From soccer to baseball, basketball to volleyball, there’s no shortage of group sports for the kids here in northern Nevada. But here’s a question – have you or your child considered martial arts? Here are four reasons martial arts may be a better choice than (or the perfect supplement to) group sports.
1. Equal playing time – no one sits on the bench
As parents, we have some control over making sure our child gets his fair share of time on the field or the court. But not for long. As kids grow, the “make the team” model becomes the standard – you’ll find it used i school for junior varsity and varsity sports and competitive leagues all around town. And more times than not, this model tends to favor kids who are older or more physically developed, often at a disadvantage to late bloomers. Again and again, year after year, the big, strong kids are chosen to play and the smaller, less physically developed ones are left to watch from the sidelines. As the season passes, the skill disparity only increases.
In martial arts, being bigger and older is no advantage. Everyone – and we mean everyone – gets equal time on the mats. And interestingly, it’s been our experience that some of the kids who started out a little smaller and slower end up blossoming into highly technical martial artists as they grow.
If your child is naturally athletic, martial arts becomes a solid foundation that supports other athletic pursuits. Focus, confidence, strength, flexibility and the understanding that hard work pays off are all characteristics of well-rounded athletes.
2. Martial arts is gender blind
It’s kind f nice when you can find an activity your son and daughter can do together. In a world where organized co-ed sports ends around age seven, martial arts stands out. From white belt up to black belt and beyond, boys and girls and men and women train together. It’s shameful that girls still need to be told they can do anything boys can do – of course they can – and martial arts is a testament to that.
3. Martial arts has a year-round season
Year-round classes are another advantage to martial arts. Forgot baseball in the spring and soccer in the fall – this is an activity that’s consistently available no matter what the calendar says. That steadiness helps to reinforce discipline and focus, and it means kids progress more quickly than they might in a seasonal group sport.
4. Kids enjoy individual achievement with the benefits of the group setting
There are many virtues to group sports, and learning how to work within a team is definitely one of them. In martial arts, kids are judged on their individual improvement and progress – a natural self-confidence booster – but they still enjoy the camaraderie and motivation of their peers. They train together, and that builds the same kind of rapport that you’ll find within team sports.
The belt and ranking system of martial arts teaches children to set goals, to overcome adversity, to focus and persevere and prioritize. It teaches them how to fail in order to ultimately succeed. And that’s an incredibly valuable lesson, no matter how old you are.
We aren’t saying that team sports are bad – not at all. But the lessons gleaned from martial arts training in a professional school will stay with your child in a way that a few seasons of indoor soccer may not. And that alone makes it worthy of consideration.
If you’d like to learn more about our children’s programs, our school and our instructors, we’d love to hear from you.