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10 Benefits of Martial Arts Training for Tweens & Teens

aikido benefits martial arts teens Nov 26, 2016
martial arts for teens

Healthy Outlet for Excess Energy

As teens grow into their bodies, they go through phases where their physical coordination suffers. Teens need activities that continue to develop their motor skills and overall strength and conditioning, while also developing their smaller muscles, support structures and fine motor skills. Teens – when they aren’t sleeping – have energy to burn, so they need an outlet to release all this energy. Their bodies need to be challenged physically, allowing them to grow, get stronger and develop coordination.

Confidence

Teens crave a sense of achievement and competence, which is driven by their need for attention and praise. By learning and being able to demonstrate techniques in front of their peers in class, teens develop confidence in their abilities to perform, which carries over into other areas of their lives.

Intellectual Challenge

Teens need to feel a sense of growth. Aikido training provides this through mentally challenging drills, techniques and training scenarios, which forces teens to focus, think and perform under pressure.

Responsibility

As teens learn self defense, they are taught techniques and principles that can be used to protect themselves in a conflict situation. Teens are taught that along with the power of being able to protect themselves comes the responsibility of knowing when, where, and how to use this knowledge. Teens are taught not only that they are responsible for their actions, but also that there is a responsibility that comes along with knowing martial arts that encourages them to help others who cannot protect themselves.

Goal Setting

Through the belt ranking system, teens are taught both short and long-term goal setting. They are taught how to decide what their goals are, set a deadline for achievement of that goal, make a plan to reach the goal by the deadline and how to check on progress to make any changes. They are also taught that once they achieve a goal to celebrate, enjoy the win and move on to the next goal, with the ultimate goal being achieving Jr. Shodan, the youth equivalent of adults’ Black Belt.

Self Discipline

Self defense training instills self discipline. Teens learn in a very structured environment that requires them to listen, focus and perform every single time they come to class. Through repetitious exposure to this environment, teens begin to become conditioned to structure, direction and being focused. When combined with the other aspects of training, teens start taking it upon themselves to do what is necessary to achieve what they want.

Sense Of Belonging

As teens mature, they look for a sense of belonging; an identity. One of the reasons we see teens being drawn to cliques, gangs or clubs is that they get a sense of belonging, a feeling that they are with people who understand them and can relate to them. A good martial arts school provides a positive social network and support group of like-minded people focused on health and personal development. This provides the feeling of belonging teens crave, while keeping them surrounded by positive influences.

Accountability

Along with responsibility, teens learn that they are accountable to their fellow martial artists and instructor for their behavior both in and out of the dojo (training hall). There are strict standards of conduct and a level of expectation for teens and there are consequences for their actions, both positive and negative.

Structured, Safe Haven For Growth

Teens hate being embarrassed, feeling out of place or feeling stupid because they made a mistake. A good martial arts program provides a safe, clean, supportive environment free of judgment so teens feel safe to make mistakes, learn and grow. Teens also need strict guidelines and boundaries to channel their newfound feelings of independence. The structured environment of a martial arts class provides the necessary boundaries while giving them freedom of expression.

Peaceful Resolution of Conflict

Rather than relying on a “block-and-counter-attack” format, like other martial arts, Aikido employs principles of positioning, timing, and deflection to arrive at a win-win outcome. Teens are encouraged to use these principles not only in the dojo, but also in non-physical conflict situations (like arguments and disagreements) at home and in school.

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