Many parents bring their children to martial arts to help build self confidence in their child. Martial arts have been known for this for years. So how is it done and why is martial arts so good at it?
The class structure, the instructor, and the specific things a child learns in martial arts help to develop these great traits.
First, structure is very important for kids to have. Classes need to have specific structure. A warmup at the beginning of class should be run the same way most of the time. Students will learn the way to do it, get better at doing these skills, and feel part of something bigger than themselves. Kids start to learn the structure, they know what to expect, and what is expected of them. The individual approach to martial arts is very important. This is why team activities or sport cannot build confidence in the same way.
Second, most martial arts classes consist of fundamental movements that are developed over time. The student will learn these skills and progressively get better at performing them. Also, kata are taught to the students. Kata are a series of fundamental skills repeated in a specific sequence exactly the same way every time. Students will learn and repeat these kata each class. This continues the development of their confidence and self esteem. Students progress through a belt system or some similar leveling system to show them that they are getting better.
Lastly, the instructor is probably the most important aspect of your child’s development of confidence. Instructors can make or break a child’s development. Instructors will need to show sincere care toward each student and take time to help each student progress. Many times this needs to start by finding specific things that each child does well throughout the class. Individual praise is essential. This isn’t always easy. Some students will need the instructor to proactively steer the child into doing something well in order to praise them. This demands sincere and specific praising. Students will see through a general ‘good job’ praise for something they know wasn’t that good. Through time, as the student becomes better, constructive criticism will help the student become better and gain even more confidence.
This confidence will spill into other aspects of their lives including school, family, and social situations.