Martial arts instruction has long been recognized for its ability to turn average or sub par academic students into honor students achieving A’s and B ‘s. Parents know that better grades in school can strongly influence a child ‘s overall success in life, and feedback from parents across the country indicates that there are an extraordinary number of cases where children involved with martial arts training are improving academically, sometimes dramatically. What causes these martial arts students to have such positive academic transformations? To give you a better understanding of this phenomenon, here are some of the theories that may explain how marital arts helps students succeed in school.
Hierarchy of Human Needs
Dr. Abraham Maslow was a famous psychologist who proposed that people have 5 basic levels of needs. His theory suggests that we must satisfy lower level needs before we can move on to achieve higher level needs. Following Maslow’s theory, we need to feel secure and protected from the outside world before our mind can focus on attaining higher level needs, such as self-actualization, prosperity, success, self-respect, and self-fulfillment.
According to Dr. Maslow, after fulfilling level one needs (food, water, shelter, etc.) our inner self concentrates on level 2, “Safety/Security Needs.” The root benefit of martial arts training is learning the skills of self-defense. Martial arts provides our young people with the knowledge of self-preservation and security, enabling them to concentrate on academics without distractions and anxiety stemming from insecurity, thus moving on to higher level needs.
Breathing & Meditation
Martial arts training incorporates various breathing techniques. Some may be classified as forms of meditation. As students progress with their training, they learn to master their breathing, which can affect their physical state. These “meditational” experiences help students deal more effectively with daily stress and pressures associated with exams, quizzes, and deadlines, keeping them relaxed and focused to produce better results.
Self-esteem is having a positive impression and respect of oneself. Students who have strong self-esteem are more likely to succeed in school, or at any goals they set. Martial arts training teaches students the importance of mental discipline, which develops strong character traits such as self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect. Martial arts instructors nurture a student’s self-esteem through positive reinforcement of achieved goals. Physical activity improves health and appearance that are also linked to one’s self-esteem. It is easier to have a positive impression of yourself when you look good and feel good. Martial arts makes staying active easy… it’s fun!
Respect for teachers, parents, adults, and fellow students is an important part of martial arts training. Students learn to respect those with higher knowledge, which promotes positive relationships with authority figures outside of our school as well. As students’ martial arts knowledge develops, it is equally important that they learn humility when respect for their knowledge is reciprocated.
To achieve black belt at our school, each student will be required to successfully complete a series of other rank promotions that lead to black belt. Martial arts training teaches students that you can achieve a long term goal by breaking the goal down into many short term objectives. These objectives represent interim goals that need to be accomplished in order for the long-term goal to be realized. Students learn the importance of goal setting strategies, which are invaluable scholastically, as well as in life. It doesn’t matter if you are a student in pre-school, grades school, high school, or college; martial arts can impact your scholastic results. Martial arts students learn that success requires commitment, determination, and hard work. We have tremendous confidence in our students to meet these challenges and produce excellent results that will last a lifetime
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The ‘Safety Tips Newsletter’ is redistributed by Master Ivan Ouellette of the Collingwood Martial Arts Centre. Issues will arrive every week or two.
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