When I was a child, I had a healthy fear of my parents. I wasn’t afraid of them in a bad way. Instead, I greatly valued their respect—and behaved according to their expectations. Whether that meant sitting quietly at the dinner table until all of the adults had finished eating or finishing the chores that my parents set aside from me, I took everything seriously. I’m not sure where we started to lose this relationship with our children. But I think our modern day children have lost some of that healthy fear of their parents. If you are looking for a way to instill respect and patience into your children, you might consider checking out martial art classes.
A wide variety of martial arts classes exist to choose from. I recommend doing a little research to find out what style you think might most benefit your child to learn. The studio Harvest Martial Arts teaches Han Mu Do – a style that focuses on both self-defense and the tenants of optimism, balance, and harmony. Or maybe you find yourself drawn towards Karate – focused on self-defense and the development of an attitude of fearlessness, virtue, and leadership. Regardless of the style of martial arts you select for your child, the practice targets basic tenets of trust, respect, leadership, and discipline. Let’s take a deeper look into the tenets of martial arts to understand how they can benefit your child.
When your child starts learning martial arts, they need to completely trust themselves—and their instructors. They will be pushing their bodies in an active and challenging way. This means they must trust their instincts and push their boundaries. Firstly, they will figure out how to measure their own abilities, and determine their limits. However, they need to learn to move past their safe spot. They will learn to rely on their instructors to guide and teach them how to do that. This means that they will be listening and focusing on the words of an adult—creating a bond of trust and understanding
The majority of martial arts originate from Eastern Asia. Their roots are based in the armed forces. As a military practice, martial arts are naturally based in a system of hierarchy and respect. The students must always follow the guidelines brought forth to them by any person superior to their skill level. Rather than simply being a structure of age, students learn to base their respect on the fact that someone is more knowledgeable than them. This parallels the rules of the home. You do not listen to your parents simply because they are older but rather because they are wiser and more knowledgeable about life. Your children learn to respect you as teachers as well as parents.
Unlike a team sport such as soccer, martial arts are based on solitary skills. Students must learn how to succeed by themselves. Masters give them the tools, but they must figure out how to use them. The students must determine how much training they need and commit to completing it. Teaching children how to be in charge of their own success is critical for growth and leadership. As a parent, you constantly teach your children skills. It is important that your children also take initiative and leadership. They must begin to follow your rules without your reminding them to do so.
Discipline is one of the most rewarding aspects of martial arts. Martial arts require patience, thoughtfulness, and dedication. Students of martial arts learn from the beginning that the sport requires time and endurance. You cannot master any martial art over a short period of time. This teaches the students to look toward the future and set goals. Many children suffer from a lack of patience and an inability to take things slowly. Being able to set goals and be future-orientated helps your children to appreciate small achievements and be more grateful.
Martial arts come in such a large variety of different styles. You are almost guaranteed to find something that your child will enjoy trying. After learning the core tenets of martial arts, you may see a huge improvement in the behavior of your child. But you won’t know if it works until you try it!
Justin Martin is a 2nd Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor of Han Mu Do, having studied under Dr. He-Young Kimm. Mr. Martin has trained in various styles of martial arts and is passionate about teaching martial arts classes for both adults and kids. Mr. Martin’s studio, Harvest Martial Arts, teaches Han Mu Do classes for children and adults.