This article about the benefits of martial arts is a collaborative effort between Jennifer Auer and Anitra Durand Allen. Read more about Anitra at the end of this article. It is sponsored by MacKenzie & Yates Martial Arts.
Growing up I was a daddy’s girl. Wherever he went, I went. Whatever he did, I did. So when he and a friend opened up a karate school, I started taking martial arts.
And then I saw the movies The Karate Kid and The Last Dragon. Being head over heels for both Ralph Macchio and Taimak solidified my love of karate. But it also made me committed to being the unassuming master martial artist that no one ever saw coming. Sadly, in my teens an interest in boys and social life outweighed my commitment to martial. I never did earned my black belt, but the lessons I learned from martial arts were invaluable and stick with me to this day.
If you’ve ever questioned what can martial arts teach my kid other than fighting, here are seven lessons I learned and I know your child will too.
7 Things You Didn’t Know Martial Arts Could Teach Your Kids
How Not To Fight
I know this seems counter intuitive. Martial arts is all about fighting, right? Nope. Martial arts is about self defense. While hand to hand combat is definitely a part of it, self restraint is the ultimate lesson.
The goal is to actually fight as little as possible. Martial arts teaches kids to use the least amount of force possible to defuse an altercation. In martial arts I learned to only use the fighting skills I had as a last resort.
The only time actual combat is encouraged is during competitions and sparring practice. Your kid may try to be a Ninja Turtle for a while, but that [probably] won’t last.
How Not To Break Things
I have broken a ton of wooden boards in my life time. But I have never broken a bone. That’s because I learned the proper way to use my body and strength in martial arts.
It obviously takes great force and power to break boards. It takes even more to break cinder blocks. As a kid I watched my dad break both with his bare hands. But when it comes to breaking things concentration is even more important that force and power.
Martial arts will teach your child to channel and focus their energy into a singular task, like breaking a board. It will also teach them how to use their bodies properly, so that they don’t get hurt doing so.
Anatomy and The Human Body
Do you know what the solar plexus is? Technically it’s a small nerve bundle that sits below the rib cage and above the stomach near the diaphragm. But in self defense, it’s the most vulnerable part of your opponent when you’re faced with a frontal attack. Yes, even more vulnerable than…there. A clean hit to the solar plexus can knock the wind out of any person, temporarily debilitating them.
Even though I have a degree in Biomedical Engineering, I learned about the solar plexus, and other human anatomy, when taking martial arts. Did you know the knuckles on your first two fingers are the strongest part of your hand? Legs produce the most power from the hips. I also learned to drop a person to their knees touching only their pinky. You’ll have to sign up for a MacKenzie & Yates Martial Arts class to learn that move.
How To Subdue, Not Overpower
As an offshoot of running the karate school, my dad taught law enforcement officers and security guards how to restrain their suspects without harming them.
As I’ve said before, martial arts is focused on self defense, not offense. My husband, who has never taken a class in martial arts ever, believes it can teach you how to take someone out and barely touch them.
But unlike the Cobra Khan, most dojos teach kids not to use power or force until it’s necessary. And to do so in ways that leaves the other person intact as much as possible. Anyone can recover from a bruised pinky, right?
How To Respond On Command
Isn’t it every parent’s dream to have their children respond immediately to their instructions? Martial arts can teach that.
Students are required to respond to the commands of their Sensei. As a part of their instruction, they learn both the commands and the appropriate response. It’s a conditioning of sorts, that can be transferred from the dojo to the home.
How To Make Eye Contact
My father’s actual profession was as a college professor. He had a PhD in Sociology and loved the study and discussion of human interaction. And the one thing he taught me, both in the dojo and in life, was to make direct eye contact.
Growing comfortable making direct eye contact with others is a difficult skill for many adults. Learning to do so in the dojo will increase your child’s confidence and ability to do so in other setting as well.
How To Develop Patience
So I know I said martial arts teaches kids how not to fight, And I meant it. But sparring is definitely a central part of the practice.
Sparring in martial arts is a game of patience. Much like boxing, finding the right time and place to strike your opponent is object. Landing hits – punches or kicks – is how you win at sparring.
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Karate, Martial Arts there’s more to sparring than throwing fists. The Auer boys are learning it all through lessons, drills, & mat chats. We’re visiting the @mymaatco location today as @mymahammonton has a seminar for advanced students today. It’s the boys’ first day in full sparring equipment. #ad #karatekids #martialarts #karate #karatekid #Boys #MomofBoys #BoyMom #sports #karatemom #sparring #kicks #selfdefense
To land a clean hit, you have to strike when your opponents guard is down. To know when that will happen you have to observe his/her patterns and use that to your advantage. And all this takes patience.
Give Mackenzie & Yates Martial Arts a chance to teach your child these invaluable lessons and many more. Sign up for a free trial class at one of their South Jersey Martial Arts schools below.
- For a free trial class in Hammonton visit www.martialartshammonton.com or call (609) 481-2177.
- For a free trial class in Atco visit www.atcomartialarts.com or call (856) 719-1411.
More about Anitra, Creator & Chief Mom at The Mom On the Move, Family Coach | Parenting Blogger
Anitra Durand Allen is the creator and chief mom at The Mom On the Move, an online resource for parents raising high achieving children in the areas of academics, athletics, and performing arts. She is a Sports Mom, Stage Mom, Bonus Mom and wife of her college sweetheart.
Read more from Anitra on her site, www.themomonthemove.com.