From Diana Davila,Your Guide to Martial Arts.
Just like with adults, one of the most common reasons for enrolling a child into a martial arts class is fitness. Childhood obesity rates are climbing, and more and more children are spending a lot more time in front of the television, playing video games and using a computer. However, even among more active children, martial arts is still attractive since it is seen as a very good source of exercise that also teaches skills. Martial arts can help improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, balance, strength and overall energy levels.
Another popular reason for enrolling children in the martial arts is to develop “life skills”. These skills include discipline, self control, patience, confidence, courage etc. The idea with these classes and this motivation is to reinforce what is already being taught at home. Martial arts classes can be a valuable tool for helping to really drive home the points you make at home in a very real way.
Self defense is the most obvious reason that should come to mind when considering enrolling a child in the martial arts. The focus of a good childrens martial arts class, while still teaching self defense movements, should be conflict resolution, personal responsibility and avoidance. In that respect, attending a good martial arts class would benefit both the bully by teaching to respect others as well as your own power, and the bullied, by teaching how to calm a situation or defend oneself if need be.
Many parents turn to the martial arts when their children are acting out in school and at home. This is tied in to the life skills reason, but is very specific in what the desired outcome is,. These parents are looking for help improving attention span, respect, demeanor and self control. The structure of many martial arts classes can greatly aid in these areas, however results will really vary and depend on the relationship that is built between the child and the instructor. If the instructor has a good method of communicating with the child, is firm but friendly, and most importantly, is very consistent, then the child can really get a lot of out martial arts training.
Safe, after school activity