It’s hard to know where to start with this one. The benefits of martial arts or karate are huge, from health to confidence to, of course, self-defense. Let’s start with what we (myself and my wife) have noticed in kids whom we have had the pleasure to see from early grade school through high school graduations and beyond, as we’ve been teaching for over 30 years.
Many of these kids were leaders in their preteen years and examples of what teenagers should be during the extremely tough teenage years. Martial arts taught them to lead by example. They also stood up for those who needed them and were highly regarded by their teachers and their peers. They were not arrogant but confident, they were not mean but nice, polite, and respectful. These fantastic individuals were above and beyond any other teen. Their character was more developed than teens participating in sports or athletics because those other activities tend to lead to more arrogance and entitlement.
Now, as adults, these people are pursuing their dreams. They are not afraid to take risks, they are still leaders of those around them, and they still stand up for and help those who are in need. What was exemplified in their teens is perfected in adulthood. They make good decisions and are happy in what they are doing. They all look back on their training with fondness and excitement, and many still train with us. Others have moved away to pursue their life’s ambitions but still stay in touch.
Without martial arts in my life, I can’t even imagine what it would be like. My process for making decisions, how I approach things, interact with people—everything about me was shaped by my marital arts training. Just the knowledge that I can defend myself helps with confidence in any situation. Besides the mental aspect to training, the physical benefits are enormous and way too huge to quantify. I’m healthier, stronger, faster, more flexible; my coordination is great both asymmetrically and otherwise. Martial arts training tends to give practitioners a passion for health and fitness. They also tend to be healthier than they would be otherwise; I’ve seen this in me and in those I’ve trained.
Question: do you want these benefits that we have observed in ourselves and our students for you and/or your kids? Who wouldn’t? If you do, you must commit to it. This means committing to classes, to personal practice, and to longevity in the art. I’ve been teaching for over 30 years now, and these practices are normal for martial arts practitioners. I’ve also observed that the benefits of martial arts training are not normal for those kids who participate in sports. Sport activity is fleeting and most don’t or can’t continue after high school. Martial arts training is and can be a lifetime pursuit with benefits that cover all areas of health and fitness—mental and physical, confidence and ability. It is sad that others don’t see the value and benefit that training will give.
So, commit for you and/or your children today. Be at class every week, learn to live the martial arts lifestyle, and you and your family will be healthier and happier.