Provide a group experience
Making friends and finding a sense of belonging are two goals most teenagers have. Martial arts classes provide an environment to develop the social skills necessary to meet these goals. Sessions are group-oriented, so your teens will have to work alongside others every time they’re at the studio.
Additionally, everyone taking classes has a shared passion for what they’re learning, a desire to improve and experiences they can all relate to. This creates a sense of belonging – your teens are part of a tight-knit group of martial artists.
Depending on the school, your teens will take classes with people both the same age and older, presenting an opportunity to find role models. The instructor can, of course, act as a mentor, teaching your teens lessons both on the mats and off of them. Other students can be role models, too, especially those who are older than your teen. Advanced students know what it’s like to struggle with a form or move and can offer advice. They also understand feeling frustrated when the instructor won’t teach them a new move. Advanced students act as sounding boards to your kids, providing encouragement and guidance.
Give them a healthy outlet
School, issues with friends, fights with parents: Being a teen can be emotionally messy. Martial arts, however, provide a healthy outlet that lets teens vent their frustrations and maintain control. Exercise in general releases endorphins that improve your mood, but beyond that, martial arts can help your teens feel like they have more say in their lives. They can throw and block punches, perform sequences and spar with others – all impressive physical feats. But martial arts isn’t just about throwing all of your frustration into a powerful punch; your teens will be expected to exercise control both in how they move and the force in their blows. The emotional-regulation skills they pick up at the studio can seamlessly translate to their daily lives.
Teenage years have a strange way of making confident kids into insecure ones. They’re trying to figure out who they are and their place in the world. And while martial arts can’t answer those questions for them, they can help your teens feel like capable and independent people. The longer your teens study their martial art, the more they’ll be able to do. Plus, knowing they can defend themselves and keep their cool in stressful situations will give them confidence in the face of everyday obstacles like tests.