It is a common misconception that martial arts practitioners are aggressive by nature. In fact, studies have proven quite the opposite; however, it is hard to shake the “Hollywood” portrayal of violence associated with martial arts.
For most, martial arts is merely a mixture of exercise and self-defense training. Those who don’t practice martial arts, typically don’t appreciate the psychological benefits that go along with the physical achievements. One of the most underappreciated aspects of martial arts is its ability to transform youth into confident, intelligent, and quick thinking athletes.
Does Learning to Fight Promote Aggression?
Many assume that boxing and martial arts training promotes aggression, especially in children and adolescent youths. The research, on the other hand, does not support that claim and hasn’t shown any correlation between attracting “at risk” youth or promoting violent behavior in those who practice martial arts.
Reasons for wanting to learn a discipline of martial arts are pretty much the same for the majority of teens and adults, and they include wanting to learn self defense, begin an exercise routine, and/or develop self-confidence.
A recent study showed that children participating in martial arts training scored no differently than their peers on a questionnaire designed to identify aggressive behavior.
Another study, focused on at risk youth, showed that after 10 weeks of martial arts training, student’s behaviors improved. Aggression and hostility levels in these subjects continued to lower the longer they were exposed to martial arts.
How Can Martial Arts Prevent Bullying?
Martial arts training can show a child how to prevent being bullied, not only by illustrating how to defend oneself, but by teaching a victim how to be self-assured and to manage the situation and diffuse it in a non-violent manner. Additionally, martial arts can take a child who demonstrates violence or disruptive behavior, offer him a sense of belonging, and teach him self-respect and to respect others.
If you, someone you know, or your child is being bullied or disruptive towards others, consider martial arts. You never know, they may just appreciate the challenge and thank you for it.