3 Ways Martial Arts Supports Lifelong Learning (Martial Arts for Homeschoolers)

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Martial arts for homeschoolers? It’s not as unusual as you might think!

Actually, TONS of current and past NWSMA students are homeschoolers. This made me think: what is it about martial arts that appeals to homeschooled kids (and parents)?

There’s the obvious:

  • Martial arts is AWESOME! (Yeah, we hear it all the time)
  • Martial arts is a mind-body discipline. Students use both mind and body to learn, while developing and channeling a strong spirit.
  • Martial arts is year-round, and provides opportunities for longer-lasting friendships with classmates than seasonal team sports.
  • Martial arts is a traditional art, on the same level as music, theater, dance, and other folk & performance arts.

After conversations with some of our homeschool parents, what it really comes down to is that they believe martial arts supports the development of lifelong learners.

Click “more” to see my 3 reasons why martial arts supports this goal!

What is a lifelong learning anyway?

According to Wikipedia: Lifelong learning” is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability…

Yup, those sound like a lot of the reasons parents choose to homeschool. So how does martial arts help with that?

Arnis

Arnis partner drills.

  • 1. Martial artists learn through bodily experience, as well as mentally. When done correctly, that connected experience is deep and meaningful.

Martial arts is a mind-body discipline. Children get a physical workout, and a mental one! Alongside movements, they are asked to imagine and analyze scenarios for self-defense, synthesize and make choices about movements they choose, memorize and remember pattern sets and techniques, and attend class with a focused presence.

In today’s society, many people learn to separate the mind and the body. In school, children sit at desks for longer than is healthy. Kids are active bodies, and they need to move! Additionally, poor eating and exercising habits abound, and the stressful bombardment of daily life intrudes on our well being. (This is why yoga classes are so popular!)

Through long-term training in martial arts, your children will become healthier, happier human beings as they experience the connections between mind, body, and of course spirit!

Happy family all blinged up!

Happy family all blinged up!

  • 2. Martial arts increases self-motivation, self-confidence, as well as self-reliance.

At NWSMA, students must show self-motivation in learning and memorizing their techniques and requirements. We don’t just expect this–we talk to students about how to display effort, how to show focus, and encourage them to do the work without being told to.

The idea being, if they learn to do the work without being told to, harder tasks like tough reading assignments, room cleaning, projects in the garden, and eventually job searches will become easier to attack with self-motivation.

As for confidence, have you ever heard the term physical literacy? It’s an idea that says that all complex movements, especially sport-specific ones, are based on basic movements: walking, running, jumping, throwing, etc.

If a child grows up physically literate, they become more confident in their skills. Confidence leads to a greater ability to seek out exercise, which leads to better skills, and the continuing cycle supports lifelong health. It’s a great cycle to enter your child into at a young age!

Plus, self-defense skills help teach a child that they are strong and capable.

Kicking the focus pad.

Kicking the focus pad.

  • 3. Martial arts (at a family-oriented school) provides children with cross-generational friendships, mentors, and role models.

Whereas in team sports, children are among close peers, in the martial arts ESPECIALLY at family schools, children train alongside people of different ages and backgrounds. Including adults.

One of the most awesome things to watch is an adult student partnering up with a kid during drills, giving them advice and encouragement. Adults who train are powerful role models for kids, especially tweens and teens.

But it’s also really cool to see children form friendships with other kids of different ages, and work together towards a common goal: train hard, sweat hard, have fun together. Students are expected to be gentle towards and help younger or smaller students, recognizing their skill level and working with them.

Social interaction in a family martial arts school can be highly varied. Children will develop better social awareness because of this, as well as genuine respect for others and differences.

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Training in martial arts supports and promotes lifelong learning and physical activity, which makes it a great activity choice for homeschoolers AND public school students alike!

About Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree black belt, senior instructor, administrative assistant, and student of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Arnis at Northwest School of Martial Arts.
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