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Why Kids Should Study Martial Arts
Part 10: Calming and Stress Reduction
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Introduction
• Part 2: Physical Fitness
• Part 3: Personal Security
• Part 4: Learning Abilities
• Part 5: Goal Setting
• Part 6: Discipline
• Part 7: Camaraderie
• Part 8: Self-Esteem
• Part 9: Respect
• Part 10: Calming
• Part 11: Girls
• Part 12: Summary

The martial arts are very calming--a trait that may seem contradictory to those who just see the martial arts as violence. Most senior martial artists are the coolest, calmest characters around.

Work It Out

Martial arts classes, because of their intense workouts, allow students to release nervous energy until they are drained from the exertion. Working up a good sweat has always been a great way to diffuse anger. Adding punches and kicks, especially against a heavy bag or foam shield, is even better.

Shout It Out

Some martial arts use a ritual shout, known as a kiai in Japanese styles, or kihap in Korean styles, made at the moment of attack. While the shout is meant to improve one's focus and breathing when delivering a technique, or to startle and frighten an opponent, it also serves to release the student's tension and nervous energy.

Many martial arts include meditation as part of the curriculum. Meditation, or training the mind to achieve a calmer, empty state, allows martial artists to relax fully.

Experienced martial artists exhibit calmness outside of the training hall as well. This inner peace is due to several factors, but is probably a result of experiencing stressful situations when learning self-defense or sparring--and overcoming them. The confidence gained through mastery of martial arts techniques also lends itself to keeping calm in stressful situations.

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