11/15/2012 12:16 EST | Updated 01/15/2013 05:12 EST

Seven Skills Martial Arts Can Teach You


One of the most effective ways to tackle the problem of bullying is to build a strong foundation in the mind of a child by strengthening it with confidence through martial arts training.

Schools should have marital arts training as part of its curriculum so that children will have basic training to strengthen their minds and body and have confidence to stand up for themselves.

Our schools should take heed from Mr. Ed Samane, a business entrepreneur who has created an extensive program called ARMOR, which educates and equips kids to protect themselves against bullies and predators. With 13 franchise units open and 44 more in development, as indicated by Janean Chun, Samane hopes to empower kids throughout the United States.

Samane explains how bullies have stopped harassing him. "It stopped within six to 12 months of my starting martial arts classes. One time in the sixth grade, after taking karate, this bully came up to me and said something like "let's see what you know." It could have been a physical confrontation, but I stood up for myself, and he never bothered me again. I think the biggest weapon that a child has is self-esteem, and that's one of the biggest things martial arts does for youth."

Martial arts is the effective way for kids to develop self confidence and to be able to defend themselves against bullies. This is what Tess Zavenbergen has concluded also after being the victim of bullies herself.

"Well as a parent I decided to give my son the tools he needs to defend himself by enrolling him in martial arts," she stated. "He has been going for four and half months and I already see a dramatic shift in how he handles and carries himself. Martial arts are the best defense I can arm him with against future bullies."

Bullies are coward creatures who are like balloons filled with nothing but air. While the balloon looks humongous in size, it contains no substance of whatsoever and can loose its ground if it comes in contact with the smallest object.

Martial arts is certainly not the solution to all forms of bullies but it can certainly make the difference in the lives of many kids by building their personalities. It would be worthwhile even if it saves one soul in the long run.

It teaches discipline and confidence. No matter how tough you are and how much you excel in it, you will always know that there are others who are far better than you and this will make you know your limits and respect boundaries. You will learn to be humble for knowing that there are others who are stronger than you.

Children can learn a lot more than just how to do a good roundhouse kick at their local karate class, wrote Mike McLaughlin, a maritial artists who has taught martial arts to thousands of children in the Phoenix area.

"The physical lessons in martial arts are definitely important but the mental lessons learned in the dojo can benefit children in many areas of their lives including in the classroom," he added.

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Seven Skills Martial Arts Can Teach You

Focus -- Whether a child is punching a pad or breaking a board, he or she must have a tremendous amount of focus in karate class. When a child learns to focus energy on the task at hand in the dojo, this same focus can be applied to reading a book or completing a homework assignment.

Memorization -- Most karate organizations teach a series of forms called katas. These katas require students to remember specific techniques in a specific order. Many karate classes also require students to remember a series of self defense moves that they must perform. The memorization skills developed in martial arts can help children as they prepare for tests in school.

Discipline -- Karate classes tend to be very strict when it comes to behaviour. Most instructors will not tolerate excessive talking or goofing around in the dojo. Improved behaviour in karate class often translates into improved behaviour at school. Improved behaviour at school often translates into improved grades.

Goal setting -- There are many opportunities for goal setting at karate class. Most martial arts systems have a belt ranking system with white belt being the lowest rank and black belt being the highest. This ranking system encourages students to strive to reach the next level. This teaches children to work toward the achievement of a goal. A habit of goal setting often develops in martial arts students and they work toward other goals such as getting a high school diploma or a college degree.

Effort -- Karate dojos are a place where students are pushed to give 100 per cent on a consistent basis. Students are encouraged to kick a little higher or punch a little stronger at nearly every karate session. This encourages them to never accept less from themselves and it makes them realize their true potential. Karate teaches children that they can be far more than average and that they can achieve far better than average grades.

Confidence -- As karate students become stronger physically and they begin to realize they can handle themselves in dangerous situations, they become more confident individuals overall. A heightened sense of self confidence will likely benefit children throughout their lives.

Respect -- One of the most important words in martial arts is respect. Students are taught to respect their instructors, each other, and themselves. Many karate instructors spend time in class discussing the importance of respecting school teachers and parents. Respect is often missing in many facets of today's society and when children are taught lessons about respect it can have a major impact on the future of our world.