4 Benefits Martial Arts classes offer different to a Sports Team

By Adrienne Brooks | August 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

Unsure whether to sign your child up for a sports team or a martial arts class? Not sure how to choose between the two?

Then you need to know the unique benefits offered by martial arts classes to help you make an informed decision. Martial arts involve working with a team of others and there is competition, personal growth and sportsmanship involved. When we look at soccer, football, tennis and other common school aged sports, this might make you think that martial arts will give your child exactly the same benefits

What you might not see are the fundamental differences between martial arts and other sports.

1. Real World Skills
The goals of most sports are physical progression along with the development of focus and teamwork skills – pretty standard. Martial arts is most certainly about the pursuit of physical, mental and social skills. Even though you may look at the activities during the class and see your child working as an individual, they learn teamwork as part of the academy experience, working with others to improve their own skills. In fact, we could say that martial arts fulfil all of the same skill type goals as do traditional sports.

There is, however, one major difference. Martial arts also offer real world skills including anti-bullying, assertive voice control and self-defence. These are skills that will literally serve the student for their entire lives. While the ability to throw a football or spike a volleyball might fade and not be applicable to life off the court, self-defence and awareness skills that are gained during martial arts are always going to be important and applicable. This marks a major difference between martial arts and other team sports.

2. Training includes Form and Application
Many sports involve rigorous physical training. For athletes who are serious about any sport, there is a certain level of commitment to physical training that is necessary for anyone. Martial art class training separates itself as it includes both form and practical application training. One informs the other, but that dual aspect is truly something unusual in sports.

3. Enlightenment and Control
Martial arts work to train the mind, in addition to the body. All sports require focus, but martial arts is something altogether different. The work of the martial artist is work that goes back a very long time, and has within its lineage paths that are about enlightenment and self-control on all levels. That is in part a necessity because of the nature of the practice.

When your child learns martial arts, they are learning kicks and punches – but the key is that there must be the control to not be successful at hurting others in the training environment while still working towards the ability to defend oneself should full force be necessary. That’s a tough thing to do! And it’s why the training of the martial artist is so different than the training in any other sport.

4. The Overarching Goal is Self-Mastery
The goal of most sports is to master that sport. Soccer players want to master soccer. Softball players want to master softball. Basketball players want to master basketball.

For martial artists, the goal is the mastery of the self. We are not only interested in learning the techniques of our discipline, but learning to be in control and empowered through all aspects of our lives. The most marked and amazing difference between martial arts and other sports is that accomplishment of self-mastery, which is so much more than a physical or even mental exercise.