This article was sent to us in an email. I (Master Forleo) am not the author of it but I am putting it here on our blog for your benefit.
1. It helps them make new friends.
The bond between martial artists is stronger than most other sports. Martial arts are physical, and they require physical confrontation. When confronted with someone of similar size, strength, and skill, students develop a sense of respect for one another. They realize they are capable, and so are others. Out of healthy respect for themselves and others, long-lasting and rewarding relationships develop.
2. They will learn better human relation skills.
During martial arts training, students need to learn the concept of physical space, how physical contact is both an invasion and invasive. The sport literally and figuratively breaks down barriers. Students will confront people of all types and abilities during martial arts training. This kind of exposure helps to prepare them for a dynamic and diverse social environment.
3. They learn new coping skills.
Your kids deal with a world unlike anything we’ve seen before. The pressures of a social network, expectations, and a world full of need and change are overwhelming for children with no experience to handle it.
Martial arts are an outlet. Their physicality trains physical fitness, which balances the body physiologically and emotionally. But it also emboldens kids with a warrior’s mentality of gratitude, humility, respect, and self-confidence.
The world is full of confrontation. We’ll teach your kids how to thrive with it.
4. They develop better focus and concentration.
Practicing martial arts requires patience and persistence. Not everyone is at the same level of skill, but kids need to know that they can change and grow. A body is the one thing that everyone has that they can always improve. When you show kids that they can get better when they focus on improving their strengths and weaknesses, you provide them with hope that their dreams are possible.
The rewards carry over into every aspect of their lives, like better studying and better behavior at school.
5. They develop better respect for authorities.
In martial arts, as in life, there is always a teacher and a student, and nothing can replace the value of mentorship. Martial arts, more so than other activities, emphasize discipline and respect for authority.
Kids need to learn that they’ll go far on their own, but they’ll go the furthest with the help of others. A teacher’s wisdom is the most valuable kind of guidance. A martial arts teacher sets a standard that helps kids relate better to other figures of authority in their lives, like teachers and parents.
Dedicated students...isn't that what we want?
Coming to class takes dedication.
I had a mom recently say, “We know you want dedicated students and we just don’t think he is dedicated, so we are not going to renew his membership.” I had a dad last year tell me the same thing.
I have to be honest with you; I really don’t care if your kid is all that dedicated. You and I know that he is going to change his mind the minute that class starts and he is going to love it just like he did yesterday. You and I both know that when they pass their next belt test they’re going to be super excited all over again. You and I both know that when they get their Black Belt, it will be worth every ounce of struggle you're having now. It’s simple, everyone, adults and kids, dread working hard, but no one regrets it afterwards. The pain of discipline weighs ounces, but the pain of regret weighs tons. The biggest benefits in our life come from the things we find the greatest challenge in.
WHat's Going ON?
At home he may whine and complain about coming to class because you are dragging him away from doing something fun or easier, like playing video games. Make sure he is doing some chores before class and the struggle will suddenly be much less. Look, we are not here to entertain your kid, that’s Chuck E Cheese. You enrolled your child here so we could help them accomplish certain goals that you had set for them, to solve certain problems or to help with a certain path. We can still help to accomplish those goals if he is here, but not if you don’t bring him.
Is he going to have fun once he’s here? Absolutely! Our instructors go through intense training on how to keep the kids having fun and how to disguise the repetition, but repetition is still required and even fun things are boring if you do them enough. Riding a roller coaster is fun, but doing so 1000 times in a row will get old sooner or later.
The real problem is that somewhere along the way he got the crazy idea that he has a choice about attending. Perhaps you gave him that impression? Then the problem isn’t him, it’s you. Does he get a choice about eating healthy? How about brushing his teeth? Can he choose to not study, or not to go to school? Can he pick his own bedtime?
When our kids were born we were immediately and automatically given the immense responsibility to be great role models, and to make the right decisions for them when they couldn’t or wouldn’t make the right one themselves. Many times we have to do so in spite of what our children think or say they want. You enrolled him with us because the training is and will be good for him. By all means, let him quit things that are just entertaining. But why in the world would you let him quit things that you know are beneficial for him - things that will affect his life and make him a better person?
Kids learn from what they see
Families that kick together, stick together.
His dedication is going to feed off of yours. There are parents who train in class as students, you’ve seen them. They are guaranteeing their child will make Black Belt. There are parents who watch class and support their child by being right there, on the sidelines, showing interest in their child's training. They have a great chance to see their child make Black Belt. Then there are parents who drop them off and go to do “who knows what.” They are pretty much guaranteeing their child will want to quit. If you complain about the drive, the cost, waiting for him in class, etc, he is going to want to please you and try to get you to let him quit. You spent all that time and money only to sabotage us, yourself and your child. We see it all the time.
I even overheard one teenage girl tell her dad, “Papa, it costs too much, I don’t want you to pay that much.”
Her dad, realizing what he had done, wisely replied, “Honey, I’ve got the money, it’s just a few dollars per week, and you are worth much, much more than that to me.”
Our kids want to please us. Give them the chance by supporting their growth and being strong when they can’t be or aren’t mature enough to be.
Yes, we love dedicated students, but the fact of the matter is that all students are going to run hot and cold at times in their training. Most Black Belts contemplated quitting at one point or another. Even I did when I was younger. So be dedicated for your child. They need your support. They need your encouragement.
I’ve never met an adult who was glad that their parents let them quit martial arts when they were kids.