they can look after themselves tend not to attract bullies and those looking for a fight.
- Respect: Everyone is taught to respect the sport, respect their coaches and their training partners. Anyone with a big ego is quickly brought back down to earth and taught to respect everyone else’s levels. This is a key life skill – in the home, at school and ultimately in the workplace.
- Compassion: Fight Gyms encourage children to help each other to improve. Not to judge the level another child is at, but rather to look at the way they can help the other person improve. They are also taught to ask for help to improve and to listen to feedback. In this way, they develop their learning skills – but they also develop compassion and understanding of others and how to help them.
- Friendships: Fight Gyms require children to work together as they work on themselves – they meet new people, create new bonds and develop relationships built on a shared love of martial arts and respect for each other. Where individual competition (A is better than B, A scored more goals… etc) is replaced with mutual support – children learn to work together, encourage each other and develop long-lasting friendships.
- Fitness, strength, stamina: The obvious benefit for your child, as with any sport, is the fitness and health element. Combat training is hard work, with coaches focussed on all their students and not just those they think will be the next big thing.
So although Fight training gyms may seem intimidating, they are actually places of support and community where your child is allowed to flourish.]]>