7 Benefits of Practicing a Martial Art


“The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.”

- Bruce Lee

#1: They (and You) Will Get More Active

This is the obvious reason kids should do martial arts in this day and age - to get active and moving. In case you haven’t noticed, we have an epidemic when it comes to our nation’s obesity problem. We’re also increasingly unfit in addition to being overweight. The problem is particularly alarming as it relates to our kids. Youth sports and physical education programs are great, but not every kid is an athlete and many schools no longer offer PE. The martial arts offer many benefits, but when it comes to fitness, becoming a true martial artist means becoming a supremely fit person. Martial arts can help your child get fit and healthy.

#2: They’ll Learn to Find Focus and Stillness

Of the many challenges that parents face today, one is that we are constantly plugged in. While there are a great many benefits to the Internet, there are many more benefits in stillness and silence. Unfortunately stillness and silence seem to be rare to find. At some juncture in life, every one of us comes to learn that the greatest obstacle we face in this lifetime is ourselves. That battle is fought in the stillness of our hearts and the willingness to confront ourselves. As Bruce Lee pointed out, behind the punches, kicks, and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. As a martial artist, your child will learn what it is to be still, challenged, and focused.

#3: They’ll Learn to Take Hits

In the martial arts, your child will learn what it is to take a hit, whether that hit is a literal blow or a disappointment like failing a test.

Part of life is learning that we all take hits. The key is in learning how best to take that hit and get back up. Unfortunately, this lesson seems to be lost on many in our every-kid-gets-a-trophy culture. In the martial arts, your kid will learn to fail - a lot. But most importantly, they will learn that if you fail it is the first step to learning.

Personally, I want my girls to fail or lose at competition. Why? Because they learn that next time they need to prepare and try harder. I won’t always be there to protect them, so I do my best to prepare them not to let disappointment or failure defeat them.

#4: They’ll Gain Self Confidence and Self Respect

Part of being a martial artist is learning confidence and respect for yourself and others. Sometimes the other students are bigger or smaller that you. Playing with the big kids also gives all of us a little reminder of humility - someone is always bigger and stronger. If you’re the smaller one, it teaches you to find your voice and not cower just because someone is bigger than you.

The right martial arts school will teach your child that there are no tough guys. Every martial artist ultimately learns this sense of respect and true confidence. Your child will learn that confidence and respect for others comes from a deep sense of self-knowledge.