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Benefits of Yoshukai Karate for Children...

Recently on a visit back home, I met my one of my close friends at his son’s martial arts studio so I could drop in and see what young Ethan was up to. Ethan was one step away from getting his white sash in Poekoelan, an Indonesian martial art. He beamed with pride as we watched him do various forms and drills. Shortly after I left town, Ethan earned his white sash, upon which he got to join the big kids in the adjacent room. There the big kids practice more advanced forms, techniques, and even some sparring. He was thrilled.

 

Ethan’s always been a good kid, but from what I observed the martial arts gave him quite a healthy dose of self esteem and self respect - two of the many benefits one gains with participation in them. Whether your kid is too bossy, too shy, or perhaps just a little hyper, the martial arts can help your child learn many important life lessons. (And, of course, those same lessons apply for all of us, not just kids.)

 

Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Arts

 

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

martial arts for kids, kids martial arts, martial arts and childrenThis 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 itrelates 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. When I was practicing boxing or muay Thai kickboxing on a daily basis, I was in the best shape of my life by a long shot. Martial arts can help your child get fit and healthy.

 

Reason #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. In years of martial arts classes, I remember many challenges, breakthroughs, and setbacks. What I do not remember are distractions or gimmicks like you often see at your local health club. At the martial arts studios and boxing gyms where I trained, there was no loud music or flat screen TVs, just hard work and sweat equity. As a martial artist, your child will learn what it is to be still, challenged, and focused.

 

Reason #3: They’ll Learn to Take Hits

martial arts for kids, kids martial arts, martial arts and childrenIn 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 hitsThe 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. Half of martial arts is hitting, but half is also getting hit.

 

When people hire me to teach them boxing, they can’t wait to lace up the gloves and start hitting things. Seldom does someone mention how enjoyable it is when I tap him or her upside the head with a focus mitt for dropping their hands.

 

The first time I got struck in the head sparring in kung fu, I immediately rushed to the mirror to see if there was a mark on my face. The students in class laughed about it for months. While I didn’t find it too funny at the time, I came to learn that accepting I would get hit enabled me to relax and better protect myself. That acceptance led me to be able to better respond, maneuver, and anticipate. Ironically, learning how to take a hit is perhaps the best way for your kid to learn how to avoid it.

 

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

martial arts for kids, kids martial arts, martial arts and childrenAs noted in talking about my friend’s son Ethan, I was able to witness firsthand the confidence he gained by participating in the martial arts. Being able to advance and play with the big kids gave Ethan a tremendous amount of confidence.

 

Of course, playing with the big kids also gives all of us a little reminder of humility - someone is always bigger and stronger. I remember Sifu gently threatening the two young boys in our kung fu class that if they ever used their kung fu training in the wrong way or to show off he would have their hide.

 

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.

 

Reason #5: They’ll Connect Their Mind and Body

What they don’t teach you at your local health club is how to really listen to your body. To listen to your body is to also see your thoughts and have heightened awareness of your emotional construct.

 

A martial artist is taught to see, feel, and listen - both internally and externally. Tapping into intuition, fear, and courage are examples of being able to put the physical together with the mental. How often have we heard the phrase “being paralyzed with fear”? Being able to combat such a thing is what you learn in the martial arts.

 

Reason #6: They’ll Learn Conflict Resolution

People often ask me whether I have ever used my martial arts and boxing training in a fight. Indeed I have used the skills learned from martial arts many times to resolve conflict, but thankfully, never in a physical altercation outside the ring.

 

One of the first lessons Sifu taught us in kung fu was that words were never grounds for a fight. That advice right there has saved me many times. In the martial arts, you learn that there is no such thing as “fighting” words. Instead, you learn to respond without reacting in the martial arts.

 

Reason #7: They’ll Learn to Breathe

martial arts for kids, kids martial arts, martial arts and childrenOf the many things I have learned in the martial arts and boxing, breathing is near the top. Back in my kung fu days, Sifu told me that he could tell how someone fights just by observing how he or she breathes.

 

Indeed, nothing is more essential to the success of how we move our body than tapping into the life force of our essence - our breath. Ask a professional athlete, or an actor, dancer, or signer, and they will tell you that to succeed in any physical craft is to access your breath correctly.

 

I am shocked at times working with adults who never learned to breathe properly when under physical exertion. This skill can literally save your life. In the martial arts your kid will learn the essence of how to breathe and even relax under pressure.

 

The Take Home - How to Proceed

The bottom line is that almost any child can and will benefit from participation in the martial arts. As to what martial art, it’s honestly not very important. For a typical six or eight year old the point is to just get them moving and focused. The key in choosing a teacher or school is to do your due diligence when it comes to evaluating the integrity of the program. As a starting place, I would choose a prospective instructor or coach who talks more about the needs of your child than his or her program.


  1. Fostering Self-Discipline – One of the central tenets of all forms of the martial arts is an absolute focus on self-discipline. Today’s kids are so accustomed to receiving instant gratification that lessons in self-restraint and discipline aren’t always easy to come by. Kids with a martial arts background, however, are continually reminded of how essential self-discipline is.
  2. Boosting Socialization Skills – Kids who don’t always thrive in highly social environments may find it easier to get to know people and make new friends when they’re in a room filled with peers who share a common interest. The kids on the playground may not always have much common ground, but devotees to the martial arts are able to get to know one another through shared pursuits. Partner-driven forms like jiu jitsu can also foster camaraderie, as they force kids to pair off and build their skills together.
  3. Encouraging Physical Activity – Limiting screen time is a great idea when it comes to getting kids off the couch and encouraging them to be more active, but it only goes so far. Enrolling an inactive child in such a physically demanding pastime not only discourages the sedentary lifestyle she’s used to, but also gives her an enjoyable activity that inspires her to keep moving.
  4. Learning to Set and Achieve Goals – Most forms of martial arts are based around an accomplishment system of colored belts that signify the wearer’s degree of skill. When your child strives toward each new belt, he’s learning valuable lessons about setting and reaching his goals.
  5. Increased Self-Esteem – Confidence comes with achievement, so your child’s self-esteem level will get a boost with every new move he masters and every belt he earns. Kids who struggle with a low sense of self-worth usually become more confident as time progresses while they’re enrolled in a martial arts class.
  6. Instilling a Sense of Respect – Learning any martial arts style will require your child to show her instructor unflinching respect. Today’s kid culture doesn’t always include respect for authority, adults or those in advanced positions. When she goes to her karate or tae kwon do class, though, your child will be learning lessons in respect along with new moves.
  7. Encouraging Non-Violent Conflict Resolution – Thinking that martial arts instruction promotes violent behavior is justified if your only experience with the activity comes from television or movies. In fact, many defensive styles teach kids peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution skills and emphasize the importance of avoiding a physical altercation.
  8. Improving Listening Skills – In order to master the skills she’s being taught and advance through the belt ranks, your child will have to exercise superior listening skills. Kids who aren’t always adept when it comes to paying attention to what they’re told can benefit from the verbal instruction and one-on-one work in her dojo.
  9. Developing Teamwork Skills – Whether he’s breaking boards to get a new belt or sparring in a practice setting to master a new maneuver, there are few things that your child does in his martial arts classes that will be done on his own. Working together to learn new things and accomplish goals is an important life lesson for kids to learn, and instruction in the martial arts can help your child learn that lesson.
  10. Improvement in Other Areas of Life – The benefits of martial arts training don’t end in the dojo. The boost in confidence, increased fitness level and new cooperation skills will also help your child navigate the academic and social aspects of school, affect his behavior at home and have an all-around good influence on him as he develops into an adult.
  • Self-Defense – The instructors at The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts have trained for many years to make sure everything we teach is reality based. We’ve trained under some of the best martial artists in the world and are dedicated to staying on the cutting-edge of REALISTIC martial arts training – for ourselves and for your children! With that said… Your child may still be in the developmental stage of their life and will focus only on the basics of our Martial Arts Curriculum. Basic Techniques include: Proper exercise form, punching, kicking, blocking and evasion techniques.
  • Focusing and Listening – At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, we know Focus plays a key role in the mindset of children who have limited attention spans at this stage in their life. Our Program will build their attention span… teaching your child to focus on the task at hand while improving their listening and reaction skills at the same time. As a result, your child will excel in physical activity, improve their ability to stay focused, and become an astute listener in the dojo, at home, and in school.
  • Teamwork and Positive Social Interaction – Teamwork is necessary for any young child to develop. It is at this stage in their life that they develop an understanding and a confidence in their ability to work with others. At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, our activity based curriculum and teamwork oriented environment, develops character and teaches your child that the more we work together in the dojo, at home and at school…the more we get accomplished.
  • Self-Control and Good Decision Making – Self-control refers to the training that one gives one’s self to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even though one is unfocused or would rather be doing something else. For example, when your child has learned to listen to mom and dad, pay attention in class while listening to the teacher instead of talking to his friend next to him, he has demonstrated the ability to self-control… while making the good decision to do so. At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, as both parents and instructors, We work on this skill set every single day.
  • Balance and Posture – For many 3-6 year olds, one of the skillsets that is often overlooked, but needs constant work and attention is balance and posture… basic skills necessary for almost any activity. Poor posture leads to cramped organs, improper breathing, and a whole host of other unhealthy bodily expressions. At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, Our Little Dragons Program helps to build strong balance, healthy postures and balanced movement through the use of age appropriate forms and drills – often presented as a engaging game, to help developing students improve these fundamental skills.
  • Memorization and Retention – At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, we utilize fun and effective memory and retention drills for both Martial Arts and real world applications. Aside from Martial Arts etiquette, skill-based and technique driven retention, our memorization requirements include parents home and cell numbers, emergency contact numbers and residential address retention. You’ll find in many cases, our students are pre-prepared and learn these life skills prior to being introduced to them at their school. Our program improves memorization skills essential for well rounded student development and school academics in the near future.
  • Self-Discipline and Responsibility – Our instructors are masters at creating a vision for your child that self-discipline is fun and rewarding. We instill this vision through interactive and teamwork oriented games, drills and real world activities. Our age specific Martial Arts training techniques are used in correlation with a child’s household chore responsibility, their awareness to clean up after themselves and homework assignments accomplished in a timely manner. At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, your child will begin to improve their ability to initiate accountability, follow directions and take pride in doing the right thing.
  • Physical Fitness and Healthy Living – It is important for children to understand the importance of being healthy and physically fit at an early age. Being physically fit is a necessity for any martial artist but more importantly… The sooner we enforce this concept, the healthier your child will be now… and the less difficult it will be to stay physically fit as they grow older. At the Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, we stress the importance of good eating while physical fitness activities are always fun and rewarding.
  • Coordination and Motor Skills – Children with strong bodies, fine tuned motor skills and physical coordination developed through Our Little Dragons Program will have improved: general health, sports performance, as well as other physical activities such as dancing or bike riding. Our Coordination and Motor Skills Training will develop your child’s cardiovascular system, their muscular strength, and will create a general kind of body awareness which can only be gained from a whole body method of Martial Arts training. At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, Your child will be more coordinated, less susceptible to injuries, and be much more aware of their body and how to use it correctly.
  • Self-Esteem and Confidence Building – Our Youth Program improves a children’s self esteem through consistent positive verbal reinforcement and our Life Skill Stripe reward system. When kids work to earn their next belt level, not only are they learning basic world-class self-defense, they are building self-esteem and learning to feel good about themselves. Plus, unlike most other martial arts programs, our Martial Arts Programs have no fees for testing or advancement. We believe a student must earn their next level, not pay for it!
  • Stranger Awareness and Personal Safety – At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, we talk with our Little Dragons about home safety, traffic, fire safety, anti-drug, dangerous substances and strangers in an age-appropriate way. We can’t expect a three-year old to understand the subtleties of stranger awareness, but at this particular age, it is enough to teach them to stay by a parents side when out… and not to wander off. As your child gets older they will learn the difference between meeting someone new when Mom or Dad is present, and being approached by a stranger when they are alone.
  • Self-Confidence – Nothing can take the place of the security in knowing that your child can defend themselves should the need ever arise…and your own child’s self confidence in knowing this themselves is immense.

    “People who continue to practice the martial arts for prolonged periods are different from the general populace in these ways: they have a lower level of anxiety; an increased sense of responsibility; they are less likely to be radical; they have an increased level of self-esteem; and they are more socially intelligent.” (Source – Psychology Today, May 1985.)

  • Respect – One of the most important words in martial arts is respect. Students are taught to respect their instructors, each other, and themselves. Our instructors spend time in class discussing the importance of respecting school teachers and parents. Respect is often missing in many facets of today’s society. This is what separates The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts Youth Program from other sports. A child’s social behavior should be directly linked to his or her progression in the martial arts class. It’s not just about winning, Our Youth Program is about personal growth and becoming a better person.
  • Discipline, Behavior and School – We have alot of fun at the Northshore Academy of Martial Arts but instructors will not tolerate excessive talking or goofing around in the school. Improved behavior in a Martial arts class often translates into improved behavior at school. Improved behavior at school often translates into improved grades. We require behavior reports from the parents to make sure that the student is focused in the classroom and at home… Not just the dojo. We want to make sure that our students are working on their Martial Arts technique, improving their behavior at home, as well as improving their grades at school. We teach a very effective form of self defense and want to make sure that the right kids are learning it.
  • Great Physical Fitness while Battling Childhood Obesity – Did you know that childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 25 years? The first step to preventing childhood obesity is addressing the problem before it occurs. If you catch obesity early on, there are ways to prevent your child from developing further health risks. If your child is already overweight, it is important to understand the psychological effects obesity has on children that are potentially more damaging than the physical side effects.

    The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts is dedicated to empowering your child with self-confidence while rewarding them with achievement. For children with low self-esteem issues, martial arts teaches confidence and self-discipline while providing engaging physical activity. The stamina and endurance children develop during Martial Arts training in our youth program, results in natural weight loss and an improvement in overall physical and mental health.

  • Anti-Bullying Education – Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Kids who bully use their power – such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity – to control or harm others. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally and purposely excluding someone from a group. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may experience serious, lasting problems.

    Our anti-bullying approach is based on the NSA martial arts principles of redirection and straightforward assertiveness. Students are taught to manage situations without the use of violence, learning ways to assess threats, redirect verbal assaults and mobilize the audience, which is a critical factor in empowering the bully.

  • Personal Attention – At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, We know the impact a good instructor can have on a student. Our Rank Certified Instructors are experienced, patient, enthusiastic, and teach with a perfect blend of discipline and fun. With up to 5 Instructors on the floor during any given class, every student receives the personal attention they deserve.
  • Social Skills and Friendship – Making friends is an important part of childhood. At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, we provide the positive atmosphere and family oriented activities necessary to help young children make new friends, while teaching them the concepts of sharing, compassion, and conflict resolution
  • Free NSA Photography Website – As part of the Northshore Academy of Martial Arts Youth Program, students and parents will have access to our Free and dedicated Photography website. Right now this website houses thousands of photographs of NSA Students including NSA Student Events, Seminars and Social Activities. We love the NSA Historical aspect of this website, while Parents love the ability to download and print Hi-Resolution photographs of their child’s activities for Free.
  • Video Based Training – As part of the Northshore Academy of Martial Arts Youth Program, students will have access to our exclusive, state of the art, Video Based Online Training Website. This is not a replacement of our on-site Core Curriculum Training program, rather, It is an enhancement to it.

    Students will have Martial Arts belt advancement requirements to fulfill and training at home will be essential. What better way to practice their kata, drills and Martial Art techniques at home, then by watching our instructors perform them. Students will enjoy practicing and preparing for belt advancement while they watch, mimic and learn through our video based learning system.

  • Smile, Laugh and Having Fun – We learned a long time ago that kids learn faster when they are having fun. Keeping children interested in their Martial Arts training requires an element of fun and games. Traditionalists are usually only concerned with the discipline and structure of their training, but incorporating fun involving proper techniques will add to the value of training and keep the kids hungry to improve themselves even more.

    In addition to our regular classes we host numerous events for our students including picnics, bowling, open house, holiday and children’s birthday parties. At The Northshore Academy of Martial Arts, our youth have a great time meeting new friends while developing character and learning life-changing martial arts skills. Our Parents have fun with a staff and organization they can trust.