Fitness Kick for Kids
Apr 10, 2011 11:49PM
The martial arts tradition dates back more than 5000 years and has always been a popular way to train the youth and adults in many cultures around the world. Considered a form of high athletics, the complexity of the movements helps develop mental and physical attributes. Popular styles abound and include Kung Fu styles of China(there are over 400), Tae Kwon Do styles of Korea (over 8), Karate from Japan (over 30 different styles), Capoeira from Brazil developed by the descendants of African slaves, Prankration from Greece, Escrima from the Philipine islands and Muay Thai from Thailand.
Research has shown that training in the martial arts has a positive effect on children. Studies have shown that proper training maintained for eighteen months or longer under a qualified instructor results in lower aggression, increased self confidence, stronger immune systems and improvement in childhood health challenges such as asthma and other respiratory afflictions. In addition, those with conditions such as hyper/hypo activity and attention deficit disorder can benefit from the practice of these arts. The increased coordination and overall body awareness leads to an instinctive understanding of the proper use of nutrition.
When practicing martial arts movements the muscles that are exercised relate to those used in other sports. The muscles of the shoulders used in blocking and punching drills relate to those used in baseball and basketball for throwing, hitting and catching. Leg muscles involved in kicking, strengthen those involved in running sports. The breathing exercises used for increasing body power and stamina benefit those involved in swimming and singing. The pre-arranged movements or forms (some of which are hundreds of years old) also provide mental benefits by training the memory, which increases recall for academic work.