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Why Kids Should Study Martial Arts
Part 11: Girls
 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

While the reasons for studying martial arts apply to all kids, there's special reasons why girls should learn martial arts.

Girls often don't have the same avenues as boys for developing self-confidence or exhibiting mastery. Boys are channeled into sports at young ages, finding spots on Little League baseball teams or pee wee football squads. Without similar sports opportunities, girls are left with just academic, social, and family settings to build assertiveness and self-esteem.

Martial arts techniques are often easier for young girls to learn than young boys--a girl's natural flexibility is an advantage over boys the same age. In some arts, upper-body strength, usually a male advantage, is not as important as lower-body strength, usually a female advantage. As a result, girls can enjoy a unique pride in their abilities--they can think, "if I can do as well as a boy in karate, I can do as well as a boy in math class."

Invented by...a Girl

Girls can take pride that some martial arts were even invented by female masters. The origin of pentjak silat, the national martial art of Indonesia, is due to a legendary peasant woman. The story is that the woman went to fetch water for her household, but stopped to watch a tiger fight a large bird, the animals both dying from their wounds. Her husband, angry at her for forgetting her chores, found her and tried to strike her, but she easily evaded his attack and struck back using the techniques she learned from the animals' battle. Eventually, she taught her husband and the art continued on throughout the centuries.

Another martial art, wing chun kung fu, is named after it's most renowned practitioner, a young girl who learned the art from a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui. Wing chun is perhaps best known as the first martial art of Bruce Lee--meaning, that the martial art first learned by Bruce Lee was invented--and passed along--by girls.

Assault and Rape Prevention

Lastly, girls need a particular focus on self-defense. Techniques and awareness learned through martial arts training can help girls avoid assaults before they occur and defend themselves if an assault takes place. With the seemingly prevalence of abductions in modern times, it makes sense for girls to learn at least basic self-defense and rape prevention techniques.

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