Under the right instructor, martial arts classes can achieve the exact opposite in your child. Martial arts training for kids is more about learning how to be more self-disciplined and self-confident. Of course, there are schools out there who promote aggression, but you want to avoid these schools by thoroughly vetting the instructor before joining.
The Instructor Plays A Key Role.
Fortunately, for the most part, most martial art schools that I have attended and visited are wonderful places that push the idea of martial arts as a vehicle for self-discipline.
The most important thing you can do is talk to the instructors or school owners to get a feel for their vibe. check with the gym manager/owner to find out their values and observe how people interact. Within 5 minutes You’ll get a pretty good idea about their core beliefs and you'll know whether if its the right environment for your child.
If your child is already hitting others, we are NOT interested in teaching your child to hit harder or with more accuracy. We have encountered this problem frequently over the years. Aggressiveness is not necessarily a bad thing. It is, however, a characteristic that must be honed and developed properly. With the right attitude and mindset, martial arts can help a child develop discipline, focus, confidence, and most importantly, a place to channel the aggression constructively. The result? We have had major success in the past in changing this type of behavior.
Let me tell you how...
How We Address The issue
First, we address the issue by building a close relationship with your child.
Let’s face it…This relationship is what allows us to have some influence on your child.
So hang on while I explain...
Your child will start to think about their actions before hitting others only if they have a real fear of disappointing the instructors. OK, let me repeat that…This fear of disappointing us is one of the best incentives to stop the behavior. Of course, if they don't care what we think then we cannot help them.
Secondly, we address the issue is calling them out in class.
No one likes to be in the spotlight but, if your child is hitting others, they need to feel some negative social pressure from their friends in class. As you already know, peer pressure is 10 times more powerful than receiving guidance from an authority figure. We do this in front of their peer group to try and change their behavior.
Finally, the best way for your child to learn not to hit others is through learning empathy for others.
Your child will participate in a martial arts drill called sparring. When kids don protective equipment and defend themselves against another child who is trying to hit them, it is called sparring. Consequently, your child will get to experience what it is like to get hit.
Let me explain...
Getting hit is an invaluable experience that is necessary for learning real empathy. Truly, as your child learns more techniques and improves in skill, they start to realize that they could hurt another person. Unless they are a sociopath, the hitting stops.
Aggressive vs Violence
Of course, we remind students daily that martial arts techniques are only to be used for self-defense. Ultimately, It takes some time to change your child. They're not going to change in 1 day. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, martial arts training can give your child real results.
Now being aggressive and being violent is not the same thing.
If the child is aggressive, martial arts can be great for channeling that aggression, how to recognize it in someone else and, how to deal with it. Martial systems are perfect for that.
If, however, the child is violent, he/she doesn't need martial training. That child needs therapy and possibly medication. There is something deeper affecting this child and needs to be addressed.
Like anything else, it depends on how it is taught. Kids don’t have magic buttons that turn them into homicidal maniacs if only you can provide the right trigger. That would be a robot.
However, bullies are taught and not born. A small minority of instructors fit the Cobra Kai model and can turn impressionable youngsters into overly aggressive bullies. Now not all martial arts instructors are like that. The majority use martial arts to teach discipline, confidence, morals, and ethics.
Now, some kids enjoy the competitive side of martial arts and channel aggressiveness into the sport aspects. It's what drives them to become better and better. Aggressive isn’t always negative, so you have to be careful using the term.
Empathy and Camaraderie
Of course, every martial arts school is going to be different.
There is some martial arts school the fosters a sense of community while others will foster a competitive environment. a more aggressive attitude. You want to avoid places that aggression
I grew up in martial arts and personally, I have zero desire to go out and test my skill on the street. I have no desire to hurt anybody. That's not to say that I don't enjoy sparring or hard contact with other martial artists. Sparring is one of my most favorite parts of martial arts. Honestly, after a hard session of sparring a lot of my stress and anxiety have disappeared and all of my aggression that had build up through the week is gone.
Although this is just my perspective on martial arts, I'm 100% sure that everyone at the kung fu academy feels the same way.