We are a martial arts school here in Reno with an amazing program for kids. And we hear often from the parents of our students what a difference martial arts has made in their child. They aren’t necessarily talking about their impressive technique, or the height of their kicks. These parents are telling us how their child’s behavior at home and at school has improved, that they’ve noticed an improved ability to focus, and more respect.
We aren’t surprised. There are lots of studies that explain martial arts doesn’t make children violent, and we’ve seen it ourselves in thousands of students over the last fifteen years.
The common thread between studies that look at children and martial arts is this: there’s a link between the practice of this sport and improved self-confidence, self-esteem, ability, a sense of being connected and decreased aggression. This is absolutely the case, with one big qualification. If your child’s instructor or school leans toward the reactive, punitive side and doesn’t model and emphasize mutual respect, personal dignity and perseverance – and fails to do so kindly – then your child is missing one of the biggest benefits of martial arts.
At Freestyle Martial Arts, we offer both a youth program and a preschool program. The youth program is built for children ages 8 to 14 and teaches Freestyle’s curriculum of mixed martial arts in a fun, challenging and age-appropriate way. The emphasis is proper technique, of course, but equally on personal responsibility, goal setting and respect.
Little Dragons is our program for the little guys. Kids ages four to seven participate in classes that are structured for the needs and abilities of that age range. Classes have a generous instructor-to-student ratio, with head instructors running the show and a number of junior instructors on hand. There are warm-up games to loosen up the kids, students practice the simplest movements through repeated movements and drills, and the emphasis is on patience and productivity.
There are studies to be read and posts like this to read. But the best way for you to decide if martial arts at Freestyle is the best move for your child is to come and see it for yourself. We invite you to visit our classes, meet our instructors, and talk to other parents. Sit in on a class and watch the dynamic – listen to the instructors and observe the students. That will tell you much more than we can in a blog post.
If you like what you see, the next step is our introductory offer, which includes three lessons and a gi. Martial arts is the kind of activity that nearly every child benefits from – on and off the mats – and that alone is reason enough to investigate further.
Teaching a kid how to throw a punch or effectively wield a long stick may seem crazy. But we know – and you will, too – that empowering children in this way doesn’t lead to aggression or violence. In fact, the opposite is true. We hope you’ll come and see for yourself.