Martial arts were never intended for children. While there are many benefits children can gain from training, there is a unique tension between the mental and physical elements. Children cannot be expected to perform techniques at the same level of expertise as adults, yet they can learn to demonstrate a degree of proficiency within their own abilities.
By default children get better as they get older. Their bodies are getting bigger, stronger and more agile. The techniques they practice as youngsters markedly improve their flexibility, balance and coordination; gains that stay with them throughout their lifetime. Unlike many adults, children are more likely to embrace the principles of martial arts training as their ideologies are still being formed.
Children in our culture tend to be impulsive and impatient; they want to walk away when hard work and effort are required. Their self-esteem can be mistakenly inflated by our politically correct, child-centered society. It's great for kids to feel good about themselves, yet they need to learn that hard work and discipline are desirable virtues necessary for success at every age.
Martial arts offers opportunities for children to learn that the most meaningful rewards come from sincere effort and hard work, not just showing up. Young students learn that sometimes they can work harder than ever thought they could, that it's okay to try your hardest and not make the grade . . . yet. Working through both success and disappointment teach great lessons about determination.
We do our best to make classes interesting and fun, but the bottom line is what you put into martial arts is exactly what you get out of it. Martial arts is difficult and often tedious, but children can learn constructive lessons about hard work and achievement if they are encouraged to stick with it. Your child will need you as their emotional partner on this journey, supporting, encouraging and reinforcing the lessons they are learning about commitment, resolve and courage. Tastes of success at a young age provide foundations for hard work in later life.
"The reward for a thing well done is to have done it." Ralph Waldo Emerson