Over the past decade or so, there has been a steady incline in the number of children in the United States that participate in martial arts programs. What once was less understood than traditional sports like baseball, soccer, and basketball, martial arts are now more mainstream and provides an alternative to other sports programs for children.
More and more kids preschool age (between three and five years old) are beginning to participate in martial arts as well, and this is where a lot of the future growth is expected to come from. There will also be exponentially older children that will begin to participate in martial arts- even if they did not previously participate in a traditional sport.
The shift from Traditional Sports to Martial Arts Programs
Why the shift from traditional sports to martial arts for children? Parents have found that along with the physical benefits and improved motor skills derived from martial arts, children are also learning how to build character, develop self-confidence, and learn how to set goals and work with others.
While you can also experience many of these benefits with traditional sports as well, parents decided that martial arts were a better choice for their children because less emphasis was placed on winning and losing.
There are no limitations or classifications when it comes to winning and losing in martial arts, and children are beginning to understand that being a “winner” is not a defining characteristic of who they are or who they could grow up to be.
Take Away the ‘You Must Win’ Mentality
With traditional sports in today’s society, this emphasis on winning is taking away from what youth sports programs used to be. Success is often driven by how many wins the child can get. However, with martial arts, the success is more related to the development of the child’s character and the lessons they are learning and the fun they are having with their peers.
Martial arts do not pressure children to win and do not require them to be fiercely competitive like in youth sports. The winning matters most mentality that many parents used to instill into their children is now shifting to a healthier and more rewarding experience.
Each child receives the same treatment, and the same praise and adoration in martial arts and the children are having more fun without all the stress and anxiety that comes along with always trying to win.
Simply put, there are no winners or losers when it comes to martial arts. The focus is on the child and finding ways to help them become the best people they can be. Martial arts are a program for children that can help build their character and self-confidence.
It is also valuable when it comes to teaching discipline and learning how to set achievable and realistic goals. With some positive encouragement, motivation, and support and respect, martial arts are fast becoming the choice many parents prefer over traditional youth sports, and now you can understand why.