Martial arts is fantastic for children to participate in at any age. There are a variety of benefits both physical and mental from performing the art. The assumption that martial arts is strictly to teach children about violence is an absurd notion. It is, in fact, the complete opposite. Martial arts will teach a child about respect, how to keep themselves protected and self-discipline all the while giving them physical exercise and a new found hobby to love.
Children who take part in martial arts, such as karate, tae kwon do, or tai chi, are learning an art form that not only teaches them how to be safe but teaches them the self-discipline that goes along with it. To be able to learn each set of movements from a simple punch, to a roundhouse kick, is an achievement. Children who start off younger will be able to progress through the belt classes with ease and learn discipline at a young age.
The art form comes in the beauty of the dance, as well as the way that they must practice and keep determined in order to do each movement precisely without going too fast, or too slow. One kick can turn in to a spin and a punch with the next movement being a crouch and then a swift jump to the left and an open palm to the side. With each movement there is discipline and control to keep the body as one with the mind and spirit.
When entering a dojo, children are often taught what they need to do in order to enter the building. Often by taking off shoes, being in uniform then bowing and asking for permission to enter the room, the children may enter upon approval from their Master. Addressing their teachers as Ma'am and Sir is a sign of respect and this is very important to the culture of martial arts. Respecting your teacher or Master, yourself, the surroundings, as well as other students, is very important and will be taught from the moment they begin their training.
This respect gained and taught from classes will also fall in to play for the family life, their peers and mentors at school. By teaching children the power of respect and what it can mean for the life, children can only benefit from martial arts classes.
Each belt or stripe is an achievement that they have earned, worked hard for, and achieved with persistence. These stripes and belts are not easy to come by, and with the practice, determination and strength, they will only continue on to progress. The fact that children can learn these movements, learn respect for their peers and elders, and stick with something doing there best, is an achievement that any parent can be proud of. This is something they too can be proud of themselves in, giving them more confidence and joy to continue pursuing other things and succeeding in all aspects of life.
More than anything, children involved in martial arts will receive exercise while they are having fun. With punches, kicks, spins, falls, and tumbling, the children are being purely physical. Their bodies are not the only thing receiving exercise during practice either. The mind itself is at play when it comes to performing martial arts. Each move is to be memorized and repeated, thus giving the brain exercise as well.
Both inside and outside the dojo, children can practice the form. Give them a space in the living room, or in the spare bedroom, that they can practice their falls, kicks, and punches with ease. Get involved with them in the program if possible, as well. Even adults can benefit greatly from the exercise benefits of martial arts. Not only that, but the children will be able to train and share with their parents.
All together with these attributes, it is a good idea for children to learn martial arts. If they have ever expressed interest in it, then it's a good idea to find a local martial arts studio. Look in to the art form and find out what they are interested in for sure. Some dojos do offer a trial period to see if the child will truly like the experience and be able to keep up and provide their persistence in the program. Get them started young and you will see them grow up in to bright, beautiful, strong individuals.