10 Reasons Why Martial Arts are Better for Kids than Team Sports
The benefits of sports for boys and girls are very well documented, but there’s a debate about how good team sports are for children. I am the first to say that team sports are something your child should be engaged in, happy with, and enthusiastic about, etc. However, in my own experience, my son struggled and it ended up impacting his confidence. Thankfully, he conquered that struggle and is now a strong black belt ready to take on any challenge. Looking back, I still get frustrated thinking about our experience. In the same way, I have witnessed many children struggle in team sports. It can be frustrating and distressing, turning what should be an experience with lasting lessons into a lasting trauma.
Children are happiest at sports when the following factors are present, according to Project Play:
- Getting to try their best.
- Coaches treating kids with respect.
- Getting to play.
- Doing well as a team.
- Getting along with teammates.
- Exercise and activity.
Some children never get to play and sit on the bench, as untrained adults sometimes volunteer as coaches play favorites/politics. Others are bullied by their own teammates. Often time, the pressure to “be a team player” leads to keeping silent about behavior that adults need to know about. Sports are turned into a machine that chews up and spits out kids as the field is sorted for the most talented. Other times, parents push their kids too hard. Certainly, it’s not all sports. In general, the more prestige that a sport has, the tenser the atmosphere. The goal is not participation, not learning, but training for excellence that few can hope to attain and one that puts younger, less experienced players at a severe disadvantage.
Winning, playing in tournaments and championships, and practice are less a child’s priorities than they are those of the adults. Everyone wants their child to do well, but there comes a time to pull back and ask yourself if it’s for them or if it’s for parents. Do they own those medals, or are their accomplishments part of parents’ brag book? Are you seeing bad behaviors from a star player rubbing off on the other kids? Or is your child so discouraged that they just want to quit? Taekwondo might be a good alternative to offer your child and to even for yourself.
- There is no bench in Taekwondo. Everyone plays and everyone participates. Everyone gets a chance to learn and grow.
- Individual achievement. Everyone starts as a white belt, no matter how old or young, and they rise through the ranks at their own pace.
- Professional Masters. Most of the professional field requires 4 years of college studies. Average Martial Arts masters training experience is over 10 years. At Golden Eagle, we have 3 masters experience: 20 years+ 23 years + 46 years = A Total of 89 years of experience!
- Mental Training “In martial arts, the biggest enemy is the self. Inside your struggle because you want to prove something.” –Jet Li Combat arts obviously focus on physical warfare, but equally as much, it’s about recognizing that we are our own worst enemy. Learning how to focus on and analyze the self; practicing self-control, anger-repression, harnessing an indomitable spirit, and tempering ourselves into a healthy state of mind and being, is merely a few of the tools that– especially when learned and harnessed at a young age– really change student’s lives.
- Martial arts last a lifetime. Not many players get a chance to practice their sport into adulthood. Some will play through high school and college, but unless they enter the ranks of professional sports, they may find that they have lost the sport they loved. Taekwondo is something you can do for a lifetime, no matter where you go, in and out of school.
- Parents can play, too. Leading by example is best, after all, and even adults can use the principles of taekwondo in their lives.
- Self-confidence.It is well documented that martial arts build qualities that make good leaders. West Point notes that martial arts can change how a person views themselves make them self-confident and believe that they can achieve their goals. Your child will not always have a team around them, or you coaching from the sidelines. One day, they must go out into the world on their own. Learning taekwondo can give them a solid footing on which to build their adult lives.
- The Never-Ending Season. Many team sports, especially those primarily played outdoors, or in specific weather (think Soccer, Baseball, and even wrestling) are seasonal. In Martial Arts, we have classes year-round. This consistency and availability also helps build upon discipline and allows children to progress at a much quicker pace in the Martial Arts than in Team Sports.
- Non-Discriminatory. “Martial Art is a vehicle for developing your human potential.” -Joe Rogan Martial Arts are one of the few sports that truly does not discriminate. Anyone can practice the young, the old, tall, short, thin, heavy, all genders, all ethnicities– it doesn’t matter. There is something everyone can take away from it, even when different individual’s goals vary in their training. There’s much to appreciate from a sport that helps intermingle boys and girls of all ages, teaching them the importance of being able to have conversations with people outside of their grade. This teaches kids to know how to help other children who are a lower rank than them, greet new people politely & confidently, and how to carry on conversations with adults they aren’t related to. These are life skills often underdeveloped within the school system, as kids tend to be taught and facilitated to only correspond with their same-age peer group.
- An Art as Reality” Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.” -Bruce Lee The word “Taekwondo,” when translated, literally means: “the art of the hand and foot.” Martial arts were passed down from generation to generation. Often, people dismiss martial arts as coercing brutality or aggression, focusing on the physical practice, and not ever truly realizing the room left for the inner aspects of training. Everyone recognizes the “martial” side, which is the war-like definitive, and tend to view that strictness of the “martial” as an overshadow-er of the “art.” The “art” takes something rigid, and disciplined, and makes it also beautiful and creative, producing much room for self-expression and mental/emotional growth.
Remember, every Taekwondo class improved your life!
Martial Arts add years to life but life to years!