We all may have that one child in our lives who has trouble focusing or sustaining attention. Perhaps the child is smart but you want to help them develop better-focusing skills for academic excellence. If you are looking for a way to help your child improve their focus and concentration, martial arts may just be the right answer for you. It’s an incredible way to drill the child mentally while also exposing them to fun. In this article, we discuss how martial arts can help children to develop better focusing skills.
One of the most common reasons that children may struggle with focus is from having too much energy. We know what happens when they don’t have an outlet for that extra energy. For instance, the energy might be spent on negative habits such as bullying, tantrums, or chaotic mannerisms in the classroom. Martial arts offers an opportunity to help channel that extra physical energy into something constructive such as punching a bag. It’s no secret that children who train regularly often report feeling less impulsive at school or after completing their physical training. When they attend a martial arts program, the instructor teaches them how to control their impulse so instead of getting over-reactive and turning physically aggressive, they redirect that energy to strength training. If the child can control his or her energy and expend it before classes, they will definitely find their focus skills improve remarkably.
Structure Model of practice:
Another way that martial arts can help with focus and concentration is by giving the child structured, clear expectations and guidelines that need to be followed to advance up their belt rank. For example, after school hours or during weekends, the instructor will have laid out what needs to be done. They will demonstrate the basic forms of movement, after which the child will typically start with some warm-ups and execute the rest of the movements as instructed. This structure model teaches the child how to plan accordingly so they are less likely to be distracted during the course of training. These benefits may extend to autistic loved ones who may struggle with schedules or routines. An autistic child taking up martial arts will understand the importance of schedule, being on time, and being systematic.
Sense of purpose:
Sometimes children may struggle with focus and concentration because they feel a lack of purpose or goal. The child might just be looking for something to grab onto and to help them keep busy. Martial arts training can give the child a sense of purpose or goal orientation. During their early training levels, the instructor will probably create a goal of breaking a board with one hand or even flipping over a tire. Not only does the instructor offer some constructive goal to be accomplished but the goal is executed with perfection—this helps the child wholesomely when it narrows down to focus. It’s worth noting that, without a goal, the child loses focus and goes about feeling unmotivated.
Kids may struggle with focus and concentration because they struggle at an emotional level and lack the intellectual understanding of what is actually happening. Fortunately, Meditation is a practice that comes along with Life Skill martial arts training. The practice relieves stress and enhances mental clarity thus improving focus. The instructor encourages breathing exercises backed with sitting postures and the result is overcoming disturbing thoughts and emotions which subsequently enhances mental stamina. Sometimes the breathing is backed with specific body movements and children love this activity because they feel more self-conscious and calm after school. Some achieve good listening skills and are praised for being less interruptive.
Self-control is the emphasis:
When a child is dedicated to martial arts, it’s easy for them to see that self-control equates to focus and will help them reach their goals as opposed to acting out of impulse. The child is focused and learns what it feels like to take care of themselves regardless of whether someone steps into their sphere or not. This is the reason why most professionals highly recommend martial arts for children diagnosed with ADHD and ADD. When they enroll in martial arts, they learn about self-composure, sticking to instructions, and focus. This means they can have better sleep at night and accomplish their homework with less effort. Some martial artists may also employ the art of sparring with peers or teachers in order to perfect the lessons—this teaches the child to control their anger or impulses and manage difficult feelings so they don’t turn physically aggressive to their counterparts.
Emphasis on Memory:
In addition to helping kids who struggle with ADHD, martial arts help children to build focus through improved memory. Children are always forgetting their present activity being able to be distracted by their environment or even reacting to events. With martial arts, the child trains their mind to remember events through visualizations and breathing techniques. Moreover, they have to remember specific moves so they execute them as illustrated. Sometimes the movement can be complicated or challenging to memorize, the child becomes perfect after a multiple repetitions. Improved focus is all about better functioning of memory, which martial arts drill well.
Martial arts also help improve focus through posture training. Slouched postures restrict the lungs from expanding when breathing and can lead to poor circulation as well as shoulder tension. That means the child is not able to focus or concentrate on anything else other than his or her painful body. The good news is when practicing martial arts, the instructor will show the children how to keep their backs neutral and sometimes using natural supports. Children will then apply their newfound awareness at home to make sure they sit upright when doing homework. Conversely, they would be bending over their stomach which subsequently reduces the chances of focusing and finishing homework. In fact, when the child develops better sitting posture at an early age, they will have less trouble concentrating in the future because their bodies won’t frequently fight against them.
Focus through patience:
Studies have shown that children learn better focusing skills just by being patient while doing challenging tasks such as turn-taking. In martial arts children learn to take their turn while their counterparts do the training—the child will need to wait for the instructor’s guidelines before performing an exercise or technique. It might seem a little strange at first, but it’s important for young children, as five years old, to start to learn focusing skills through the virtue of patience. As the kids continue practicing the virtue of patience, they become capable of mental stamina and get stronger with repetition.
Apparently martial arts training is a great way to teach children better focus and concentration. Whether it’s keeping energy under control or simply clearing the mind, what’s important is these life skills carry over into all areas of life.
The benefits of martial arts don’t end on focusing skills, there are other incredible benefits which include socio-emotional skills, and cognitive functioning skills. If you have an autistic or ADHD child, you could talk to one of the instructors about how they can start a training session with the child during weekends or even after school. The family members or teacher, will notice the benefits carry over outside of the classroom where they are more able to manage themselves without resorting to detrimental habits.
If you’d like to tour our Life Skill Academy Campus in Millbury Massachusetts, just