Martial arts is not just about self-defense. With proper teaching and time, it also becomes an effective tool to develop social and life skills. Learning focus is one of the top reasons parents bring their children to our school.
I recall one of our students who needed a heavy dose of focus development. When his mom brought him in for his first lesson, this kid was off the wall. I don't mean that in a metaphorical sense. I mean literally, this kid was bouncing off everything and anything he could find: walls, pads, mirrors….
It was ok though. This is the kind of child that martial arts instructors specialize in teaching. His training taught him three things:
First, karate gave him an outlet to burn excess energy. Karate is great at keeping kids moving and allows them to channel their energy in a safe and appropriate way.
Next, he learned self-discipline. He learned the proper times and places to unleash his energy on the world (i.e., not on mirrors). He also learned when and how to control his mind and body so he could complete tasks.
Lastly, his karate taught him how to set goals and achieve them. He learned methods and skills that kept him on task. And he learned ways to reclaim his focus whenever it might escape him.
Now, this all didn't happen overnight. It took time, and in addition to his own hard work, it took the patience and persistence of his parents, teachers, and role models. The results were phenomenal. He began to excel in school and sports, and later he graduated college with a Master’s degree. Today he teaches children with special needs, a task that not only requires focus on his part, but also requires him to impart the importance of focus on his students.
Bill Leith's training at Buzz Durkin's Karate School began in 1995. He's credited his martial arts training with improving his self-discipline, confidence, and fitness.