Does the martial arts teach children about discipline?
You may be thinking of enrolling your child in martial art classes and you may have heard that it’s great for instilling discipline!
There are certainly a lot of schools claiming it does.
The ‘practice’ of martial arts instils “Self-discipline” Yes! Because the true study of martial arts is a lot more than merely learning how to kick and punch or defend yourself.
Let’s talk about “does it teach discipline”.
This is all down to the individual school and instructors. The truth of the matter is that any qualified martial artist can teach a child to punch and kick. It’s the values the instructor will teach by being a role model, that, perhaps can make the biggest difference to the development of self discipline.
I’m sure you’ve seen the ‘karate kid’ movie with the Cobra Kai students training. The instructor is very mean and only interested in building strong fighters. His students display discipline out of fear.
Mr Miagi’s student “Daniel” displays respect and discipline out of love and admiration. Yet they are both teaching martial arts.
Chidlren can act disciplined when in a certain environment, for example, well behaved in school then the opposite at home.
Teaching discipline, or what I prefer to teach: “Self-discipline” is having them understand what is expected of them in different situations; when its fine to be silly and when its time to be focused and serious, encouraging them to listen to those that want to help them.
The martial arts teaching of self-discipline is having the children understand that in order to become the best version of themselves, they have to apply the principles in all areas of their lives. Being disciplined enough to brush their teeth without needing to be reminded, to be responsible for making sure their karate uniform, belt, training equipment is packed in their bag, (and not to blame mum or dad if it’s not!), to take responsibility to tidy their belongings away and slowly become more self reliant, these are the hallmarks of emerging self discipline.
The discipline cues used in classes when greeting instructors “hello sir” “hello mam” is transferred over to saying morning mum/dad, or in school, “Morning Miss/Mrs __”
The culture of martial arts is to better yourself through daily practice, which is why it’s so great for children to learn, and learn early.
There are so many life skills taught in martial arts that I cannot possibly write them all here.
There is also another type of “discipline” The discipline of constant improvement.
Children learn to study and practise to achieve their advancements. This takes discipline because there will be times when it becomes difficult, boring, or an individual can become lazy. They learn to overcome these obstacles.
We transfer this knowledge over into other areas of the child’s life, such as the discipline to go to school and try their very best every day.
The discipline of good manners, being a good friend, the discipline to help out family members, all these are additional, beneficiary traits.
Discipline is not easy. Let’s face it, as adults we find it hard enough to stick to a New Year’s resolution, so imagine how tough it can be for youngsters with so much to learn. Discipline, self-discipline is all about becoming “A Better you!”
Does the martial arts teach discipline?
I say it’s not so much the martial art that’s taught, that teaches discipline. It’s the culture, the Sensei’s (the teachers), the attitudes of the school as a whole, and the encouragement given to children to learn, that teaches self discipline.
Founder of SOLO martial arts System