The Benefits of Aikido for Kids
Children need guidance to develop into healthy young adults. While there’s no replacement for education and proper parenting, extracurricular activities also play a major role in socialization. For instance, sports teams, music classes, and martial arts groups promote cooperation in many ways. As they enter adolescence, kids begin to view their peers as role models and tend to imitate their behavior. It’s important that those peers exhibit traits worth emulating. This makes aikido one of the best martial arts for kids to practice as they grow up.
1. Build Character
Martial arts like aikido emphasize discipline and self-restraint. These are rare traits in today’s environment of instant gratification. Like any worthwhile skill, aikido takes patience and consistent practice to master. It involves no shortage of trial and error, encouraging both humility and confidence as one works through difficult challenges. Children develop integrity and strength of character as a result of this meaningful progression over time. In fact, research suggests that kids who astruggle with identity or self-worth benefit from participation in similar extracurricular activities. This is critical as children and adolescents continue interacting with friends, family, and authority figures throughout their lives.
2. Mutual Respect
Dojos are supportive environments, first and foremost. These spaces hold the safety of oneself and others in the highest regard. It’s important to establish ground rules early to minimize conflict between all participants. We expect that students will respect their dojo, their peers, and their instructor from the very first class. This presents an opportunity for the genuine mutual appreciation of others to flourish. Emotions are kept under control at all times and outbursts are strongly discouraged. We like to tell our students, “Don’t scare sensei.” This sensible attitude translates well to relationships with others as children expand their social horizons.
3. Social Skills
Common goals bring people together from all walks of life. Such communities provide a sense of belonging that promotes social development, especially for kids and teens. Aikido requires students to work in harmony with each other as they pursue shared aims. This provides many chances to hone one’s communication skills alongside peers in a disciplined and compassionate manner. Positive social groups have even shown to help youth avoid negative choices associated with school suspension and violent crime. Socialization is such a key component of childhood development that its lack often leads to long-term negative outcomes. These consequences are detrimental, not only for the individual, but for the community as a whole. Group activities like aikido which promote positive social interactions build a solid foundation for lifelong success and well-being.
4. Raise Awareness
Our fast-paced, digital world is full of various distractions. If left unchecked, these can have a severe impact on developing minds and bodies. The association between childhood attention, problem solving, and academic success has been studied extensively. Some data indicates that the relationship between attention and academic outcomes is especially strong in early childhood. Because martial arts are both a physical and mental practice, students generally become more aware of themselves and others. Such improved focus has broad implications for one’s performance, relationships, and overall quality of life. This extends far beyond the gym or classroom, influencing personal and professional growth for years to come.
5. Goal-Oriented Growth
It’s been said that nothing worth having comes easily. This can be a difficult lesson for children to learn early without facing considerable adversity. One major benefit of aikido is its clearly structured system of progression. Martial artists who apply themselves over time will feel real progress toward an achievable goal. For example, it takes a great deal of effort and persistence to achieve a new rank in aikido. Children who strive to reach this goal are learning to appreciate hard work throughout the process. Goal setting has been studied for decades as it relates to personal agency, motivation, and autonomy. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of these traits as one grows into adulthood.
Setting kids up for success is a top priority for us. We do our best to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students, regardless of age or skill level. Aikido teaches many practical skills that will continue to serve children for the rest of their lives. We encourage parents in Lincoln to contact us to enroll your child in a free trial youth class today.
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4215 South 33rd Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68506
Tuesday- 5:30 p.m - 8:30 p.m.
Thursday- 5:30 p.m - 8:30 p.m.
Saturday- 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
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