Sports, music, and video games are examples of an after-school program. But martial arts for kids is about so much more than just physical movement. It’s about fitness with a purpose and helping your child become the absolute best version of themselves, inside and out. We gathered up our top 5 reasons why Monrovia parents choose martial arts for kids – and some of them may surprise you! Read on to find out more.
Reason 1: Martial Arts for Kids Helps with Focus
Stepping outside of after-school programs for a second, we can say with confidence that a lot of kids struggle with focus and concentration. Some of these issues have to do with just being a kid, whose brain is still developing; Some of it has to do with more screen time, leading to less control over attention spans; And some of it is due to plain old genetics, if attention issues run in the family.
What’s cool is that martial arts for kids helps students with attention problems and trouble focusing. Why? Well, martial arts for kids is actually about way more than just punches and kicks. It’s a tool that people have been using for hundreds of years to develop character and learn incredible life skills. Our instructors are like ninjas, sneaking in quick games and activities to build focus over time. But aside from games, the act of martial arts itself requires discipline too.
To master the physical moves, kids need to be still, listen intently, and concentrate on what they’re doing. Once they’ve done this, our instructors use positive reinforcement to continually praise them for paying attention. Soon, the students understand the connection between receiving positive feedback and staying focused, and they start to see great results. This ultimately helps them achieve better grades and become more confident, which you’ll read about in Reasons 2 and 3. Cool, right?
Reason 2: Better Grades are Possible with an After-School Program
Did you know that martial arts classes can help your child get better grades? Here’s the breakdown: Through fun games in class and consistent practice of the martial arts moves, we teach them how to improve their focus and attention skills like in Reason 1. With this newfound focus, our students become more “indestructible”- they have better hand-eye coordination and sharper attention spans, meaning they squirm less in their seats during class and can focus on the tasks at hand.
Better focus leads to better listening, so the information is “sticking” better, and they complete their assignments with a higher quality of concentration. And, because they’re retaining more information, they’re able to recall better on tests and quizzes. They’re scoring higher because of this heightened recall, and voila–better grades! Yep, it’s that simple and it does work!
Reason 3: Martial Arts is an After-School Program that Builds Confidence
Believe it or not, sometimes your child’s karate after-school program can lead to a decrease in confidence because they’re comparing themselves to others on their sports team or in debate club. If your child isn’t the most athletic, or they’re somewhat shy, it may be challenging to find an after-school program that suits them. Where they don’t have to worry about “letting the team down,” in any way.
What’s great about martial arts is that it’s an individual sport in a group setting, so our students are focused on their progress and their growth. They learn how to compare themselves not necessarily to others–which can be a losing game–but to the previous versions of themselves, to keep improving. In this way, our students can tangibly see how awesome it feels to set goals and meet goals, and they can understand the discipline and perseverance it takes to become successful. Those are skills they’ll take with them for life.
Additionally, our students learn to be real cheerleaders for their peers and support each other whenever they need it. This is one of the best things about teaching martial arts to kids–seeing the way that our kids become friends and cheer each other on. For those who struggle with feeling confident inside and out, getting that support from both their instructors and their peers can be very gratifying and even start a lifelong path of confidence and happiness.
Reason 4: Our Martial Arts Instructors are Positive Role Models for Kids
Most benefits of after-school programs are about a result – the show in Drama Club, the games in sports, etc. This is where martial arts is the most different from other programs. Achieving a new belt rank “winning” is not our sole focus. Because martial arts is an individual sport in a group setting, our instructors can hone in on each student and help them progress along their unique journey.
Our instructors then become positive role models to our students, bonding with the kids and nurturing them through positive reinforcement, positive self-talk, and a focus on progress, not perfection.
The beauty of martial arts is that every black belt was once a beginner, so every instructor teaches with integrity. They know what it’s like to be frustrated or upset, but they also know how valuable it is to keep going! We always show our students how to get back up and keep going no matter what; how to stay humble, no matter how far they progress. That sense of respect and discipline is not something you see in other after-school programs.
Reason 5: It’s Just Fun!
The fifth reason is that the martial arts after-school program is just plain fun! Our amazing instructors make each lesson fun and engaging. Our classes are centered around non-stop activity. We break each class into different sections to keep our kids engaged and learning, sprinkling fun games into the mix to add an element of surprise.
Fun activities and games not only help the kids stay engaged with our lessons, but they also help our students make the connection; that physical fitness and movement are sources of positive emotion; a connection that will serve them for the rest of their lives. This big focus on fun is also how our instructors manage to sneak those life skills–like focus, confidence, and discipline–into each lesson. The kids don’t even know they’re learning something, they’re too busy having a blast!