Many children struggle with school, and for a good reason. Focusing and following rules for seven consecutive hours is difficult. Although this is understandable, it is still upsetting and frustrating to see a child struggling with school. Luckily, there are many ways that scientists and teachers have found that can help a student who is struggling to learn, struggling to focus, struggling to follow the rules or all three. Martial arts are one idea because they are a practical way that can greatly improve a student’s school performance. There are many lessons to be learned in the dojo. Here are a few.

Martial arts promote focus and improved concentration. Like it or not, kids are going to be more able to focus on things that they find interesting. That means, if a kid is excited about a martial art, they will be more able to concentrate during the lesson. The good news about this is that kids can learn to focus and concentrate better. Focusing is a skill that can be improved with time and practice. Some kids may start with a better ability to focus, and they might be more equipped for school initially because they have a longer attention span. Any kid can learn to focus for longer periods of time, though, if they practice paying attention to something they enjoy. This activity can be reading or chess or a martial art. As they learn and pay attention, they are improving their concentration without even realizing it. Soon, this will pay off in school. Since it’s easier to focus, it takes less effort to pay attention, and school performance will improve as a result. If it seems like a long shot, try it out. Parents will be shocked with the results, while kids will enjoy their new favorite pass time.

Martial training will help teach hard work and dedication. Any kind of martial art, be it karate or judo or anything else, requires hard work in order to succeed. For instance, if you are working up through the belts, it takes a huge amount of hours of practice and hard work to work up to a black belt. There might be some failures, but if it is something a kid wants, they’ll keep at it and eventually succeed. This achievement can encourage kids to work harder in other disciplines and other areas in their life. Working hard to achieve something a kid is interested in can teach them how important it is to work hard. It also teaches them what great things they can achieve. Any type of martial art has specific results that can give kids a sense of achievement: they broke a board, they earned a belt, they won a match. Academics are typically less able to be quantified. It’s hard to tell if you’re learning something because it’s all in your head. In martial training, you can point to achievements and feel great about yourself. For these reasons, training can be great for encouraging hard work and dedication in kids.

Participating in a dojo will help children express feelings in a healthy, productive way. For young boys especially, childhood and adolescents can be angry, frustrating times. This frustration can cause fights or other troubling behavior that can contribute to decreased school improvement. Martial arts allow kids to get this frustration out in a healthy way. Exercise is a great way to get out frustration, and it’s very healthy for growing children. In addition, the theme in many classes for younger kids emphasizes the importance of only fighting at the dojo or in self-defense. Teachers at a dojo can be a good mentor for some kids, and if they’ve resisted following other rules in the past, they may be more inclined to respect this teacher and resist fighting at school or in other social instances. Overall, the physical challenge of a martial art can be very beneficial to a kid, both because of the release of frustration and because of the benefits of exercise.

So, if your kid is pestering you to let them start in a dojo, even if it is an expensive or time-consuming endeavor, it might be beneficial to encourage them to start. Frustration from a poor performance in school isn’t just frustrating for a parent; it’s frustrating for a child as well. Trying out a martial art can help a student improve performance and relieve this frustration as well as giving them an outlet in which they can be successful with less effort. In short, a martial art isn’t just about exercise or companionship; it is about hard work and dedication; it’s about focus and concentration. There are so many lessons to be learned that can improve mental health, physical health and school performance. If it’s right for the kid, it can be a godsend, and it can change lives.