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Why you need to get your child training martial arts.

My opinion on children training martial arts has changed over the years.

Originally, I always said I would never force my son to train martial arts, he started to train with me from around five years old and i loved to just have the opportunity to spend so much more time alongside him whist i coached him.

I never forced him to train, and he’s never showed any reason to make me think he doesn’t like to do it or ever said he didn’t want to go and I always said, if he didn’t want to train I wouldn’t make him, with the one caveat that he has to replace that time training with something else.

It can’t be replaced by iPad time or time on the PlayStation.

It must be time spent acquiring skill in something.

Learning something. A sport. An instrument or something you could consider productive.

I didn’t want nor need to be that father who lives vicariously through his child.

I have achieved plenty in my life that i am proud of, especially through my martial arts mastery and the last thing I feel I need is forcing my son to go and compete and fight in martial arts because I couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. Being a fighter is an extremely difficult life. The extreme discipline required to compete at even an amateur level is extremely high and consuming.

But therein lay my dilemma.

The discipline is the key.

The hardship is the lesson.

The getting up every time the teacher.

My opinion had been the same for a while, then as i was coaching adults, the same thing kept popping up. The same comment, that changed my view.

I would be coaching twenty somethings, thirty somethings, training with me to get fit and develop their mindset as well as bodies, and the same comment would always pop up.

“I used to train when i was younger, I was pretty good too”

Weird how we all get better the older we get isn’t it.

“But I stopped because i started going out/friends/bored/etc replace with many different reasons”

‘I wish my parents made me keep going, but I think they were grateful to not have to take me as well”

“If I would have kept training, I would be really good now, maybe I would’ve competed, maybe I would have…..”

And I listened to these reasons. Every day, new members would come to me and they would reiterate this point regularly, close to verbatim to the previous member, and it made me realise.

The discipline is important to the children.

Of course the majority at some point are going to choose their iPhones, tablets, Xbox’s or VR, we would!

Right now, as adults!

But those that succeed in their practices are the ones with the high performance habits and those who are disciplined in their day to day actions displaying consistent effort.

There are times I don’t feel like going coaching, and i truly love my role as a coach and I couldn’t think of a job i like doing more, but sometimes that couch might want to keep me sat there a little longer, that book pulling me in to read little farther but I know its an illusion of choice and so off I go. To do what i have said i will do.

Maybe you feel your son or daughter aren’t cut out for martial arts but I think all kids are really though, or at least can take away good elements from a great coach and club that can really help them in building their best future self but if not find them something to be disciplined in, something to grow in, to achieve in.

And don’t for one minute fall in to the fallacy of self governance.

“I wont force my child to do anything, they’re their own person”

I’m pretty sure when they were younger, you made sure you forced them out of danger when they wanted to walk where they shouldn’t.

I’m pretty sure you forced things out of their mouths when they would try to eat from the floor or dog bowl.

I’m sure you force them to the same place Monday to Friday at ten to nine until three thirty.

You aren’t bullying them with these actions, you’re coaching and teaching them how to face difficulties and achieve by overcoming.

In life we are all going to face things we don’t feel like doing sometimes.

The key to developing an attitude of growth and a mindset focused on developing is to become comfortable being uncomfortable. The hard parts, overcoming difficulty, getting past sticking points is always where the growth happens.

They don’t need to be world champions.

I would rather my son not go down that path, its a difficult one to tread, but if that is where he goes then i’ll hold his hand all the way as long as he needs it, but he needs to develop discipline and that I will make sure he achieves.

Not all kids are made out for martial arts, but I believe most are. You would be surprised what they are capable of when left overtime to train, but if it really sn’t for them, try to find them something else, so they learn to have self belief, a self worth of achievement to help them through their formative years.

We all need to go through adversity, not too much, not too little, just enough, at varying rates, to know we can deal with and get through hard times.

To realise our true potential.

Our kids need adversity and difficulty to overcome without too much protection from us.

They need to face the adversity today to help build the resilience they need tomorrow.



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