Martial Arts Doesn’t Turn Children into Brainless Brawlers

children performing various martial arts movements and stancesParents can be quite finicky (and sometimes panicky) when it comes to the stuff with which their children get involved. Take, for instance, martial arts. The problem with several parents objecting to martial arts training for their children is that they sometimes believe it promotes aggression. As such, schools like still get bad rap despite noble intentions.

One can never really blame parents, however. Mainstream media portrays martial arts in a highly idealistic light — a lone fighter beating up a bunch of people. Naturally, parents might think that martial arts training can turn a child into a violence-seeking, mindless brawler – which is a very unfair judgment, one that needs correction.

It’s Called a ‘Discipline’ for a Reason

Mary Stevens, a tenured martial arts instructor, sums everything up with a simple thought. She believes that all children play with sticks and would inadvertently hit (and hurt) each other with them. But if the same children get martial arts training, they’ll play with the same sticks but without the risk of unwanted injury, both on themselves, and others.

So the short answer is no. Martial arts does not encourage mindless violence among children. It’s a wrong (and, daresay, dense) assumption of a craft that promotes the values of respect and discipline. This type of training begins and ends with a gesture of respect to the teachers — a quality that mindlessly aggressive people have trouble with. Students are taught to bow before and after sessions and not to do anything until an official command is given. Naturally, this points to focus, respect, and self-control, which are critical regarding building a positive character.

Empowerment and self-confidence are also among the lessons martial art students learn. For instance, bullied children have less fear of being taken advantage of. Martial arts training doesn’t only teach one how to defend oneself in a melee physically, but also to avoid confrontation as much as possible. Many disciplines instill the value of abstinence from danger. A practitioner may only ever apply it if there’s no choice but to do so. Real martial artists do not actively seek real conflict.

Children who carry the mental aspect of martial arts training in their daily lives grow up to be rational adults. Apparently, however, the benefits of training also begin and end with the teacher. This makes choosing the appropriate teacher and/or schools a very critical one.