As you know, a lot of children are too busy playing video games and don’t get any exercise nowadays. Here at UMAA, we teach children the Shaolin 5-Animal Style of martial art. It is appropriate to any sized person. If the opponent is larger and comes straight at you, like the tiger, you must be the crane, the snake and the leopard to defeat him! It’s mentally stimulating as well as great exercise.
Over the thirty years I’ve been teaching this, I’ve noticed how well my students do at all sports. Coordination, balance, and confidence go a long way in any sport! And in life too!
Hi, my name is Bill Mailman. In the 37 years I have been doing the martial arts, I’ve noticed some similarities among students. Many kids have ADD or ADHD. Funny, we used to call it “boys being boys”. You know the symptoms, can’t sit still, and can’t seem to focus!
Because it is necessary to focus on the material needed for each rank, children learn to concentrate on one or two things at a time until the lesson is learned. Step by step they crawl up the ladder towards black belt. Soon, parents and teachers are impressed by the child’s new power of concentration!
Speaking of crawling up the ladder, this sort of goal driven behavior is excellent for the child and it carries over into their schooling and into their lives as well. Most of my students do well at school showing the stick-to-it-ness and concentration they learned at the dojo. A recent study showed that 63% of black belts become college graduates!
What about the dangers? Will my child get hurt? Will he become a bully? Will he be bullied? The answers are no, no, and no. While I can’t absolutely guarantee that your child won’t be hurt, after all, martial arts are a contact sport, I have never had a child become injured more than the occasional sprained ankle or black and blue from shin contact. We take safety very seriously here and go to great lengths to prevent injury, both thru cautionary instructions and close supervision. A lot of preventing injury is putting the right child with the right child for sparring!
As for being bullied, it turns out that bullies mostly pick on the under confident. When your child becomes more able to defend him or herself, they will exude an air of confidence that scares bullies off! I have had many students tell me that when they stood-up to the bully, the bully backed off and, in fact, tried to befriend them! If you can’t beat them, join them!
What about weight loss? Martial arts is such a varied set of exercises. Your child will be active and doing such a wide variety of techniques, no part escapes attention. I remember I went skiing one time after not having skied for years. I said to myself- probably should only get a half day ticket, but was in great shape from the martial arts I do every day, and went ahead with the full-day ticket. Not only did I ski for the full day, but I wasn’t overly tired or sore from the day’s activity! That’s when I realized what an all around exercise the martial arts are.
All of my students do well at any other sport they pursue. Tell me what sport wouldn’t benefit from increased balance, coordination, and self-confidence? Not to mention a leaner, more fit musculature?
What about becoming a bully? Will my child become violent and aggressive? On the contrary, hitting the bag and punching and kicking at each other gets the aggression out in a safe way! There is an overall relaxation that occurs when you’re not afraid anymore! I have never had a student become a bully!
Are martial arts for girls too? Of course they are! We have roughly half girls here at UMAA. Who needs self-defense more, boys or girls? Well they both do, but in later years, it’s girls who will need it most! In my time, I have found the girls to be as tough as the boys and equally adept at martial arts. The forms are like dances except that they teach you martial skills! Girls and boys both love them!
Another great aspect of martial arts is that you go at your own rate. Unlike team sports where there is a lot of pressure to stay up with the group, martial arts is an individual pursuit, you are the only one pressuring yourself! Go slowly or go quickly, it’s up to you!
Usually you have to force your kids to get ready for appointments, but with the arts, often the child will be the one trying to hurry the parent so as not to be late! And why? Because it’s fun! Kids enjoy it and don’t want to miss a lesson!