Guest post by Evolve MMA, Asia’s premier championship brand for martial arts. It has the most number of World Champions on the planet. Named as the #1 ranked martial arts organization in Asia by CNN, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, Evolve MMA is the top rated BJJ gym in Singapore.
Martial arts training is both a physical and mental journey. Those who begin training undergo a transformation within the body and the mind. Training’s effects on mental acuity, in particular, is significant.
Many who take up martial arts training experience improvement in all physiological aspects. This is also a major reason parents are enrolling their children in kids martial arts classes. Martial arts training has a myriad of profound benefits on mental health, especially in children. A prime example of this is the improvement in attention span.
In the age of technology, when electronic devices, digital information, and stimulation are within arm’s reach at all times, kids encounter constant distraction. Because of these distractions that fight for a piece of attention, it gets increasingly more difficult for kids to focus on any one task at hand.
Martial arts has the power to build and develop focus, teaching kids how to calm the mind and develop a singleness of purpose. This is not to say that kids start tuning out certain elements of reality, but rather learn how to prioritize and channel their thoughts on completing tasks systematically.
Martial arts consists of a task-oriented training structure. In turn, children learn how to centralize their focus by improving their attention span. Let’s take a quick look at how martial arts is able to achieve that.
Today, Evolve Daily shares four ways martial arts can improve your kid’s attention span.
1) Better control of the mind
Martial arts training is an exercise in control — learning how to tame the wild nature of our mind, body, and soul. It unifies all aspects of our humanity, teaching us how to move our physical and spiritual bodies in harmony.
This sort of focus and mental acuity requires firm control of the mind.
In order to develop powerful striking technique, for example, it requires better control of muscle movement in the brain. Through training repetition, and the constant awareness of how the muscles expand and contract, students are able to develop sharper minds.
In children, the benefits of improved sharpness and control of the mind include better focus and subsequently, better performance at school, for example. It also leads to better behavior.
All of these mental aspects of martial arts training work together to improve our children’s attention span.
2) Meditation calms the brain
Kids today live in a constant state of fast-paced, changing environments, that frankly, are sometimes hard to keep up with. Martial arts, although fast-paced in nature, teach kids how to slow down processes into malleable tasks. It teaches them how to be task-oriented in achieving goals.
It’s one important way martial arts teaches kids how to calm their minds, therefore improving mental clarity.
Meditation and mindfulness is a major component of martial arts training. Students are often taught how to meditate and clear the mind before participating in rigorous training. It allows them to train with efficiency and effectiveness, when mental distractions are diminished.
Research has suggested mindfulness and meditation, both important in martial arts training, are forms of exercise that have beneficial effects on the attention span of an individual.
3) Finer attention to detail
Martial arts training is nuanced and very detailed. There are intricate micro techniques for every technique to be learned. As such, a fine attention to detail is required to absorb all the knowledge that training offers.
This is also why some martial arts disciplines take a lifetime to master, and why there is always something new learned every day.
Through training, kids learn how to pay attention to the small details. Turning the first two knuckles over to execute a proper punch is a textbook boxing technique. Turning the hips inward on a roundhouse kick is an essential detail not to be missed in Muay Thai. These are just two examples of many of the finer details of martial arts techniques.
By teaching kids how to pay attention to details, it improves their mental and spatial awareness. It keeps them sharp and more focused, thus improving their attention spans.
4) A strong body builds a strong mind
The physical conditioning that comes with martial arts training helps build a strong mind. A lot of people turn to martial arts to improve their physical well-being, without realizing that it helps improve their brain function too.
Kids, in particular, can benefit a lot from the physical effects of martial arts training. After all, the mind is a muscle, and perhaps the most important of all.
Martial arts training will get kids physically and mentally in shape unlike any other physical fitness program. They learn how to take care of their bodies, not just through physical exercise, but also through better diet and nutrition.
Furthermore, they are surrounded by like-minded people — fellow students and incredible instructors who have their best interests at heart. They also learn how to embrace failure, and use it to their advantage by learning about the power and limitations of the mind and body.
All of this works in favor of clearing the mind from all the noise, and improving attention and focus in our kids.
So if you’re looking for the right activity to get your kids involved in to develop and grow, give martial arts a try!