There’s an old saying children don’t do what you tell them to do, they do what they see you do. Martial arts are great from this point of view as children are taught to respect their training partners and their instructor. Children are also encouraged as they progress to help newer students. I have noticed many of the children I teach can’t wait to help other students, this should always be encouraged and rewarded. Helping others gives children a real sense of responsibility, achievement and most of all self-esteem. School is not always the best place to learn these leadership skills because of the numbers of children, and lack of teacher’s time per student, plus the fact bully’s love to target other children who stand out from the crowd. Sad fact but it’s true. Bullying in the place of training (Dojo) does not exist. Teaching children to become leaders does not involve feeding the ego, feeding the ego leads to bullying and egotistical behaviour.
Learning martial arts is a great social activity encouraging children to make friends, be competitive with each other without aggression and become the best they can be. Martial arts are a constant battle with one’s self, it develops self-discipline, self-control and most important self-sovereignty. In other words when a child is confident and happy within themselves, they are also at peace with those and the world around them. If a child can be happy with the way they are progressing and be inspired to do better by watching and training with other children around them rather than looking at them with a green eye or jealousy this is the making of a future leader.
We can’t be winners all the time, we can’t win at everything. We can lose a fair few battles, but still win the war. Martial arts are a battle with yourself, training in martial arts is a quest for perfection and this mindset rubs off on all other areas of life. To succeed in life, we must have perseverance. Very few of us are born with pure talent that will take us through to a life of fulfilment, and personal success. Many of those who have been blessed with such natural talent sometimes never succeed because they don’t have the necessary determination, self-discipline and perseverance to make their natural talents and gifts work for them. Hard work and determination will beat talent every time in the arena of life.