Say No to Violence
Are we teaching our children violence? Just say “NO” to violence! The answer is deceptively simple. Martial arts schools demand the respect that comes with the power of being taught. Martial arts schools employ very steep penalties if they hear of their students bullying, fighting, or bragging.
“I have a rule in my martial arts studio that if I even hear that you are fighting, you come before the class, and I will take your belt; you become a no-belt,” says Charlie Foxman, owner of the Midwest Martial Arts Academy in St. Louis.” In 12 years of teaching, I’ve only had to take three belts.” Children are attending martial arts training rarely, if ever, need to use their skills. They feel confident, walk confident, talk confident, and show confidence in their actions. This mentality is enforced through every tenant of the martial arts regimen.
Forbes magazine explains:
“Respecting age is incumbent on the martial arts youngster away from class as well. Most studios have rules to follow at home, including speaking properly to adults and not interrupting them, being neat and clean, doing homework and being kind (“Children will not use any karate moves on their family members or friends,” one handbill advises). Courtesy and humility, foreign concepts to many American youths. Smoking, drinking, and drugs are out. Those who stray off course may find their uniformed rank reduced. What might seem harsh coming from the parents, it is “hip” when given by a martial arts master. (Ferguson, 1995)”
If a child with martial arts training is cornered by a bully or even worse, a predator, he or she has the tools necessary to escape the situation as quickly as possible. This ability reassures most parents since they know that their children can defend themselves. Fundamentally, children in martial arts are no longer seen as potential victims, so the confrontations rarely happen in the first place.
The Essence of Martial Arts
So what is it about martial arts that are so influential on our kids? The main tenants of martial arts are discipline, honor, confidence, and perseverance. It is how an experienced martial arts instructors teach the kids martial arts. It has to be genuine and have the passion for loving these children participating in the kid’s martial arts training.
Each set of moves is taught to students with detail information on how it is applied for self-defense. It gives a student a better understanding and the meaning of each move or techniques that are taught to them. As each student progresses through the belt system, they increase their confidence too. Each belt becomes progressively more challenging to obtain. Subsequent belt advancements require knowledge of more moves, stances and forms along with management leadership skills that are taught to them before becoming a Black Belt. This responsibility helps facilitate a sense of belonging and team spirit among all the belts.
Isn’t it kid’s martial arts dangerous?
A concern of many parents is the danger of sparring or what we call randori in another language. Sparring is the application of the forms and combinations learned in martial arts, usually against a peer opponent.
There is danger in any contact sport, but with proper supervision and guidance, the danger is controlled and minimized. A majority of schools also sponsor competitions, but participation is not a usual requirement of the program or for advancement in belt rank.Sparring is an integral part of applying the techniques learned, and like hockey or football is performed with safety equipment and strict rules of engagement.The students are taught in a progressive manner slowly but surely on “how to spar” with another student. Actually, in fact, the playground is a lot more dangerous, we have more children breaking their arms or legs in the playground than martial arts practice.
Our children face a potentially life-threatening, if not life-changing, decisions every day. Violence, being bullied, drugs, gangs, and predators just waiting around the corner. The children are their targets. So how does a parent arm his children with the tools necessary to make the right decisions while they are not under his watchful eye? Confidence and discipline are the keys, and martial arts training can be the solution.
Martial Arts – A Way of Life
Many kid’s martial arts schools have taken innovative approaches to blending the tenants of martial arts into the children’s everyday lives. The TAMA Martial Arts Center encourages good grades by placing “Scholastic Achiever” on the sleeve of uniforms. If children earn all A’s on their report card, Grandmaster Taningco spends the time and buy the kids lunch. Kid’s Martial Arts is a proven, effective method of building their self-discipline, self-esteem and goal setting behavior. It also provides the children with the means to protect themselves when presented with a threat. However, it gives martial arts students a solid foundation to cope and to comprehend with the daily pressures they endure throughout childhood, setting the patterns and behaviors for a successful transition to adulthood and thus we have “a way of life.”