When we talk about children, we’re talking about the future of the world. We may not be here to enjoy their deeds and the things that they’re going to create and evolve into, but at the very least we have the responsibility to set them on the proper path. In order to set children on the path to becoming who they’re supposed to be, we have to give them tools and guidance. That’s the responsibility of parents, guardians and teachers.
Children are like seedlings; they have to be planted in good soil that’s going to help them grow. They have to be cared for, nourished, and nurtured. They need guidance in the form of preening and pruning to help them grow straight. Starting martial art training for a young child is the beginning of their mind and body growing in a positive direction, a positive path in their life. As martial art teachers, we want to be able to give them focus, mental and physical focus that they may not get from regular school activities.
Kung Fu training engages their young minds and bodies and may tap into a latent talent or ability where regular academic studies fall short. In Chinese we say 文武雙全 “mun mo serng cheun,” meaning that scholarly and martial pursuits are necessary counterparts of each other. Both are required. The child needs both literary schooling as well as the physical aspect of learning martial arts. We want both a strong body and a strong mind for our children’s future. In this day and age everyone needs those two aspects in order to survive and thrive. That’s what teaching kids Kung Fu is about; we want them to survive and thrive in the world.
People of all ages can train and derive benefit, but training as a kid takes advantage of a unique window of opportunity. Kids are growing constantly and have boundless energy. Stretching muscles and tendons, energizing the body and the mind, feeds into this process of growth. It develops a positive routine, and if they hold onto that, they will be healthier when they get older. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to be able to hold onto those healthy habits.
I didn’t have the luxury of my parents enrolling me in a martial art class. No one gave me the tools to express myself. I knew there was something missing from my life, and I had to create my own opportunities. So it is amazing that there are parents willing to help and foster their children by giving them martial art training. Training Kung Fu opens up a whole new world of information and knowledge. Regardless of whether you become a martial art master, it’s amazing to have the confidence to be able to stand up in front of a crowd of your peers and execute a martial art technique or form and feel good about yourself. It’s a positive life experience. Even if they don’t stick with martial arts forever, hopefully kids will look back on their training with fondness and be able to access physical and mental tools that they can use to make their own lives better. So if you want your kids to be strong, well behaved, and grow up with the right moral values and steadfast confidence, Kung Fu training is one of the ways to do this.
Teaching Kung Fu to children is incredibly important. This is not only because of the physical techniques, but because of the intangible aspects children derive from training. It teaches them to be responsible and holds them to a higher standard. Kung Fu encompasses physical movements that kids will have fun doing, but also focus their young minds so they don’t become distracted. Kids need confidence as well as assertiveness and determination. A lot of children have issues with shyness, bullying or various insecurities. If the child is guided properly by the martial art instructor, they can overcome and surpass these shortcomings through their training. They can become more capable of expressing themselves and standing up for themselves. They will develop a better attitude and energy that academics alone cannot provide. Martial arts training is a good balancing point. Children gain self-confidence and self-discipline that will feed back to them later in life. As a teen and young adult they will be able to call on powers and abilities that others may never have nurtured. Through training Kung Fu they will be able to access these powers and abilities and put them to use for the rest of their lives.