I watched a fascinating debate last month, where it was being discussed that martial arts for children was a bad idea. This was something which certainly piqued my interest, because from a very young age I began karate. In the debate was a man I respect a great deal, martial arts expert William Sherlund, who was defending the idea that kids could do martial arts, even at a young age. The opposition to William were saying the usual things around violence and exploding children to it, not to mention the risk of injury. In my view however, there is nothing at all wrong with kids learning martial arts, and here is exactly why.
No matter what kind of martial art, or even fighting sport, which your child learns, the first thing that they will be taught is discipline. I can still remember being told by my sensei that we should never use what we had learned about in class, unless we are ever attacked. I have friends who have had the same situation. The notion that kids are going to begin using violence on everyone because they are learning some basic defense techniques is nonsense, and there is no evidence to back this claim up.
Many kids have anger issues, perhaps because of their home life, perhaps they are being bullied or maybe even they are just struggling with the stresses of life. We have seen clear evidence of the fact that martial arts can greatly help these kids to channel their aggression. If people don’t learn this, they run the great risk of using it where it doesn’t belong. The reality is that aggressive children will be far better behaved if they are able to learn martial arts.
The unfortunate reality of this world which we live in is that it can be dangerous, and we have to prepare children for that. If we wrap kids up in cotton wool then we are not preparing them properly for the world. This is not to say that we have to tell them the world is a terribly dangerous place, it is more about educating them on how to protect and defend themselves should something bad occur.
Above all else martial arts helps to keep our kids in good shape, it helps them to stay fit and it helps them to burn off all of that energy they have. Much of martial arts classes is around improving strength and conditioning and there is no reason at all why kids shouldn’t benefit for something like this at a young age. In fact starting so young with regards to health and fitness is something that will stand them in good stead for many years to come. There is absolutely nothing wrong with educating our children on health and fitness, and this is a great place to start.
What are your opinions on kids getting started with martial arts? Let us know in the comments.