There are a lot of options when it comes to getting your kids physical activity. Hockey, baseball, dance, swimming…the list is endless. Some build strength, some encourage team-building, some improve stamina but there’s one on the list that does all of the above, and more – martial arts.
Enrolling your kid in a martial arts class is one of the best gifts you can give them, opening up a world of new experiences, new challenges, and physical and emotional skills that will last them a lifetime.
Because picking out activities for your kids isn’t just about getting them exercise. They can get a good workout running around with their friends. It’s about helping them become better adults with skills that extend beyond the gym. Training like a martial arts master gives young students an early introduction into leadership, discipline, control, and focus. Plus, it’s fun! What kid doesn’t want to learn how to be a badass samurai?
5 Reasons to Sign Up For Kids Martial Arts
#1 Improve their physical health
We’ll start with the obvious. Martial arts like Brazilian jiu jitsu are great for physical health, providing a tough cardiovascular workout that employs every muscle. The variety involved in the moves gives kids the chance to build strength in every area as well as improving their flexibility, balance, and stamina.
Studies show that grappling sports such as jiu jitsu don’t just make you stronger, they also improve power, coordination, and agility. By building this kind of functional fitness early, you’re setting your kids up for a lifetime of good health!
#2 Build confidence and self-esteem
I’ve trained a lot of kids in my 15+ years of coaching Brazilian jiu jitsu and the best moments for me are seeing shy, quiet, introverted kids completely transformed on the mat. Watching them go from a meek wallflower to a confidence beast is why I do what I do. Those are the wins that matter.
Training martial arts helps kids realise their own power and potential which, in turn, gives them confidence, self-esteem, and resilience. If they can handle throws in the gym, they can handle whatever life throws at them out of the gym.
#3 Instill discipline
Training is fun, but this isn’t playtime. Kids are expected to follow the rules, treat each other (and their coach!) with respect, and get to work.
Discipline is a core principle of any martial art, with students taught to control not just their bodies but their emotions too. This emphasis on discipline spills into other areas of their life – you’ll likely notice your kid doing better in class, paying attention, and being more considerate of others. In one study, kids who trained martial arts performed better in school, significantly improving their test scores and behaviour.
#4 Develop leadership skills
In our gym, kids train as a team. They regularly spar with partners, fostering new friendships and teaching them the value of being a good communicator and teammate.
They also learn how to become leaders. It’s not unusual in our sessions for a more experienced student to offer a helping hand to someone who’s struggling. It makes me very proud to see these mini-mentors in action as they take the initiative, show compassion, and share what they’ve learned to support someone else.
#5 Prevent problem behaviours
In 2021, researchers interested in the mental health effects of Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) decided to launch a school study involving sixth grade kids. The kids were divided into two groups – one did two weeks of traditional physical education, the other trained BJJ.
At the end of those two weeks, the BJJ kids saw ‘significant improvement’ in their mental health. Compared to the control group, they were better able to process their emotions, better behaved in class, and had less hyperactivity and inattention.
It’s a tough world for our kids. As parents, one of our most important jobs is to help them deal with their challenges in a healthy way. Anger, anxiety, aggression, depression – taking these to the mat can help lessen their severity and stop kids feeling overwhelmed.
Healthy kids, healthy adults
All parents know that kids are little sponges – eager to learn, curious about the world, and full of potential. Martials arts is one of the best ways to nurture that potential. Help them find their inner warrior and you’ll be giving them a gift that lasts forever.
Innisfill BJJ offers kids classes for all ages. Students aged 4 to 7 can train with a parent in our Parent & Child Classes, while those aged 7 to 13 can enroll in our Youth Program. For more details, or to register, check out our class schedule.