Children who are socially awkward often struggle to engage with others. But shyness can be really common with kids. So you may have wondered will martial arts assist my child in overcoming shyness?
Here’s what I’ve seen:
Martial arts will help kids to be less shy and more outgoing when connecting with their peers both on and off of the mats. Shyness gets reduced as a result of the measured improvement of the techniques and the camaraderie with the other students.
But there are a number of factors in martial arts that can help with shyness.
I’m reminded of the story of Brian “T-City” Ortega who is a top UFC fighter and a very skilled BJJ fighter. He originally came to Rener Gracie’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school when he was a young teen.
At that time, he barely spoke to anyone. But despite that and the fact that he couldn’t afford tuition, Gracie took him as a student, and under his wing, he has blossomed into both an outstanding martial artist and a very confident and outspoken young man.
Anxiety and behavioral inhibitions are common in shy children in social situations.
As a parent, you may have noticed that your child has their gaze fixed on the floor. This is one sign of shyness that can be easily eliminated through martial arts.
Martial arts encourage engagement, which is ideal for allowing them to freely interact socially.
But how, specifically, does it help with shyness? And are all martial arts the same in terms of their ability to help? And is it the same for boys and girls?
— violet bill (@starsbills) October 18, 2020
How does Karate help a child overcome shyness?
Karate helps children with shyness as they naturally become more confident as their techniques improve. But the Kiai that is yelled throughout the traditional Japanese katas also helps students find their voice and their inner strength.
In children, shyness is associated with low self-respect, which can be inherited or picked up. And if not addressed early on, this could become a stigma.
Martial arts, among other physical activities, like Karate, for example, is a better instrument for improving any child’s social lifestyle. This is because, first and foremost, it deals with one-on-one interactive education.
And shy kids feel more at ease with just one individual in a room than they do with a crowd.
For example, it doesn’t take long for shy children to bond with other kids once they feel at ease with the instructor.
Karate is just one of many martial arts, and communication with instructors and fellow classmates will slowly but surely bring out the real Kevin.
But what about teenage girls? Is Karate right for them too?
In a recent article, I discussed the best martial art for teenage girls. Females need to protect themselves in this time and age, but if it’s not something they’re comfortable with, they won’t stick with it. So, picking the right one is crucial!
Just click that link to read it on my site.
— Colleen’s Martial Art Corner, LLC (@ColleenBurns19) March 15, 2018
What is the best age to start martial arts to help a child with anxiety?
The best age to start martial arts for children with anxiety is between the ages of 7-10. At this age, they have the focus and maturity to learn the techniques and stick with them long-term. As anxiety in children peaks in the early teen years, this gives children a few years of training prior to that.
But four-year-olds, believe it or not, can start learning martial arts!
Don’t worry – safety is monitored at all levels. Training at that stage is all about having fun, frolicking, and a little bit of repetitious movement. The youngest students will not be doing anything dangerous.
Most dojos use this approach. However, it’s a good idea to scout the dojo ahead of time and ask questions regarding age levels.
Although not every dojo accepts children this young, your child can begin arts like Taekwondo and Karate at this age. As they start school, they will learn the values of respect and gain confidence.
But what is the best martial art to help with anxiety?
In a recent article, I discussed how Karate helps with anxiety. It’s vital to remember that anxiety is a feeling, and all feelings pass. But if those feelings linger, it could be a sign of something bigger. In that case, will martial arts still help?
Just click that link to read it on my site.
A martial art is the key to developing your child’s confidence to take on the world. Great children’s classes #Brighton #Hove #Taekwondo #BrightonMartialArts #Classes #Fitness #Fitfam #fightingfit https://t.co/RAJYQIzKTj pic.twitter.com/aKEBLJc0y0
— Brighton Taekwon-Do 🌸 (@TKDinBrighton) November 20, 2017
Do martial arts help with confidence?
Martial arts do help gain confidence as the mastery of the techniques over time naturally improves one’s self-esteem and feeling of accomplishment. But advancing in belt colors is also a marker for improvement and often results in students being more confident.
Every time you come up to your classes as a martial artist, whether you realize it or not, you are building your confidence. Simply bowing and entering your dojo requires bravery, and each time you do it, you grow stronger.
And it’s more than just knowing that you’ll be able to protect yourself better. There’s the assurance that comes from mastering a skill or overcoming a physical difficulty.
If you are an adult, you are aware that the butterflies you experience when sparring or about to perform your kata in front of your instructor and classmates are the same butterflies you experience when asked to give an important presentation or approach your boss for a raise.
With each class, you are “training” your confidence, making it stronger. You are conditioning yourself to focus and perform well under pressure, regardless of the circumstances.
But aside from confidence, what other behaviors are martial arts likely to help my child with?
In a recent article of mine (you can click the link, it will take you to my website), I discussed how Karate could help with your child’s behavior. Other than confidence, certain behaviors can be learned and absorbed.
Click the link to find out how.
Whether through martial arts lessons or competing in martial arts tournaments, every time you push yourself to practice, you’re creating confidence and a stronger you – on the inside and out — with every punch and kick.
Here are some photos from Martial Arts after school club. Looks like the children had great fun! pic.twitter.com/JJikPeRCyX
— High Street Primary Academy (@HighPrimary) September 27, 2019
What is the best afterschool activity for shy kids?
The best afterschool activities for shy kids include team activities such as theater or dance, team sports, or martial arts. The group setting of all of those naturally encourages camaraderie and boosted confidence through improved performance also helps with shyness.
Shyness can be so severe that youngsters avoid participating in school activities. They may even refuse to participate in enjoyable extracurricular activities such as sports, school plays, or volunteer projects.
Parents and instructors can help timid youngsters come out of their shells and form friendships with other children.
Let’s dive deep into some of those things I mentioned to see which one might be best for your child:
1. Music, theater, and dance
There is a certain freedom in the performing arts, and many children enjoy it for this reason. Not only that, but youngsters tend to learn a lot about history and culture while performing.
The performing arts aid in the development of your child’s physical, artistic, social, and public speaking abilities. It also aids in the development of a child’s memory and improvisation skills.
Drama club helps shy children who have a talent for performing become more confident and social.
Children learn how to work well as a team, strategize, and gain endurance via sports like basketball and football.
Every sport, whether performed in a team or alone, has something positive to give your child.
3. Martial Arts
Martial arts promote self-control and self-discipline, which will aid children with ADHD because these are abilities that are undeveloped in them. They also aid in the development of your child’s social skills and physical development.
There are numerous possibilities for kids’ afterschool activities.
Discuss your child’s interests with them and see what they like. Youngsters with high energy may favor athletics or dance, whereas children with low energy may prefer calmer hobbies such as book clubs, culinary classes, or pottery.
We gave Jonathan and his brother Nicolas their first stripes today! So proud of them, especially Jonathan who is shy and I’ve been trying extra hard to support! #teamSyndicate #bjj #mystudents #kids うちの生徒にストライプをくれた！上達している！誇らしい！ @syndicatemma pic.twitter.com/IleI0CaiDp
— Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) August 2, 2018
What martial art is best for shy kids?
The best style of martial art for shy kids is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as it has students working closely with other students as opposed to focusing on solo movements such as kata or kicking a bag.
Shy kids, in practice, should be treated like normal kids when trying to help them select martial arts.
Although there will be a challenge in trying to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are, as they do not “display” publicly, there is always that environment that feels homely for them.
It is in this homely environment that they exhibit their strengths, and that is where you can get to know them better. Once you notice these, choosing a martial art suited to their personality will be very much easier.
BJJ and wrestling can be adapted to any personality.
These arts can assist a shy or introverted child in speaking out, as well as persons who are hyperactive because they aid with breathing.
Both arts teach you how to unwind and think. When you are nervous and high-strung, you cannot execute a move properly since one false move will cause you to lose to your opponent.
Many children with ADHD have used BJJ to learn how to calm down and collect themselves.
BJJ is a thinking sport. To excel at it, you must go out of yourself and teach your mind to settle down and just digest all you learn.
I’ve also seen some kids who were tormented in school acquire confidence. Not just because they know they can defend themselves, but also because they see themselves excel in the sport. This gives them a feeling of self-respect even outside the mats.
But if you choose Karate, what are some of the other advantages?
In my recent article, I outlined all of the advantages of Karate. I even got into the 1 unusual advantage that most parents don’t think of.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Lastly, Aikido is an excellent choice for shy or quiet children, as well as those who are bullied.
Many Aikido students were initially shy but have subsequently emerged from their shells.
As previously stated, before enrolling your child in a martial art, educate yourself on the benefits to your child’s mental and physical development.
In the starting paragraphs, we looked at how Karate helps a child overcome shyness.
We then discussed the best age to start martial arts to help a child with anxiety. We followed that up with whether martial arts help with confidence.
We then checked the best afterschool activity for shy kids and rounded up with what martial art is best for shy kids.