Experts agree that martial arts improves academic performance in school-aged children. It’s true! And who doesn’t want their child to have better focus and higher grades?
In fact, participating in physical activity, such as martial arts, has a direct impact on the behavior and development of the brain.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes, and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance.
Here are three ways martial arts sets kids up for academic success:
According to a recent study, there is a link between children’s cardiorespiratory fitness and their performance in school. In short, the study determined that the more athletic a student is, the better their grades are in core subjects like mathematics and reading. Participating in an aerobic style of martial arts such as kickboxing or Muay Thai, can enhance executive function and overall brain health.
Additionally, another study revealed that children with higher levels of fitness perform better on a relational memory task. This is in part due to having a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for relational memory performance. Reputable martial arts programs require students to memorize specific striking combos or forms at each belt rank. Of course, developing the ability to recall key facts and concepts quickly is critical to doing well on academic exams.
Best of all, exercise has been shown to improve creative thinking. Martial arts drills such as sparring require the student to creatively determine how to strike and defend themselves against a resisting opponent. Practicing this creative approach to thinking and problem solving is key to achieving academic success, especially in STEM classes.
Improved Classroom Behavior
Regular participation in a structured martial arts training program enhances concentration and focus often resulting in improved classroom behavior. Did you know that mixed martial arts training has been shown to improve social skills and lessen behavioral problems in boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Martial arts training encourages students to develop and practice strategies for self-control. Developing this skill can help children with ASD learn to better control their emotions as well as inhibiting rigid/impulsive behaviors.
Additionally, mixed martial arts classes provide a positive environment for hyperactive kids to release energy while improving their ability to concentrate. Kickboxing and Muay Thai classes combine high-intensity exercises with drills that require students to focus on hitting specific targets with technical accuracy. Children learn self-control and discipline while participating in regular physical activity that has been proven to decrease the severity of ADHD symptoms and improve cognitive function.
Boost In Self-Confidence
It is well-known that students who are more confident are better problem solvers. Alternatively, children who struggle with self-confidence tend to struggle with test anxiety. Fortunately, martial arts is great for improving self-confidence in children. Most martial arts programs will have frequent opportunities for students to demonstrate the skills they have learned in front of their peers and instructors. This may be in the form of a competitive tournament or even a test for a new belt rank. These opportunities to have their hard work and commitment recognized serves as a way to help boost their self-confidence. It also reinforces the idea that hard work and practice lead to progress. Consequently, they’ll be more likely to hit the books for extra study time when it comes to their academics.
It’s easy to see how participating in martial arts improves academic performance. Whether your goal is boosting your child’s self-confidence, improving their classroom behavior, or helping them score better grades, enrolling in a reputable martial arts program may hold the key to a less stressful, more successful school year.
Ready to experience how martial arts improves academic performance for your child? Try a FREE training session at Invictus! Which class below are you most curious about?
Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)
Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)
Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)
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