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      3 Times Martial Arts Helped Shape History

      3 Times Martial Arts Helped Shape History

      Asia is widely considered to be the birthplace of the martial arts. Historically used for combat and self-defense, varied techniques sprang up independently in India, China, Japan and other parts of Asia. The birthplace of many disciplines can be traced to India and China, and there’s evidence as far back as the 3rd Century B.C.E. that martial arts techniques were in use. At certain points in history, the martial arts have had a noticeable impact in shaping events. Generally, there was a historical figure who led this cultural shift, and three of the most influential were Bodhidharma of India, Gichin Funakoshi of Okinawa and Bruce Lee of Hong Kong.

      BODHIDHARMA & KUNG FU – 527 C.E.

      China had developed its own martial arts, but it was a military form used for combat. It wasn’t until the influence of an Indian, Bodhidharma, that Chinese martial arts evolved into the Kung Fu we see today, a more holistic practice that trains the body and mind.

      India had a form of martial arts called Kalaripayattu that involved agility, fitness and wise use of the body’s energy. A Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma introduced this style of fighting to China when he traveled there to spread the philosophy of Buddhism. When he eventually went to live with the Shaolin monks, he found them lacking in physical health and stamina, so he began teaching them Kalaripayattu. This discipline evolved over time and became Shaolin Kung Fu.

      The spread of the martial arts in monasteries has given rise to the popular myth that these techniques were primarily created by “Buddhist monks, Taoist hermits or Confucian scholars.” In fact, Bodhidharma was trained in the military arts as the son of a minor ruler. It was only after he traveled to China and began living and training with the Shaolin monks that he became one himself.

      In China, however, the martial arts had mostly practiced by lower classes like the military and bodyguards. Bodhidharma helped strengthen the concept of the martial arts as a spiritual practice as well as a fighting and self-defense discipline. He emphasized breathing techniques and the cultivation of bio-energy (ki in Karate). Bhodidharma combined meditation with physical training and, eventually, he also became the founder of Zen Buddhism.

      Bodhidharma’s life story is an example of the will, perseverance and endurance that made up the foundation of his teachings. The moves and techniques he taught are now collectively referred to as Kung Fu. His contribution to history is seen in the elevation of the martial arts to a physical and spiritual practice that is accepted in all classes of society in China.

      GICHIN FUNAKOSHI & KARATE – 1917

      The martial arts of China influenced the people of Japan, and they also developed their own fighting and self-defense techniques. Karate began in Okinawa, a chain of islands between China and Japan that were then a separate kingdom. For over a century, starting in 1477, weapons were outlawed on the three islands of Okinawa. This caused early Karate to go underground and, if anything, strengthened the desire for the art to be maintained and preserved. In 1875, the Japanese took over Okinawa and made it part of Japan. After that, these original forms of Karate were allowed to flourish.

      Cooperation and peace between Okinawa and Japan were facilitated by the sharing of Karate. In 1917, Okinawa native Gichin Funakoshi demonstrated Karate techniques in a match with a Japanese martial arts expert, and he won the match. Funakoshi stayed on in Japan to teach Karate to the Japanese people. The open and peaceful relationship between Okinawa and Japan flourished to a great extent because of this sharing of Karate with the mainland.

      As in Kung Fu, Karate has an underlying spiritual component. Funakoshi created his own form of Karate, called Karate-Do, and he considered it to be “education for life itself.” The form of Karate he demonstrated in Japan and practiced during his life was called Shotokan. It was a synthesis of Funakoshi’s own style and the different types of Karate that originated in Okinawa.

      BRUCE LEE & JEET KUN DO – 1960’s

      Although born in San Francisco, Bruce Lee was raised in Hong Kong from the age of three months. A great artist will influence others, and Bruce Lee is well known across the world as a martial arts master whose influence caused a shift in the way people look at the practice.

      Lee began his training in the art of Kung Fu (Gung Fu), eventually developing Jeet Kun Do (JKD), which translates to “the way of the intercepting fist.” Lee didn’t regard this form of martial arts as a method or style, but as a set of principles for developing the mind and body. He borrowed from several Kung Fu styles, including Taekwondo, and also incorporated elements of wrestling and boxing into Jeet Kun Do.

      Bruce Lee’s television and movie projects popularized martial arts around the world. He developed the popular U.S. television show Kung Fu for himself, but David Carradine was given the leading role. The show had a great influence on the understanding of the martial arts in the U.S. This was the first time many people realized that the practice had a spiritual, meditative component, and didn’t exist merely for fighting and self-defense.

      Continuing mental and physical development, along with improving coordination and power, are the lynchpins of Jeet Kun Do. In the formation of JKD, Lee contributed to breaking with martial arts traditions. He believed in throwing out techniques that didn’t work and embracing those that did. Bruce Lee can be credited with opening up the world of martial arts to experimentation and growth. Through his martial arts movies, he also helped usher in an era of increased understanding of the martial arts throughout the world, not just in the U.S. and Asia. He saw himself as a “bridge between the East and the West.”

      Bodhidharma, Gichin Funakoshi and Bruce Lee all highlighted the importance of the martial arts and influenced world culture. Bodhidharma was the founder of Kung Fu and strengthened the spiritual component of Chinese martial arts. Gichin Funakoshi refined and popularized Karate, and contributed to the good relations between Japan and its newly acquired territory of Okinawa. Bruce Lee introduced the philosophy and techniques of the martial arts to a global audience and increased our understanding of the philosophy that goes along with it.

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      3 Ways to Help Your Child Improve Their Focus

      Does your child find it difficult to concentrate on one thing? There are many factors why children have difficulty in focusing, especially in the learning process. You probably want to teach your child something they need to learn while their young. The problem may be is that his attention span is very short.

      Although it’s normal for children to get busy with common distractions, some children seem to be so distracted, they are hard to catch like mice. They are not just active but hyperactive. If that is the case, your child may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. You may have thought that you might go to your local physician and get Adderall prescribed, but after thorough research decided the side-effects outweigh the benefits.

      The good news is that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be dealt with through several natural solutions, and today we will go over the three ways to help improve your child’s focus. Let’s get started!

      Three Top Focusing Techniques for Your Child

      1. Proper Diet

      Many people know that eating a healthy diet is good for your body and as parents, we know this is true as well for our children. However, today it seems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is running rampant among children and several adults. Much of this has to deal with what we eat, and studies have shown that the food additives play a big factor in increasing these symptoms in both children and adults.

      Although it may seem difficult in our rushed society eating a diet that is not processed seems to be an ideal solution. It’s really quite simple, if it has more than one ingredient, it’s probably best not to eat that food. It’s been shown that many food additives that are used in the US today are toxic to our systems and even have been banned in other countries due to their harmful effects in the body.

      Some doctors claim that you can reverse attention deficit disorder through your diet. This goes back to the principles of having unnatural ingredients in your foods and if you in turn remove these from your diet totally, and include proper dietary supplements that you can in turn be free from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

      2. Focused Games and Visual Entertainment

      Focused Games and visual entertainment can improve a child’s attention span greatly. Games like puzzles, chess, and Lego’s can stimulate your child mental clarity and learn on attention the detail. The point is here that they redirect their attention to a mind-stimulating activity. You as the adult only have to show your child the basic steps and then let them take over with these types of games.

      When it comes to visual entertainment, it’s been proven through studies that through that you can stimulate your brain to learn and concentrate using educational video-games. This helps your child to concentrate with their limited attention span when other ideas might come off as boring.

      There are other visual educational ways to help teach children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and many of these ways have been tried and tested by teachers who participate with these students first hand using color stimulus and other creative cognitive strategies.

      3. High-Quality Focused-Based Sports

      Hyperactive children seem to need to be everywhere at once and can’t sit still. By satisfying their need of exerting their energy this can be a God-send for parents. This will also let them expel their energy while letting them redirect their mental stimulation.
      Exercise helps deal with those who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by raising the dopamine levels in the brain. Exercise has been effective to build self-esteem and teamwork within a co-op sports environment.

      There are many sports you can enroll your child in and you can try one at a time to see if they like it or not, some of these include tennis, gymnastics, wrestling, soccer, horseback riding, archery, and baseball.

      However, one of the best sports to be involved in that will help improve mental clarity is martial arts. Martial arts trains you to be self-disciplined, respect yourself and others, and how to calm your inner self and shut out distractions in order for you to achieve total focus. There also is the part where you can use this as a means of self-defense, but the main objective is to first learn to metal clarity.

      Conclusion

      It may be tough to deal with a child who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but there is hope out there as you don’t have to run to the doctor and have your child put on drugs for a quick-fix. We’ve seen today that through diet, and proper entertainment, and high-quality focused exercise like martial arts that your child can retain and expand their concentration.

      Have you considered which method will you try for your child today?

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      3 Reasons Why Martial Arts is the Right Activity for 2017

      Ready to Start 2017 with a New Habit? Don’t Miss These 3 Top Reasons Why Martial Arts is the Right Activity for 2017
      As the new year begins, are you on the hunt for a new exercise routine? Do you want to try something new and exciting — but you also want to make sure you’re getting the most out of the time you put into your hour of exercise? Do you want to tone, trim and get strong?

      If you’re ready to change your exercise regime for 2017, then look no further than a martial practice such as Kung-Fu. Not only is martial training a precise and beautiful
      practice that will improve your balance and strength — but it has many health benefits, including boosting your self-confidence and helping you lose weight.

      If you’re ready to see a change in 2017, then read on to get our top three reasons why martial practices if the right activity for you! Don’t miss out on what training can do to elevate and push you forward in the new year. Here is why:

      Reason #1: Get a Complete Body Workout

      One of the greatest benefits of this ancient practice is that it works every muscle in your body. When you exercise this way and really lean into the moves — you’ll be engaging a total body workout that not only will make you sweat it out but will help you rest better at night.

      Many people get hung up on exercise regimes that engage only one core muscle — like the legs in the case of running. But martial arts take a total-body workout to an entirely new level.

      When you get done with your firs class, you will have burned hundreds of calories in an hour that will completely smoke whatever exercise you had reserved for the treadmill or elliptical machine.

      Reason #2: Build Muscles

      Not only should you expect to lose weight when you incorporate a regular martial practice into your lifestyle, but you should expect to gain some back via muscles. You use your core body to build those muscles and to grow stronger every day through the practice — and you’ll begin to notice your arms and legs begin to show some definition over time. As you engage that muscle mass and tone it up — your metabolism becomes smarter and more efficient — and you begin to burn even more calories.

      That gives you the chance to choose healthy, protein-rich foods to eat to replace those calories, which will further help build your muscles and keep your body super strong over time.

      In addition, you’ll build your balance as you build your muscles and make your reflexes stronger as you face your opponent and develop the practice. All in all, all of these sub-benefits go back to the core you are strengthening via martial exercises — and that’s something few sports and practices can offer with the kind of targeted precision that a martial practice can!

      Reason #3: Watch Your Self-Confidence Soar

      This practice is both an individual and a group one — and that means you’ll be able to be both introspective when it counts and more social when you need to open up and build relationships and trust. You will be training in a community and learning to set goals for yourself. You will be learning from those who have gone before you and getting better with your moves over time. You will have someone there with you all along the way.

      You’ll be encouraged and spurred on by your teachers and classmates — and that will drive you to continue reaching high for your goals and getting that form right. When you finally reach your goal, you will look back and feel confident and empowered knowing you mastered and executed such beautiful, strong moves.

      Martial practices also teaches good ethics and morals — such as kindness and patience. As you practice these arts you begin to adopt some of these practices and let them infuse your life throughout the day.

      That’s because martial arts is so good at helping you focus, establish the right frame of mind, accepting what you can and cannot do, working toward a goal, giving it your best and finally, being content with what the practice has gifted to you. You can’t ask anymore than that — and at the end of the day, you’ll be incredibly happy for the peace you feel through the practice. It teaches us all how to be better human beings — and that will infuse your work and personal life for years to come!

      Ready to Sign Up for Your First Class?

      Many people you would never think of liking marital arts do. Why? Because they see the many incredible benefits this beautiful practice gives them in their lives. From improving reflexes, to toning muscles to empowering athletes all over the world — marital arts becomes the conduit to a healthy lifestyle.

      It’s normal to feel hesitant or to be afraid that you can’t follow this practice or that you’ll get hurt. It also can be overwhelming at first to wonder whether you can really do it — but you can. You have to take one step at a time. You have to be committed to growing as an athlete and to know that you have limitations just like everyone else. The key to getting involved in this healthy practice is to take what you can from it — but not too judge yourself because you aren’t at a certain perceived level.

      If you’re thinking about this for 2017, take our advice and try it. Just take that first step and sign up for your first class. Take it slowly and practice. Join the community that you find in your class and enjoy the journey. You’ll find your mind is more peaceful — and your body starts to trim and tone. Happy New Year!

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      10 Mental Health Benefits Provided by Martial Arts Programs

      Many people enroll their children into a martial arts program so they can have a physical activity and spend their time more productively. Did you know that there are also many emotional and mental health benefits for children who participate in martial arts? In this post, we’ll discuss the mental health benefits that practicing martial arts can provide.

      1 – Social Skills and Friendship

      The ability to make and have friends is a major factor in a child’s satisfaction and comfort level in school. It is also a key factor in their abilities to interact with the world as they get older. Martial arts provides children the ability to feel incorporated in a nonthreatening family environment. Dojos are extremely structured and facilitate a family-like atmosphere. Ultimately, that makes it a perfect environment for shy children to begin to open up and make friends. Martial arts training also teaches the concepts of compassion to opponents, patience and conflict resolution.

      2 – Discipline

      Having discipline will help a child in many ways. Discipline will allow a child to learn how to structure important aspects of their lives to accomplish tasks and goals. In martial arts, discipline is a foundational practice. Martial arts instructors are keen on not tolerating disruptions, excessive talking or goofing around. This type of discipline is especially important if the child is not receiving it in school. The discipline taught in martial arts also teaches how to control anger, how to diffuse situations without fighting and how to be self-accountable.

      3 – Respect

      Along with discipline, respect is another foundational practice taught in virtually every martial art. Children are taught to respect their instructors, their co-students, opponents and themselves. Respect is deeply engrained in martial arts and it is a lesson that it taught from day one until the end of practicing martial arts. The respect associated with martial arts comes from the close interaction students have with their teachers. Naturally, as the student learns more from the instructor they begin to increase in belt ranks, which also facilitates respect for their techniques, knowledge and abilities.

      4 – Confidence

      Learning new skills, self-defense techniques and how to acquire higher level belts provides a system of accomplishment that rewards the child with increased confidence. Because there is a competitiveness within martial arts, the ability to face an opponent and win also allows the child’s self-confidence to grow. Because it is a one-on-one sport, the child becomes more self-aware in a loss than in a team sport environment. These factors combine to boost the confidence of children, which is something that can help them become more daring in their future dreams and wants.

      5 – Awareness of Personal Safety

      Martial arts provide children with the ability to be self-accountable in an adult world. This dynamic not only makes a child more confident, but more aware of their personal environment as well. For children, many dojos will teach about stranger awareness and what to do when encountering a stranger. While parents also teach these rules to their children, their martial arts instructor also reinforce that from different angles as well. Ultimately, children taught about stranger awareness and personal safety in dojos can come away learning better decision making methods.

      6 – Physical Fitness

      Physical fitness is a growing concern these days when it comes to children. Because of technology, downgraded quality of food and busier parental schedules, children are becoming more sedentary. Martial arts provide an avenue for children to work on their balance, posture, coordination and an understanding about the importance of health and fitness from an early age. Studies have shown that physical activity is incredibly helpful to a healthy mind.

      7 – Focus

      A child with a strong attention span is one that will do better in school, have more discipline and have the ability to better handle situations without feeling overwhelmed. Martial Arts teaches children how to focus on a particular task, set of moves and reactions to an opponent’s moves. This also goes together with the discipline built through martial arts.

      8 – Responsibility

      In many dojos, children are required to maintain the cleanliness of their uniforms, the dojo and to be punctual. Along with the personal responsibility children have in memorizing moves, these elements impact their ability to achieve higher belts. Ultimately, that system of personal responsibility is important in the independence felt by a growing child.

      9 – Listening

      Listening to instructions from martial arts instructors is a vital aspect of the success a child will have in their martial arts program. Because children need to listen to their instructors, clear lines of authority and respect are drawn. By listening to their instructors, children are taught that following directions, accountability and focus are important to success.

      10 – Attention to Detail

      Martial arts are all about details. When children learn moves, they will learn how important every little movement needs to be and how it can impact outcomes. This emphasis on attention to detail helps a child increase their focus, concentration and memorization.

      Martial arts are great for boosting a child’s physical and mental health. Many of the positive aspects of healthy mental health are incorporated within the martial arts system of respect, rewards, accountability and confidence.

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      How Martial Arts Can Help Your Child in School

      How Martial Arts Can Help Your Child in School

      The problems that children have in school can be academic, social, or some other challenge. Involvement in the martial arts can help with any of these kinds of problems. The following are the specific problems that your child may face in school and how the martial arts can help to resolve them.

      Bullying

      Lately, the problem of bullying has received a lot of attention in the news. Children are being bullied both in school and on social media. Some children have even taken their own lives as a result of severe bullying. The martial arts can help with this problem in two ways. First, your child will learn how to defend himself or herself. This means both that your child will be able to engage another child in a fight if they must, and that they will be able to avoid or deescalate a fight if they can. Second, your child will grow in self-confidence and self-esteem. This will help your child to feel impervious to the verbal abuse that other children may heap upon them. This self-confidence is built through achievement in the martial arts. Also, their martial arts teacher will teach them how to respect themselves and others.

      Coordination

      Many children have difficulty in sports activities because they lack certain motor skills and coordination. This makes them feel uncomfortable when they must perform in physical education classes or participate in sports during recess. The martial arts directly work on a child’s coordination skills to produce a person who is graceful in their movements. Physical coordination is not just an inborn skill. It can be taught.

      Learning the Value of Hard Work

      To succeed in the martial arts, it takes commitment and a lot of hard work. A person must give 100 percent of their energy to make progress. Your child’s martial arts instructor will emphasize that this is the case with any goal in life. As a result, your child’s commitment to goals in school will intensify.

      Discipline

      Not only does it take a lot of hard work to succeed in the martial arts but also an attitude of discipline. Discipline means that a person keeps to their training schedule no matter what kind of obstacles intervene. This obviously transfers to school, where the child must have a stick-to-it attitude to excel.

      Mental Toughness

      Many times, a child will feel timid because of their size or a lack of certain innate abilities. The martial arts teach that even a small person can be trained to overcome a big person in a confrontation. This is achieved by both practice, strategy, and a self-confident attitude. Whatever challenges your child may face in life, the martial arts can give them the tough attitude that they need to persevere.

      Focus

      A lack of focus has infected the younger generation. We live in a culture where everything is designed to conform to a short attention span. To succeed in the martial arts it takes focus and concentration on what you are doing. This is a trait that can be improved on. The martial arts instructor will lead by example, and their traits will transfer over to your child. Even if your child has subjects in school that are hard for them to focus on, they will be trained to focus for success.

      Confidence

      Many times, it is difficult for a child to excel because they lack the right amount of confidence. It has nothing to do with their innate abilities. A child’s martial arts instructor can teach them to develop confidence by appreciating the achievements that they make. Mastery of a level of martial arts can be slow, but eventually with hard work almost everyone succeeds. The instructor will challenge your child to overcome any barriers that they have towards succeeding. This ability to inspire is a special trait that martial arts instructors have.

      Working Under Pressure

      School can be difficult for many children because they must work under pressure. Not only does your child have to perform well, but also they must do so under a time constraint. The martial arts develop the ability to think on your feet and react fast to situations. There is no time to deliberate and make a slow response. For this reason, a child will learn how to work well under pressure and time constraints. They also will be taught how to remain calm in various types of pressured situations.

      Respect

      Children nowadays seem to have no respect for anyone, including themselves. One of the outstanding features of the martial arts is that it teaches people why they must respect others. It does this by giving them an appreciation of the worth of others. For instance, you should respect your teacher because of the level of knowledge and skill that they have. In this way, respect is not only based on authority but rather on the true value of other people.

      A Philosophy of Peace

      Finally, the martial arts can develop an attitude of peace and serenity in your child. The martial arts are not only a physical training and discipline. A beautiful philosophy of peace, harmony, and serenity goes along with the physical aspects of the training. This philosophy is something that can help your child attain happiness in school and life in general.

      Conclusion

      The martial arts can help your child with every aspect of their life. This is particularly the case with issues that come up in school. Right now, it is early in the school year. The process of developing the benefits of the martial arts is a slow one as with anything that has true value in life. Therefore, it is good to get a head start on enrolling your child in a respected martial arts program.
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      Benefits of Martial Arts for Other Sports

      Benefits of Martial Arts for Other Sports

      Playing sports as a kid gave me some of the fondest memories growing up. The thrill of competition, the camaraderie among teammates, and reward of self-improvement are more often found in sports than not. I’ve done it all. I was thrown into the pool at five years old. I grew up playing basketball. Neighborhood softball and football games were tradition. I ran, I jumped, and I caught. Still though, I have yet to find an endeavor as physically and mentally rewarding as martial arts.

      I’ve been in a gi since I got out of diapers. I started off in karate, then jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai, and finally wrestled in high school. Practicing martial arts has not only made me better at kicking and punching. The endurance, the mental discipline, the balance and flexibility, and the strength I’ve gained from martial arts have tremendous carryover to my performance in other sports.Endurance is important when practicing martial arts. In practice, in competition, and in self-defense situations, having the endurance to execute techniques is vital to safety. Martial arts emphasizes endurance with cross-training and technique drills.

      Before and after martial arts practice, classes will typically jog around for 10-15 minutes to increase heart rate and warm up the muscles. Sometimes the time spent jogging will be longer. Other times the intensity of the jog will be higher.

      Endurance is also improved through technique drills. Hitting pads and shadowboxing for prolonged periods increases heart rate and over time, improves overall endurance. This endurance translates well to sports with lots of running and prolonged periods of play such as soccer, basketball, and tennis.

      Martial arts teaches mental discipline. In most schools, students are discouraged from picking fights, abusing drugs, and bullying others. Students are rather taught to be humble, to live a healthy lifestyle, and to work hard. My school had its own honor system, with rules that emphasized the values of good character and good work ethic.

      The values and discipline learned through martial arts follow students to school, work, and other sports. Martial arts training requires focus inside and outside of the dojo. Being attentive and obeying instructors is crucial to martial arts learning. Success only follows consistent hard work and focus towards one’s craft.

      The discipline gained from martial arts makes an athlete more coachable and disciplined in other sports. Athletes will be able to pick up techniques more quickly and have greater focus on the court or field.

      Many of the techniques in martial arts require great balance and flexibility. Both of these skills are emphasized in schools with drills, and static and dynamic stretching. Static and dynamic stretching is a key part of every warm-up.

      Some techniques require more balance and flexibility than others. Front kicks, for example, require balance to plant one foot on the ground while kicking with the other. Front kicks also require great flexibility to bring the kicking foot to appropriate height. The consistent repetition of techniques like this will improve flexibility and balance over time.

      The balance and flexibility gained from martial arts can be almost universally beneficial to performance in other sports. In fact, I can’t think of a single sport where increased balance and flexibility wouldn’t be helpful. Balance and flexibility is even crucial in dynamic sports like football, wrestling, and basketball.

      Another benefit of martial arts training is strength. No, doing karate or jiu-jitsu won’t make anyone look like a bodybuilder, but the functional strength necessary to perform techniques will be useful in other sports.

      In martial arts, core strength is the base of every technique. The power generated for every kick, punch, and throw goes through the core. The core is also responsible for keeping proper posture and breathing. Many classes will emphasize core strength by doing core workouts such as planks and crunches.

      While the core is the primary focus of martial arts strength training, the rest of the muscles are not neglected. Drilling techniques makes the body more efficient at channeling its own strength. For example, an inexperienced martial artist may only throw punches using their arms. But a more experienced artist understands how to use the entire body to punch.

      Core strength is important for any sport, especially ones requiring a repeated exertion of force. Martial arts core training will help anyone’s performance in kicking a ball, throwing a ball, etc. Martial arts will also improve an athlete’s efficiency in using their own strength. Being more efficient will conserve energy and increase output in any sport.

      Martial arts is one of the most challenging and rewarding sports there is. Training requires a serious amount of focus and athleticism that will not only make a better martial artist, but a better overall athlete. The passive skills such as endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance cross over to almost every sport. The mental discipline will help out in sports, school, and everything in between.

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      How to Keep Your Child Active

      How To Keep Your Child Active

      Keeping your child active throughout their formative years is essential to ensuring that they grow up to be healthy and strong. There are many methods that you can use to encourage your child to be as active as possible. It’s recommended that you try several of the following, as what’s beneficial for one child might not be for another.

      Sign Your Child Up For a Martial Arts Class

      Martial arts is one of the premier types of physical activity for a child, as it provides a wide range of benefits. Martial arts classes will keep your child healthy and fit, while also providing them with the tools necessary to develop useful skills that will help them later in life. Classes of this nature have the added advantage of being very fun to participate in, so your child should require very little convincing to consider attending martial arts classes.

      Not only does practicing martial arts keep your child active, it also boosts their strength, balance, coordination and speed. These classes have been known to assist children in the development of positive character traits, while also helping them learn problem solving skills. A healthy self-esteem is also essential to a child’s development, which martial arts classes can provide. These classes can be even more fun for your child if they attend with a friend.

      Act As a Role Model

      One of the most important aspects of getting your kid to actually be interested in staying active is to be active yourself as well. Being a role model to your child in this regard has proven to work wonders in pushing them to start enjoying these activities. Consider planning an active family outing that everyone in the family can enjoy together.

      Limit TV and Computer Time

      Getting your children to spend their free time wisely is oftentimes a tricky thing to do. In order to promote a more active lifestyle, consider placing a limit on the amount of time your child can spend on the TV and computer during the day. It’s recommended that total screen time across all electronic devices is limited to around 1-2 hours each day. Encourage your child to spend their free time doing some sort of physical activity.

      Choose a Physical Activity Depending on Age

      Not all types of physical activity are suitable for younger children. For instance, the types of activities that a five year old might find interesting and fun can differ greatly from what a 13 year old enjoys. There are also certain activities that are suitable for all ages, such as riding bicycles and swimming. As your child grows older, start to suggest additional types of physical activities that will expand their interests and keep them active. These activities can include martial arts, hiking, school sports or even yoga.

      Make Sure Physical Activity Is Fun Instead of Overdone

      Many adults that attempt to stay active are put off of it by working out too strenuously at the very beginning. This issue is particularly difficult to navigate when it comes to children, as the best way to ensure that a child stays active is for the physical activities they participate in to be fun, instead of feeling like work. Tell your child that they need to pay attention to what their body is telling them. When they start to feel some slight pain or frustration when working out, they need to understand that this is the exact time when they need to quit and move on to less demanding activities.
      Overdoing a physical activity is not only painful, but can be a huge detriment to actually enjoying the physical activity. In order to make sure that your child isn’t overdoing it, pay attention to their weight. If it drops too much, this may be a sign that they’re working out too strenuously. You also don’t want the physical activities they do to interfere with their workout. To avoid this, try to make a scheduled time for your child to complete these physical activities. This schedule will act as a reminder to them as well.

      Suggesting a Variety of Activities Will Keep Your Child Interested

      The key towards keeping your child active is for that child to find an activity, or multiple activities, that they will be interested in. While you might find baseball fun, your child might not and could quickly grow bored of it. You want them to develop their interests on their own, so simply encourage your child by providing them with a list of suggestions. There are a many physical activities that can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. Soccer, basketball, gymnastics, hide-and-seek and jumping rope are just some of the many activities that you should recommend. Even when a child enjoys something at one time, this doesn’t mean that they will continue to enjoy that activity months down the road.
      This is another reason as to why it’s so important that they try out several different physical activities. It’s also important to understand that children need three basic types of exercise, including aerobic, bone-strengthening and muscle-strengthening exercises. For aerobic exercises, running, biking and swimming are some of the most popular among children. Muscle-strengthening exercises include everything from climbing to sit-ups and push-ups, though children might find gymnastics more fun. As for bone-strengthening exercises, suggest activities like jumping rope and tennis to your child.

      Provide the Toys and Equipment Necessary For Physical Activities

      It’s important that your child has all of the toys and equipment necessary for the physical activities that they enjoy. For instance, if your child is interested in play soccer with a school team, make sure that they have all of the padding, shoes and equipment that’s necessary for such an activity. If not, they will quickly grow bored and won’t see the point in continuing. Keeping active toys around the home, such as a jumping rope and light weights, will encourage physical activity.
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      How to Get Kids Interested in Martial Arts

      Today, it is more important than ever before that parents find ways to motivate their kids to engage in fitness activities. The childhood obesity epidemic that we are facing today is terrifying. One of the best ways for you to avoid your child becoming an obesity statistic is to encourage them to take up martial arts. A martial art will give children plenty of exercise to keep them in shape, and it will also teach them the values of discipline, honor and respect. To help parents motivate their children to take up taekwondo, karate or another martial discipline, here are some tips they can use to encourage kids to get interested in martial arts.

      Get Them Amped with Videos

      If children have never been exposed to videos featuring martial artists, they may have no idea what they are missing out on. Show them some clips of talented martial artists doing their thing, and you will be amazed at how quickly they get motivated to give it a try themselves. Don’t be surprised if they are doing some practice kicks and punches before the video is even over. Once you have shown them how cool the activity can be, they will be excited to attend their first class.

      The More the Merrier

      One of the biggest reasons that children decide to do anything is because their friends are doing it. Parents can use this fact to their advantage when it comes to encouraging their children to start a new martial art. First, ask your children if they have any friends who are already practicing taekwondo or karate. If they are, it will be easy for you to convince them to join their friends to have fun.

      If your child doesn’t already have friends working out in a dojo, talk to the parents of their friends. Organize a meeting to get together and talk about encouraging the entire group of friends to start training in a martial art. When children have friends to be with in an activity, they will encourage and support each other. This makes it much more likely that they will stick with the activity they are enjoying together.

      Go to a Tournament

      One of the best ways parents can get their kids excited about something is to take them to an organized event. There are frequents martial art tournaments held all over the country. With a little research, you can find one that will soon be in your area. Take your kid to see some exciting live karate or taekwondo action, and you will likely find that they are asking to try the fun for themselves before you even make it home from the tournament.

      Make It a Family Affair

      The fitness benefits of practicing a martial art are not just limited to children. Parents will also benefit hugely from the better fitness and mental discipline they develop by practicing it. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for parents to take a jujitsu or karate class with their children. When families share the fun of the activity, it makes it a bonding tool that will bring the family closer together. Children look up to and want to emulate their folks. Take advantage of this by joining in a martial art with them.

      As you can see, there are many options parents can use to encourage their children to take up a martial art. Sometimes, a combination of these tips will work best. The key is to keep trying until you find something that works. However, don’t press too hard or you risk pushing them away. Always let the child come to the decision to start without pressure.

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      Activities to Help Your Child’s Social Skills

      You want your kids to grow up confident and socially aware. In order to help your child develop vital social skills, it is important for them to take part in activities that allow them to learn confidence and how to interact with others. Here are 5 great activities to help your child learn the social skills they need to be successful.

      Number 1: Summer Camp

      There are hundreds of summer camps available across the country that teach children a myriad of skills. From summer writing camps to wilderness camps there is something out there for every child to lean new skills, make new friends, and learn how to interact with both other kids and adults. These camps can really boost confidence and help children learn how to navigate making friends and solving problems on their own. Summer camps can also teach children great skills that will help them succeed in life such as coping with homesickness, being a leader, surviving in the wilderness, and first aid.

      Number 2: Children’s Theater Groups

      Theater is all about being social. It teaches kid’s how to be part of a group, how to interact well with others, and how to read social situations more effectively. Children’s theater groups are a great place for kids to break out of their comfort zones, work off extra energy, and most importantly, to form lifelong friendships. Theater also helps children learn effective communication skills, and how to value the differences they find in themselves, and in others.

      Number 3: Community Sports Teams

      Community sports teams are a great place for children to lean important social skills like working with others, accepting disappointments, sportsmanship, and how to handle conflict. They also boost self-confidence, and can really help your kid’s learn how to work toward their goals. Sports also help children learn how to be responsible, healthy, and active in their social and personal lives.

      Number 4: Boys/Girl’s Scouts

      Scouts is a great way to help your children learn how to make friends, learn new skills, serve their community, and solve problems. Scouts is a great opportunity for many children who are shy become socially successful; it helps children gain confidence and be good team members.  Boy and girl scouts also help kids learn important skills that will help them become kind, skilled adults who are ready to work with others in their careers.

      Number 5: Martial Arts

      Martial arts is a wonderful sport that teaches discipline and respect. When children participate in these sports they directly interact with others, learn to control their bodies and their minds, and learn how to have respect for themselves and others. It is a wonderful way for children to learn how to be a good friend, a good team member, and gracious opponent.  Not only do classes like karate, capoeira, kung-fu and taekwondo teach confidence, discipline, and respect but they also teach kids how to respond to bullying in a healthy, non-violent manner. Children who are involved in martial arts learn how to be healthy in both their bodies and their minds.

      Being part of a team, or a group of children their age can help your kids connect to others in a way that a school setting cannot provide. These activities are a great way for your children connect to other people, gain confidence, and respond to negativity and conflict in an effective, healthy manner.

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      Great Activities for Kids in the Summer

      Summer Activities for Kids

      Summer vacation is any kid’s favorite time of year. Some of the best summer activities involve refreshing, tasty snacks. One activity you can do with kids is baking cooking for homemade ice cream sandwiches. Kids love them, and parents do, too. You can find plenty of easy recipes online to make it a fun, carefree experience. If you’re looking for something requiring a little more effort, you could host a Hawaiian luau in the backyard. Whip out the grill, distribute leis to guests, and have the kids put on a little hula show. This could also be a fun opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture. If you want a simpler summer feast, take the kids to a picnic at the closest state park. Summer is the best time to experience nature.

      Speaking of nature, going to the beach is a classic way to soak up some summer sun. Kids love to play in the water and build sandcastles. If you don’t have any beach toys, you could even bring old Tupperware and buckets for just as much fun. To nurture kids’ curiosity, have them pick up interesting rocks and shells – they could even start a collection. Kids also love scavenger hunts, and outdoor hunts offer the best opportunities to explore. You could turn it into a literacy activity by having kids look for items that start with each letter of the alphabet.

      Benefits of Martial Arts

      Summer is a good time to try out a new sport or hobby. Martial arts practice is one the best activities for kids because it promotes a happy and healthy lifestyle which kids will carry with them into the future. Martial arts help kids feel more secure because they learn self-defense techniques. They also a learn a variety of other physical skills which are useful throughout the lifespan; these include coordination, balance, and overall fitness. Along with physical skills, kids learn more functional life skills such as maintaining focus, building confidence, respecting others, persisting in difficult tasks, and working on a team.

      You may worry that these types of sports are too violent for kids. Rest assured that kids learn both defensive strategies and non-violent conflict resolution skills. Most programs target specific age groups, so the skills being taught are age-appropriate. The integration of strength and character development is what makes this practice so effective. Kids learn the skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Martial artists are adept at self-control, a skill that many kids could definitely benefit from practicing. Kids also learn to set goals while working within the colored belt system, advancing toward the black belt. The black belt is a symbol of success and perseverance. Kids learn to set short, intermediate, and long-term goals. Martial artists are aware of their strengths and challenges and experience more peace as a result of this self-awareness. It is best to get kids started in practicing and developing these skills at a young age.

      Pat Morgan

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