Martial Arts and ADHD

One of the most common calls I receive inquiring about classes is “Can martial arts help my child who has ADHD?”. My answer always is “It depends on the child but I can honestly say you will begin to see changes in your child after they’ve been enrolled at least a few months with us.” What about martial arts helps?  Is it mystic or magic?  No!  Here are some of the many benefits your child can get out of an involvement in a good quality martial arts program such as the one we offer here at Phoenix.

  • They achieve goals both big and small. – All of our kids classes have small goals they meet in the way of receiving stripes for their belt.  Our curriculum is broken down into three parts: technique, self defense and form.  Once they have shown us they know one of those they awarded a stripe for their belt.  Once they have all three we know they are ready to test and that brings them to their even bigger goal of obtaining their next belt.  The small goals of earning stripes keeps them engaged and feeling accomplished while they work towards the big goal of the next belt.
  • They learn self control and concentration. – You will always hear Renshi Mike talk about the importance of focus to the kids.  We like to play games and have fun with the kids but we also expect them to know when to hit the “focus switch”.  Demanding this focus and attention can help them stay away from danger by being aware of their surroundings, help them stay more focused in other areas of their life such as school and you begin to notice they start to learn how to moderate their behavior instead of others reminding them.
  • Gives them an outlet for getting rid of excess energy. – How many times have you heard someone make the remark that kids don’t play today the same way we did when we were their age?  That’s because on most occasions they would prefer to stay indoors on tablets, phones, computers or video games.  Kids are bundles of energy and if they aren’t provided with an outlet to let some of that energy off the end result is similar to a pressure cooker exploding!  Here we give the kids a good idea of what it’s like to be active by doing a great, appropriate workout, staying busy with our classes and of course playing a cool game once it’s over.  We also like to talk to our kids about creating healthy lifestyles for themselves by eating well, benefits of active play and how exercise can not only help your body but also your mind.
  • Martial arts is about individual growth and not team competition. – Team sports are great and can provide a lot of good lessons; however, a team is only as good as its weakest player.  In martial arts the kids are as good as they want to be and the work they put in shows immediately.  They set their bar and are responsible if they make it or not.  This is also a great way to show them accountability.  If they aren’t practicing at home and only when they’re here we can tell cause it shows in their performance.  We show them they can achieve any goal they set their minds to and succeed in martial arts and life.
  • Repeated practice of material makes learning more manageable and fun. – Each belt has its own set of curriculum and our students repeatedly practice just their own until it’s like second nature.  After much repeated practice it becomes muscle memory and you’ll notice routines beginning to form from such repetition.  This can carry over into school, home and community involvement which helps to create a more well rounded child.  Kids thrive on routines and love to know what to expect.
  • Martial arts helps with physical and emotional coordination. – Martial arts is by nature very physical therefore the more it’s practiced and done the better you get.  You’ll begin to notice your child is able to perform physically for longer and without tiring as quick, their hand eye coordination has improved greatly and their balance and center of gravity is better.  Repetitive movements can be very useful for kids who struggle with motor skills.

If you have a child that has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and you’ve looked for ways to help them cope then trying martial arts would be a great place to start.   We provide a safe, fun and warm environment for all of our students and would love to be given the opportunity to help you and your family!

Dawn Bunton

Lead Instructor/Office Manager


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