Getting a child started in Judo is something some parents hesitate to do due to their preconceived ideas on martial arts, combat sports or Judo specifically. However, being introduced to Judo at a young age is something for which I am forever grateful.
It has taught me so many lessons in life, and I would not be the same man I am without it. Putting aside how fit Judo gets you, I can think of five big reasons for kids to do the sport.
1. Self Awareness
Seeing their child excited about learning is something all parents strive to achieve. Judo is mentally and physically stimulating in a productive learning environment. By learning to synchronise their mind with their body, kids become very aware of themselves and others.
2. Flexibility and Balance
We all know children who are injury prone. The kids who seem to find ways of tripping over, getting stuck in strange spots and other creative ways of hurting themselves. Usually not the Judo kids though. By learning the techniques and movements involved in Judo children are twisted, turned, contorted and as a result increase their flexibility. These exercises also help kids maintain balanced posture even if they do stumble.
3. Concentration and Focus
When participating in a Judo class a student needs to remain focused so as to not injure themselves or their classmates. Also, Judo whilst appearing to be just a bunch of kids wrestling and play fighting actually teaches kids about balance, force production and biomechanics without them even realising.
4. Ethical Competition
Judo competitions are quite different from other ‘fights’. The process involves bowing to your opponent and the referee; these are acknowledgements of your opponent’s willingness to engage you in a bout and the referee’s position in control of the fight. The compulsory bowing and handshake upon completion of the fight means sportsmanship is paramount.
5. Self Defence
Though we hate to think of kids being in a violent setting there is a chance they may possibly be put in such a situation. Judo does not teach weapons fighting or even striking (punches and kicks) however they learn to grapple and control an opponent to defend long enough for a chance to run away unscathed. The confidence that Judo gives a child also helps to make them bully-proof.
BUT THIS BLOG IS NOT REALLY ABOUT BEING A KID!
You see, these five reasons are great for someonone who is just starting their life out,
but these five factors become phenomenal for people who have entered the latter years of their life. Fitness, social skills, agility, mental health, courage and wisdom; these are the crowning glory of a person’s life and the value of elders in the community.
As a kid growing up in Judo, I’ve been blessed to have been guided by people who had turned Judo’s attributes into their life goals.
As the saying goes ‘it’s not where you start that counts, it’s where you end up’. So the best reason I can give you about why your child should do Judo is because it will help them become the best person they can be.