As a martial arts instructor teaching hundreds of kids each week, I see a range of kids walking through my doors. But what I am most fascinated with is the difference martial arts classes can make to a child’s confidence in such a short period of time. I see kids go from being very timid and shy and not even able to look me in the eye, to being very self-confident and generally a much happier kid all around. Parents are constantly thanking me for the changes they see in their kids and I know it a massive relief for them to see how confident and self-assured their child is.
Here are 5 reasons why I think martial arts classes can make a massive difference to a child’s confidence:
- They learn how to defend themselves. Who doesn’t feel confident that no matter what situation may arise, you are equipped with the tools to know how to deal with it. Stress is caused by the lack of knowledge or skill on how to deal with a challenge. Think about your child – at 10 years old do you think they have the skills and knowledge available to them to deal with conflict? Sure some kids do but I know a lot who don’t – I also know a lot of adults that don’t have these skills! A more visible example is a toddler who doesn’t have the skills or knowledge or emotional capacity available to them yet to deal with their parent saying no to a toy they want in a store and all they know how to do is lie down on the floor and scream! Don’t we wish we could do that sometimes? J What I teach in my classes is yes the ability to defend themselves physically, but also how to be assertive and verbally deal with conflict and uncomfortable situations before they do get physical. A good martial arts school will incorporate some level of personal development or teaching on certain principles. We have a message of the week and a Warrior’s Code.
- Meditation. At the start and end of each class we do a meditation. This allows the child to go inwards and centre themselves so they can focus on themselves and their response to the environment around them, rather than reacting straight away. It teaches a child how to connect to their body and this helps them grow their self-awareness and belief in themselves, rather than always looking to the world outside them. This helps them with their own self confidence.
- Grading system and rewards. Most martial art schools will use a grading system to reward the students for all their hard work and perseverance. There is nothing better than to see the pride a child feels when they get up in front of their peers and mum, dad, brother/sister, and grandparents and receive their next belt. The kids are so proud of themselves and it is a fair way of rewarding them and showing them that perseverance and sticking to something has a reward at the end. The kids will often then take their belts in to school for show and tell and their pride fuels their confidence.
- Physical development. Martial arts is a physical activity. It requires mastering certain movements and skills. When a child masters one of these skills such as a spinning kick or a roll they feel a certain sense of pride and accomplishment. Just like adults we feel great when we have our sights set on a goal and we achieve it.
- Positive role model. It is great for the kids to have someone outside their parents who acts as a role model for them which is why it’s important to choose the right school and martial art for your child. A good role model will use positive behavioural management when required, and build a solid relationship with your child so they have another person to turn to during difficult times. When kids have people surrounding them that believe in them they really grow in confidence.
These are the main reasons why I think kids grow in confidence by participating in a good martial arts program.
To book a free class in our Krav Kids Self Defence Program book here https://www.kravmaganorthernbeaches.com.au/krav-maga-kids/.