Today, our families are provided with a wide variety of extra-curricular activities for children. However, not all of these are equal when it comes to lasting benefits. Some may offer exercise, confidence building, team building, multiculturalism or an opportunity to learn a musical instrument. When looking for an activity it is essential to find one that offers a multi-faceted approach, satisfies both parental and child’s needs, as well as providing an experience that will last a lifetime. Martial arts will fulfill these core requirements and much more.
This Brazilian martial art is the most exciting, dynamic, and interdisciplinary of the top five martial arts for your children. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, fighting technique and strategy, acrobatics, ritual, and music. Kids are naturally drawn to music and movement, and these two attributes are the essence of capoeira. From the very beginning, your child will be constantly moving to the music or playing the ‘game’ in the roda. Capoeira teaches self-discipline, control, confidence, character building, and respect, much like other martial arts. Unlike other martial arts, Capoeira reinforces the need for building community, understanding multiculturalism and respecting others, resolving conflicts without violence, learning a new language, developing musical abilities, and familial unity. If you are looking for a martial art that offers a holistic approach to benefit your child’s life, Capoeira is the ultimate martial art to study.
Muay Thai is a great martial art for your child. Muay Thai originates from Thailand and is essentially a Thai form of kickboxing. Much like capoeira, Muay Thai has a long-established cultural history. Some of the top benefits gained from practicing Muay Thai are increased cardiovascular conditioning, leg and core strength, and stress relief. Muay Thai also teaches the value of respect, self-discipline, and the ability to resolve conflicts. Unlike other martial arts, Muay Thai does not offer a general ranking system such as colored belts, so your child will also learn individual goal setting. With the intense workouts provided through Muay Thai, your child will learn how to live with a healthy lifestyle and respect their body.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is also another martial art that has made the top five martial arts for kids. BJJ is a martial art that focuses on the art of grappling with emphasis on ground fighting. Where the largest and strongest have the most leverage in battle, BJJ advocates that concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against the larger opponent through BJJ technique and strategy. For children specifically, this martial art will help build the mental strength, confidence, and problem solving skills to benefit them in any situation. Jiu-jitsu is similar to other martial arts where it is considered an individual sport, rather than a team sport, encouraging individual achievement and goal setting.
Mixed Martial Arts
By adding a few more punches and kicks to the mix of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappling and strategic planning, we move into Mixed Martial Arts or commonly referred to as MMA. While most media portrays MMA as an aggressive and negative form of martial art, it really is the opposite. There are many positive aspects to MMA. MMA focuses on self-control and discipline, maturity, confidence, and physical and mental health. Children learn how to avoid fights and defend themselves when conflict is unavoidable. Practicing MMA in a controlled environment provides a safe and fun place to expel their aggression, meaning they will have less outside of the gym.
Kung Fu is a general term referring to a variety of Chinese martial art styles originating in the Shaolin Temple where monks practiced the art for health and self-defense. Kung Fu teaches respect, patience, humility and morality. Exercises for stretching, muscle, and vital energy are included within the teaching of Kung Fu before the specific martial art style is taught. If you are looking for training with a calm disposition, then Kung Fu is the martial art for you and your child. Violence, selfishness, and aggressive attitudes are not part of Kung Fu philosophy. This martial art focuses on health and fitness, character training and self-defense. Respect, courage, tolerance and reverence for life are essential to this art.