10 January 2023
Hollywood might give us the impression that martial arts makes kids aggressive, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Martial arts are focused on respect, focus and peace. You will find that once your kids start martial arts, they will be calmer and confront situations in a more relaxed manner. This is because martial arts preaches respect. From day one, all martial artists (including children) are taught to respect their teachers, their fellow students and everyone else in the outside world. They call teachers by respectful names, and often work with their peers to help them improve.
There is also a lack of frenzied activity in martial arts dojos. Classes are structured carefully, usually starting off with a warm-up and stretching, then continuing on with the main content which can include martial arts drills and fitness work - and finally ending with a cool-down session. There is little opportunity for kids to be aggressive as everything is structured carefully with a purpose in mind.
Aggressiveness comes from letting your emotions take control of your brain, and lashing out as a result. Martial arts teaches us the opposite. It teaches us to control our emotions, to clear our heads from negative thoughts, and to think logically in the face of fear. Martial arts schools are structured in such a way that fighting is treated as a form of self-defence, not as a way to hurt people. It also gives kids a greater sense of focus, as they have to understand exactly how to perform each technique, and then put it into practice.
Multiple studies back this up by demonstrating how martial arts can decrease aggression in children. While there is no guarantee of this being the case, there is no evidence to suggest it promotes aggression. In fact martial arts can be helpful for already aggressive children, by providing a safe and structured outlet for them to let out their energy. This is much safer and healthier than letting out their aggressive energy in other harmful ways, and could give them the means to control their anger better.
Martial arts and meditation can go hand in hand. Some types of martial arts start off with breathing and meditation exercises to clear your mind of negative thoughts, and make your child calm before class begins. Take Choi Kwang Do for example: this is a Korean martial art which preaches gentleness and self-control. Every class begins and ends with a short breathing and meditation session where students relax their body, clear their mind and focus on the task ahead. That doesn’t sound very aggressive at all!
It’s clear to see that martial arts making kids more aggressive is a common misconception amongst parents. Once you’re educated on what classes entail, and understand the benefits of martial arts for your children’s mental health, it becomes easy to see that martial arts do not make your children aggressive. It is instead a calming influence on them - helping them to be focused, disciplined and allowing them to channel their aggressive energy safely.