Join the Discussion
| "I learned
martial arts. What that did is gave me some much needed confidence
in myself. Either I was not that kind of kid, or I had a good
teacher, but for whatever reasons I have not become a violent
thug. I've rather become less violent. I know now that violence
doesn't show who's right. "
A wandering teacher once came across a school of young men who were quiet,
gentle, and studious, but lacked the strength to maintain their studies
for long periods--much less the ability to protect themselves against
bullies. These students, secluded in their school, were frail and sickly,
having focused on their studies to the exclusion of other activities.
The teacher began to teach them special exercises--a regimen that improved
the students' strength, ability to focus, and provided them tools for
This could have happened
yesterday, but it actually happened thousands of years ago. The teacher
was the Indian monk Bodhidharma--the school was the fabled Shaolin Temple
of China--and the exercises Bodhidharma taught the monks of Shaolin became
kung fu, the precursor to all Asian martial arts.
training has empowered the weak for thousands of years. The same training
that began in ancient times provides many benefits to modern life, especially
for kids and teens:
fitness: Martial arts training develops cardiovascular fitness as
well as muscular strength. Martial artists also enjoy a heightened sense
of balance, as well as learning specific skills to avoid injury (like
learning how to fall properly in judo)
The regimented environment of a martial arts school instills a deep
work ethic and sense of discipline in students.
Students progress at their own pace in martial arts schools. Rather
than suffering the embarrassment of being compared with kids who are
better at sports--like hitting a baseball, or shooting baskets--they
train with others at their same level (e.g. belt color).
Most martial arts schools develop an esprit de corps, a sense of brotherhood
(or sisterhood) surrounding the school, its instructors, and students.
for self and others: The structure of martial arts training is based
on mutual respect--students show respect to the instructor, to each
fellow student, even upon entering the school. In addition, martial
arts training promotes a healthy self-respect--now that your body is
capable of these amazing feats, why smoke, drink, or do drugs? You can't
because your martial arts progress will be hindered.
focus: Learning to execute the complex and foreign techniques of
martial arts requires extreme mental focus. Students often find this
focus is applicable to academic studies as well.
Parents and psychologists recommend martial arts for boosting a student's
self-esteem. Beginners often progress rapidly in a good school--able
to perform techniques that seemed superhuman in a few months. This accomplishment
and development ("Mom! I broke a board!") gives students pride
in themselves and their abilities.
Lastly, the martial arts provide skills for personal security. For kids
who are preyed upon by bullies, the ability to defend themselves allows
them peace of mind. In almost all cases, they never have to use their
martial arts techniques on someone. Their increased awareness and presence
Next page > Violence is Not the Answer
> Page 1, 2, 3,