There are a variety of reasons for children to train in martial arts such as Aikido, Karate, Kung Fu, Aikido and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Gaining physical literacy skills, an increase in confidence and socialization skills, fitness, focus, self-control, respect, and self-discipline are the primary reasons. Any of those martial arts do well in promoting these intangibles in children.
Many of these martial arts have a ranking system, usually in the form of coloured belts. Testing/grading are often held at regular intervals. This is an excellent way for children to learn how to set and achieve goals.
While kids may gain a variety of skills from the aforementioned martial arts, there are excellent reasons for a child to try a Filipino Martial Art.
So let’s go down the list of outstanding benefits of training in Filipino Martial Arts:
(1) The Sounds: Children LOVE the clackety-clack of sticks. This is true when they are doing sinawali drills.
(2) May The Force Be With You: Kids know about Star Wars. They can be Rey or Kylo Ren. 🙂
(3) Eye-hand Coordination: Working with rattan sticks often tremendously improves a child’s eye-hand coordination. Coordinating sticks with a partner often requires focus and concentration. This translates to other physical activities like sports.
(4) Spatial Awareness: When children learn a new skill, it can be difficult for them to keep track of their arms and legs. On top of this, add in big awkward arm-extenders. When they pick up sticks for the first time, it becomes clear that they have no idea what the proper range and distance is. As they practice, this skill improves, and eventually they become space-judging masters! (Sensei Rachael Heffernan)
(5) Self Control, Self Confidence, and Respect: Children learn the consequences of hitting. Even if it’s just a smart tap on the thumb, it doesn’t take long to realize that hitting hurts. This is vitally important. It can give children enormous self-confidence in their own strength while at the same time teaching the importance of self-control and respect (Sensei Rachael Heffernan).
(6) Creative, Problem-Solving: As a child progresses through Filipino Martial Arts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills become more important. This is a real value that transfers to daily life.
(7) Going With the Flow: one of the tenets of Filipino Martial Arts is “go with the flow.” Through this, your child will learn to “go with the flow” instead of becoming frustrated with a life obstacle or banging their heads against a wall!
For Filipino Martial Arts instructors, feel free to use this list!
Please give credit to Brian Johns of Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts.