Between school and homework, kids spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk. That’s why extracurricular activities that allow them to release their energy are so important. Martial arts provides this essential exercise and more. Whether you choose karate or taekwondo or another form, practicing martial arts requires focus, respect, and self-discipline. These are the ten major benefits of martial arts that can help children in daily life and school.

1. Improved Concentration

Some activities allow children to simply show up and go through the motions. In martial arts, this isn’t the case. One of the largest benefits of martial arts for kids is improved concentration.

Active listening and observing is a fundamental aspect of learning new moves and sequences. Children will also learn to develop quick reactionary skills in order to change directions at a moment’s notice.

2. Knowledge Of Basic Self-Defense

Peaceful conflict resolution is a pillar of martial arts. However, there are instances when self-defense may become necessary.

While we hope our children will never be in a situation that requires self-defense, it is a lifesaving skill. In a frightening scenario, basic self-defense can give your child the ability to protect themselves.

Children will also learn about stranger awareness in a way that is appropriate for their specific age range. Instructors stress the importance of being aware of your surroundings and who you are with at all times.

3. Discipline

Structure is an important component of any martial arts class. You’ll recognize that every session has a predictable format and routine. Instructors strictly enforce rules and emphasize the value of respect.

Over time, your child will learn these routines and, in the course of training, learn to be accountable for their own actions, too.

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4. Coordination

The proper development of your child's motor skills depends on coordination and balance. One of the major physical benefits of martial arts is learning how to use your body and react quickly.

Through punching, kicking, and jumping, your child will develop the coordination needed to excel in any physical activity. Many of these sequences also require fast changes in direction, which can improve balance.

5. Reduced ADHD Symptoms

Some parents of children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) report improved symptoms after enrolling in martial arts classes.

Many of the basic tasks in these types of classes involve specific targets, which means a child must focus their technique in one place. Whether it’s a kicking shield or punching bag, they will learn to “zone in” on the task at hand. This helps sharpen the skills that are often challenging for children with ADHD.

6. Healthier Living Skills

Physical fitness is essential for proper growth and development. In addition to eating a healthy diet, it’s important for kids to learn the value of being active.

Fortunately, one of the best benefits of martial arts is the ability to get exercise while having fun. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a 125-pound person can burn 300 calories in just 30 minutes while practicing martial arts.

7. Memorization

Retention is an important skill to master. With this in mind, young children studying martial arts are taught to memorize important personal details. This may include their address, phone number, and a parent’s cell phone number. In an emergency, this information is crucial, but it’s the concept of memorization that serves them for years to come.

As your child works through the various levels of martial arts study, they’ll need to also memorize maneuvers and poses. By exercising this ability, it can improve the way they approach memorization and retention when it comes to school work.

8. Teamwork

While the practice of martial arts is highly introspective, there are exercises and activities that call for teamwork as well.

This is one of the many social benefits of martial arts. Partnering with classmates to practice various kicks or punches provides an opportunity to master the art of working with others. This gives kids the skills needed to pursue positive social interaction at school and in other activities.

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9. Respect

The study of martial arts has long been tied to the concept of respect. It is one of the core values you’ll see in any class, regardless of the type of martial arts. From day one, children are encouraged to respect the instructor, as well as their parents and teachers.

This concept is taught by requiring eye contact, obedience, and the trademark martial arts bow. By stressing the importance of respect within the studio, your child can learn to transfer this to everyday life. They will learn to treat their elders, as well as their peers, with more respect and kindness.

10. Increased Confidence And Self-Esteem

The study of martial arts focuses highly on self-improvement. Unlike team sports, the only person to compete against is yourself. This speaks to the many mental benefits of martial arts.

While some kids struggle with the highly competitive nature of team sports and the idea of letting others down, martial arts can boost their confidence through slow and steady growth as an individual.

While every variation of martial arts discipline is different, most will encourage students to work their way through each level. As they continue to grow and achieve proficiency, they begin to feel proud of their accomplishments.

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