MMA FOR KIDS
How Martial Arts Can Help Your Kids Do Better in Everything
by: Chris Lontok
Children face a lot of challenges we adults don’t necessarily understand. Young kids deal with pressure from home, school, and their friends; and they also have to deal with decisions they can only make. The dangers of their surroundings such as bullies, gangs, criminals, and strangers add to their everyday concerns and as parents and guardians, we need to make sure that they are equipped with the right mindset and physical wellness to overcome these obstacles.
One effective way of helping our children cope with the world is through martial arts. Martial Arts has been recognized by many communities as a way to give our kids the ability to face these day to day pressures. One of the more successful and nationally recognized programs is the KickStart program founded by Chuck Norris, actor and martial arts champion. The KickStart program was originally founded to combat drugs and gang recruiting, and is now being taught in over twenty five Houston, TX area schools and twelve Dallas, TX area schools.
Like the KickStart program, Evolution Martial Arts’ of Tampa and Carrollwood aim is also to help kids gain more discipline and self-confidence without any inclination towards violence. The studio offers numerous disciplines of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) such as Brazilian and Gracie Jiu Jitsu, karate, judo. Muay Thai or kick boxing, and wrestling.
So what is it about martial arts that is so influential on our kids? The main tenants of martial arts are discipline, honor, confidence, and perseverance. Each child is started in the program on a level playing field, and becoming more senior in the program ensures they respect the effort that got them to that level. Martial arts is comprised of a set of choreographed moves called “forms” that progressively build to the next level of difficulty. Each set of moves rely upon knowledge of the previously learned moves for execution. The knowledge of these moves is tested by senior belt members in the organization, and recognized through a colored belt system.
If a child with martial arts training is cornered by a bully or even worse, a predator, they have the tools necessary to escape the situation as quickly as possible. This is a reassuring fact to most parents; knowing their child can defend themselves help them feel more confident too. Fundamentally, children with martial arts training are no longer seen as victims, so the confrontations rarely happen in the first place.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) focuses on techniques that are easy to learn in a very short period of time. The techniques taught in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are also effective and have been tested on knowledgeable martial artists who are not cooperating. A small amount of simple but high percentage techniques makes the difference.
Judo is best known for its throwing techniques. Judo also involves considerable grappling on the ground utilizing specialized pins, control holds, arm locks, and Judo choking techniques. Judo emphasizes safety, and full physical activity for top conditioning. This MMA discipline is learned on special mats for comfort and safety.
On the other hand, karate deals with attacking techniques through evasive body movements and/or blocking, and counter attacks using kicks, punches and strikes. Joint locks, restraints and takedowns are also used, but to a lesser extent. As a method of keeping fit and healthy, it develops balance, co-ordination, aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. Karate could be a fun way to get kids in shape and keep them active during non school days.
Evolution Martial Arts also offers an After-school Pick-up Program that helps parents make sure their kids get to the studio safely right after school. Try them out and see the improvement on your kids.
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