Summer is here and as parents we are always looking for safe activities for our kids that are not only fun, but challenge and expand our kids' personal horizons. With 41 years of experience in organized athletics spanning youth, high school, collegiate and professional sports, I believe Martial Arts is such an activity. I have great respect for organized athletics; my father was a high school coach and I was so blessed to be able to compete and play in the NFL with our Atlanta Falcons for 6 seasons. With that said, based upon my life experiences, I think that Martial Arts absolutely does the best job of teaching young people the life skills necessary to be competitive and successful in life.
A top notch school will teach goal setting, teamwork and instill in your child a desire to be successful, persistent and resilient. These are life skills! These are skills of personal development that our children will carry with them throughout their lives. Learning these skills when you are a kid represents a huge competitive advantage that many people are not exposed to until much later in life.
Unlike 30 or 40 years ago when kids could not sit in front of a video game all day playing Pong (if you are old enough to know what Pong is, you know the graphics were not that great) today’s virtual world is very attractive and quite addictive to young people. It is important for proper development that young bodies move, exercise, build strength, and learn coordination skills. Lack of exercise combined with poor nutrition are huge issues that martial arts training can certainly improve.
As a career martial artist, I often hear people categorize martial arts as just fighting. Nothing, particularly in regard to traditional martial arts, could further from the truth. Yes, some schools and gyms are dedicated to mixed martial arts, a tough physical sport, that has gained quite a bit of notoriety. However, in my opinion, fighting and self-defense are only a small portion of what martial arts really represents, particularly with regards to kids.
A great program for kids will use the martial arts and the self-defense skills that it teaches to promote and build the personal self-esteem of each child, teach focus- "the ability to block out distractions” and self control - “using the mind to control the body.” The confidence that a young person develops from the knowledge that they can protect themselves promotes a positive self- image. This in turn means they have a greater respect for themselves and others and are far less likely to get themselves into negative situations. In addition, If things do go south, they are much more likely to handle themselves without having to use physical violence.
So if you are looking for an activity that will make sure your kids learn, remain physically fit, and develop life skills, consider checking out one of our summer programs or summer camps being offered throughout Cobb county and the Metropolitan Atlanta area. Find a school with a great reputation and get your child started. It could truly be a life changing experience.
Master Michael Reid
Owner of Reid’s Premier Martial Arts
Premier Martial Arts Marietta
2727 Canton Road #500 Marietta, Ga. 30066