The different disciplines of martial arts have often been depicted in media as violent endeavours. We can see this in movies, videogames, and even in officially sanctioned live tournaments like the Ultimate Fighting Championship. While this certainly makes for compelling and exciting entertainment, it also glosses over the more significant facet of martial arts, namely that which focuses on developing the values and moral fibre of individuals who engage in them. As a result, parents who were originally planning to introduce their children to martial arts training might be dissuaded from doing so. Unfortunately this would cause many children to miss out on the opportunity to engage in a safe and rewarding sport, one that could also offer them tools for positive self-improvement.

If you are one such parent, then let us help you make a better decision by listing the six most important things that young people can learn when taking up martial arts.

1.) How to be brave

Once you enrol your child into a martial arts class, you will be introducing them to a variety of situations where they may feel anxious, nervous, or even afraid. These situations may include being asked to perform techniques in front of their peers, or getting into simulated physical combat with a partner, i.e. sparring. This constant but regulated exposure to such events will teach your child how to understand their fears and anxieties, and deal with them productively. As a result, your child will be able to keep their wits about them and not give in to panic, especially in times when their level-headedness counts for a lot.

2.) How to defend themselves

One of the intrinsic purposes of martial arts is to empower its practitioners with the ability to defend themselves in situations where physical altercation can’t be avoided. As such, when you sign up your child to join a reputable martial arts training course or self defence classes Perth residents trust, you are giving them an invaluable opportunity to learn how to properly react to danger and to protect themselves if necessary.

That being said, we must stress the word “defend.” This means that while martial arts does instruct your child in combat-like techniques, it also teaches them to understand that what they learn must only be used for self-preservation, and never to attack or harass others. As such, not only will your child know how to keep themselves safe, but they will also learn how to resolve conflicts peacefully and without feeling that they can or should resort to violence.

3.) How to deal with pain and disappointment

Many of today’s martial arts involve some type of physical contact. This means that your child may experience controlled impacts and falls at certain points during their training, such as during instruction or while sparring with a fellow student.

Certainly, no parent ever wants their child to get hurt. However, pain is a natural part of life, and learning how to overcome it is a part of the growing process. By having your child participate in a martial arts class, you allow them to confront physical pain in a safe and controlled environment, one that also has a minimised risk of injury. This can help teach them how to be physically and mentally resilient. Such a trait will allow them to be more grounded and ready for the trials life will bring their way.

Besides physical pain, martial arts can also teach your child how to deal constructively with emotional pain. As with all combat sports, martial arts have a competitive aspect, and it can manifest as students trying to perform new moves or techniques more quickly than others, being promoted to a new rank, or attempting to win in class tournaments.

There will be times when your child doesn’t succeed or perform as well as they want to in their martial arts class, and as such, they’ll be exposed to disappointment, frustration, and other negative emotions associated with failure. Along the way, however, they will also gradually learn that losing or failing at something is simply something that can happen, and they can keep trying until they succeed. This will help them deal with emotional pain maturely, while also teaching them about the value of perseverance.

4.) How to be disciplined

In the world of martial arts, the word “discipline” doesn’t necessarily mean punishment. Instead, it means having a good grasp of your own emotions and short-term desires and to be able to set them aside to do what’s necessary to reach a long-term goal or objective. Through rigorous physical training, correct repetition of techniques, and the performance of customs based on a deep respect for others, martial arts can teach your child how to be a disciplined and self-composed individual.

This is yet another lesson that will benefit them in life, as it will enable them to do what they need to do even if they don’t feel like they want to at that particular moment in time. This can be anything from having a healthy diet to doing their schoolwork on time instead of procrastinating. Having this type of discipline will help them reach their goals faster.

5.) How to be confident in their abilities

Martial arts can teach your child how to be confident in themselves. This is through the many goals that martial arts classes set for the students, all of which can only be achieved through considerable hard work, effort, and dedication. Examples of these goals include being promoted to a particular level of mastery or being able to perform a difficult sequence of moves and techniques perfectly. There is no other way to achieve these goals.

So, when you put your child through martial arts training, you are giving them the opportunity to seek out these tangible goals for themselves and work on pursuing them. While they may be met with failure during their early attempts, they will gradually succeed, and in doing so, they will learn that it was through their own effort and willpower that they have achieved their goals. This will give your child the confidence in themselves and in their capabilities, both of which will be of great help to them in many other areas of their life and as they mature.

6.) How to be physically active and fit

Finally, since martial arts involves rigorous physical activity, you can expect your child to be regularly exposed to exercise. This will help them stay healthy, while also improving their other physical qualities such as strength, muscle tone, and stamina. Their activities can supplement their regular exercise and encourage them to hone and maintain their fitness. Moreover, their martial arts instructors may also impart lifelong healthy dietary and exercise habits to your child, which will help them stay fit for the foreseeable future.

Martial arts can better equip your child to handle life as it comes

With how martial arts are depicted in today’s media, it’s natural to have second thoughts about enrolling your child into a martial arts class or any other self-defence training course that involves physical combat. However, the simple truth is that martial arts teaches your child the important life lessons listed above, all of which they can greatly benefit from, even outside their training.

“Violence” is only a small part of martial arts, and even when it’s present, it is only in the explicit purpose of being able to defend oneself in dangerous situations. If you’re still having reservations, then you should at the very least sit in during one of the classes and see how the instructor and their students behave. You may be surprised at what you discover.