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MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING FOR CHILDREN

kids-groupHave you ever seen a bad kid? Have you ever seen a kid with low self-esteem? Have you ever seen a kid that’s been bullied and pushed around so much that they think it’s normal for things to be that way and that it’s their fault? Let me tell you something when you teach youngsters (no matter what it is that you teach them) you see it all the time.

There are times when you have to build up the inner person as well as the outer. When you have to teach the kid how to handle the conflicts inside themselves, as well as the conflicts that they may face out on the street. You must teach them respect for others, by first teaching them to respect themselves. If you think that it’s easy and that you have a fool proof formula that works every time you’re living in a dream world, and are too blind, or daft to realize it.

In some situations the martial arts can help with the problems. Notice the word some, not all. There’s nothing more gratifying in the world than to see someone who had walked into your dojo several weeks before who doesn’t smile, or talk to the others in class start to interact with them. Or to see his grades start to rise, or even hear the parents remark on how his or her behavior has changed.

How does one accomplish these amazing feats? The first step is you have to care enough to sit and talk with your students and get involved with them. Your part in their lives doesn’t begin and end when they walk into martial art schools. Take ownership for the student. Request to see their progress reports. Make schoolwork part of their advancement requirements. If you do that though you had best be ready to clear out some cobwebs out of your head and lend the kid a hand if they need it. It helps if you’ve got some students that can help them out, and helps to develop bonds in the class.

That brings up the second point, if there’s a problem you have to talk with the parents. This can be the most difficult part of the job. A word of warning when dealing with parents, diplomacy and self-restraint are the watchwords of the day. Constructive criticism in this situation should not be used. Rather
say you’ve noticed certain behaviors ask their opinion on what should be done. Try and forge a synergic relationship with these people. After all two heads are better than one  and they only want the best for their children, as do we all. I’ll tell you now  the parents can be part of the problem  so tread with care. 

Third you must show pride in their accomplishments. A word of encouragement can be fuel for success to those who so often run on empty. Yes, you have to correct mistakes that you see; but make more positive deposits in the emotional bank than negative withdrawals.

The fourth important factor is patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day and these kids are not going to solve their problems overnight. It really is their job to solve them not yours. You just have to be there for them to offer support, insight if you have it or better yet, sit there with your mouth closed and just listen. Seek to understand before you attempt to be understood.

So what are the benefits you ask? For starters self-esteem and this can be a big one. How can you expect a person to be successes in life if they have never succeeded in anything else before? Success is a habit that is cultivated and nurtured not a God given right. Set goals and projects before them which are attainable and then help and encourage them until they succeed. Then help them to realize that they succeeded and that it was their accomplishment.

When you build the students self–esteem their sense of self worth grows. When they can see themselves for the unique and valuable individual that they are, then they can appreciate others for themselves. You must respect yourself before you can respect others.

Karate classes teach other ways to express themselves than through violence. The arts teach when violence is acceptable and how to avoid conflict. Self-control is a hard commodity to come by but will stand them in good stead as they progress in life.

The arts teach self-discipline, teamwork, and a sense of responsibility. Quitting and casting blame on others is a whole lot easier than forging ahead against adversity and accepting responsibility for both the results of your own actions as well as the attainment of the goal. It’s only through internal strength that we succeed in the task that is set for us either by ourselves, or others.

Martial Arts was developed out of a sense of self-preservation to defend ones self from attack from others. However spears and swords aren’t the only dangers that face the martial artist of today. Self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness and the inability to deal with day-to-day conflicts in a productive manner pose as big a threat to the soul, as do weapons to the body. For so fares the soul so fares the body. If you can help one child to see the beauty in them and others, then you may look around and realize that things look a little better to you. There is no endeavor more worthy than the development and education of our future.

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