If you’re a parent, you’re probably thinking about Christmas gifts. But forget about fighting the crowd for the latest and greatest toys – you know, the ones that will be collecting dust on the shelf before holiday break is over? This year, give your child the gift of martial arts, and you’ll be gifting junior lessons he or she will use for the rest of their life. We have five reasons martial arts classes make a great Christmas gift for the kids.
1. they’ll get some exercise
You probably don’t care what sport your child does, as long as it means some kind of exercise. And you aren’t alone. Regular movement is one of the main reasons parents get their kids involved in after-school activities, especially with PE classes offered only a few times a week (if at all). With more screen time than ever before, it’s important to balance things out. Enter martial arts. It’s an ideal balance of individual and team activity, and it’s something even the most uncoordinated kiddo can learn.
At Freestyle Martial Arts here in Reno, youth classes are 45 minutes and children’s classes are 30. It’s enough time to challenge your child emotionally and physically. That’s the very nature of martial arts – it’s a workout for the mind, not just the body.
2. they’ll learn the value of mindfulness & breath work
In our go-go-go world, mindfulness is under appreciated. And in children, it’s also unusual. But sit in on an FMA class, and you’ll see it in action – tidy rows of children, heads bowed in meditation. The instructors in our youth classes guide students in breathing, focusing, and letting go, so they can be present for class. It prepares them for the class to come, but it’s also a skill that translates to life in general. A little mindfulness before a big test or big presentation can work wonders. And since it’s practiced before every class, it’s something that will become second nature to your child.
Proper breath control is another learned skill, and, as it happens, the key to success in any physical activity. In martial arts class at Freestyle, your child learns how to breathe on impact, which is helpful not just in sparring or grappling scenarios, but life in general.
3. they’ll learn how to take a hit and get up again
No matter how they get hit – a physical blow in sparring class, or failing a tip test – there is tremendous value in learning how to get back up after being knocked down. It’s not the norm in a society that champions the idea of participation trophies, but learning how to fail is important. Everyone fails at some point or another, and the lesson comes in picking yourself up and getting back out there. In martial arts classes, kids learn how to persevere through failure in an effort to reach a goal. It’s an important life lesson that not everyone learns.
4. They’ll gain confidence and self-respect
Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance. The first requires respect, both to oneself and to others, and it’s a mainstay of martial arts. And remember benefit three above? That whole “getting knocked down and getting back up again” thing, along with learning how to be still and practice mindfulness, are skills that will directly improve your child’s self confidence.
5. They’ll learn to connect mind and body
Awareness of the body is a learned skill and the inevitable result of physical repetition. Guess what your child does in martial arts? All of those impressive punch and kick combos begin as simple movements that are built upon and practiced hundreds, if not thousands, of times in the process. In martial arts, your child is taught to see and to listen and to feel. And that’s empowering.
The Best Gift You Could Give the Kids
If you’re on board with gifting experiences, and not things, we invite you to learn more about enrolling your child in martial arts at Freestyle – and please ask about our getting started offer. The value of martial arts for children doesn’t come from learning how to hit or kick, or how to block an opponent. The benefits are so impressive on and off the mat, and we hope your child will get to experience them all.