By Michael Reid, 7th Degree Senior Master & Owner/Founder Of Reid’s Premier Martial Arts
Jul 27, 2017

As a former NFL player and coach’s son, playing three sports in high school, being blessed to attend school on an athletic scholarship and also having a 6 year career with our Atlanta Falcons, I am often asked "What is the best activity for kids that will get them in shape and also teach them life skills”. To the surprise of many, I do not say football or basketball. I absolutely loved the athletic challenges of both sports and can say that my athletic experiences, in addition to being a Scout and participating in numerous other activities, taught me real life lessons that I utilize to this day. 

FOOTBALL AND HEAD INJURIES

Let’s address the Albatross in the room concerning football and head injuries. I cannot say that I would not play if I had the information that I have right now. The truth is that we did not know and it is difficult to say if I would or would not play. I have been around football and football culture since I was 3 years old. My son, who is 22, played in high school and frankly, I love the game.

However, as an adult concerned about my future grandchildren and recognizing the undeniable link and correlation between playing football and CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), I will steer my future grandchildren toward other sports, academic interests and activities that do not take such a physical toll on the body and do not put the BRAIN, our most important and vital organ for a productive life, at risk. 

MARTIAL ARTS AS THE BEST ACTIVITY FOR KIDS

My answer regarding the best all-around activity for kids is martial arts. Martial arts is the one activity I know that provides a foundation of habits and life principles regardless of how long a child trains. If taught correctly, martial arts provides good habits such as goal setting, respect, self-control, integrity, self-discipline, compassion, teamwork and fairness. These habits will be guiding principles for your child throughout their entire life. 

Being in better physical condition, being up for mental and physical challenges, knowing that they can protect themselves and that it is better to use common sense to solve problems than physical violence are all things that will help your child compete successfully in the real world after they leave home. We have to keep in mind that kids are kids and that they are going through the developmental stages of their life. Martial arts help their brains to develop. The katas, forms, punching combinations, drills, etc. stimulate the brain and, in my opinion, help it to function better and organize and process larger amounts of information. 

In today’s world, our kids are oversaturated and overstimulated with electronics. Video games, cell phones and tablets occupy quite a bit of their time. It's not like when I was a kid. The primary video game was “Pong” and you could only play so many hours before you put it down and went outside to play. Kids today are truly in a virtual world. The realism of these games is quite impressive and the programmers are writing code that is designed to stimulate our kids to never want to stop playing. In addition, many schools are reducing or eliminating PE. To develop properly, kids need exercise and martial arts, by traditional design, have always included physical training to sharpen the mind and strengthen the body. The goal of martial arts is to create a highly connected, highly functional, situationally aware practitioner who can function well in numerous environments and operate successfully in both calm and stressful environments.

s a parent, these are certainly attributes that I desired for my own kids. As a teacher, they are the types of things that bring me great satisfaction, instilling in the young eager minds that I see each day. It is a blessing and truly my privilege over the last 25 years to be able to share and teach children life skills. I know that it is working when students who were once kids come back as teenagers and tell me how they use the skills that they learned in the studio in their lives today. 

 

Michael Reid
7th Degree Senior Master & Owner/Founder Of Reid’s Premier Martial Arts

Reid’s Premier Martial Arts is located at 2727 Canton Road in Marietta, Ga. 30066. You can reach us on the web at www.pmamarietta.com, our phone number is (770) 422-9250 and our email is Marietta@ReidPremierMartialArts.com.  We would love the opportunity to work with your family. If you cannot get to us, there are many good schools and I encourage you to reach out to one and get your kids training! 

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