We all know that participating in exercise is great for our mental and physical health and wellbeing – but it can be hard to find a physical activity that suits children with learning or attention issues.
Team games often make them feel left out when they are not passed to or used in the game, or because they are deemed to lack the physical or social skills to participate. They may not have the coordination for dance or gymnastics, and these schools don’t teach it. They may have trouble following rules and be bullied and excluded.
Fortunately, many families with children in this situation discover Martial Arts, and the benefits of classes. Not only building muscle condition, but improving coordination, self-control, and attention. Martial Arts classes help children develop spatial awareness, blocking, kicking, punching, moving, and determination; using specific repetitive exercises to build connections between brain and body.
What Martial Arts Can Offer Kids with Learning and Attention Issues
The benefits of Martial Arts are pretty much uncountable – Whether physical, intellectual, emotional, or social, Martial Arts teaches it all. So, we at AKKA Martial Arts have put together our Top 9 benefits that you will see a child with learning and attention issues experience:
1. The Focus is on Their Own Journey
Martial Arts is a solo journey, supported by those around you. It’s a solo effort, in a social environment. You train with your friends without any of the pressure that comes with having to perform for a team. Your child will be included in all the drills and skill development, and progress at their own pace.
2. Every Goal Is Clear and Attainable
In Martial Arts, each goal is set in the form of a new coloured belt, from White to Black and beyond. The pace to achieve those goals is different for every student, but with set dates and a clear direction, it makes it easy to stay motivated.
3. Classes are Broken Down into Manageable Chunks
Whether it’s the class itself, or an individual drill, everything that is taught is broken down into steps which are built upon over the class, or over time as they progress through their belts. Repetition is disguised by switching up exercises or games that train the same thing in different ways.
4. Emphasis on Self-Control and Concentration
Attention is a core component of Martial Arts – kids must stay focussed to learn and perform. When a child’s focus drifts, instructors will call them back to the stance they are meant to be in, allowing them to reset and refocus on the drill at hand.
5. Martial Arts Helps Develop Coordination
The deliberate movements of Martial Arts help kids develop a better sense of where their body is in the space around them; which can be useful for kids who struggle with motor skills. It can also help kids develop the ‘mind over body’ mentality, which can be very valuable for kids with ADHD.
6. Martial Arts has Clear Structure, Rules, and Expectations
Instructors have clear rules, and constantly reinforce them. Outside of the classroom, instructors also work with parents to teach life skills like respect, integrity, patience (and much more) that have unlimited benefits both in and away from karate.
7. It is a Safe Outlet for Excess Energy
Martials Arts is a high energy sport, with every student consistently moving and training, it can allow kids to work out frustrations in a safe environment, that promotes self-control and only using karate as a last resort.
8. Class Culture is Accepting and Supportive
Respect is another of the core values of martial arts, and students are expected to show the highest regard for their instructor, peers, and the space they train in. Negativity is not tolerated in class, and students are encouraged to support each other.
9. Martial Arts is Just Plain AWESOME
Kids that have attention or learning difficulties can often feel socially outside the circle or left out of team events. But everyone knows that Martial Arts is cool. It’s hard not to feel epic when you’re wearing your Martial Arts Gi and breaking boards in half!
What to Look for In a Martial Arts Class
There are many different martial arts disciplines out there – some of them more suited to teaching kids than others, and again to teaching kids with attention or learning disciplines. Karate is often the best bet when it comes to developing kids (and adults alike). Some, like MMA are quite aggressive, and things like Kung Fu is often not fast paced enough to keep kids engaged. Karate offers everything we outlined above, and so much more. The style or discipline of Martial Arts that you choose for your child isn’t as important as the instructor’s approach to teaching.
For the best experience, look for classes that teach more than just physical skills, have a good instructor and leadership team, and has experience teaching kids with learning and attention issues. Karate is a great opportunity for your child to develop themselves physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially; all while experiencing success.
Before you decide, have a chat with our instructors at AKKA Martial Arts. Be honest about your child’s challenges and explain what you’re hoping they can get out of the classes. We would love to do everything we can to assist you and your child in achieving their goals.
You can call our academy at 0428 986 949
Or book a fortnight of trial classes for $20 at https://akkamartialarts.com.au/martial-arts-classes-perth/sign-up/
Find out more about the classes by clicking “Kids Karate Classes”