Will Martial Arts Make My Child More Aggressive?


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To the uninitiated, martial arts look potentially violent. So if your child is naturally quick-tempered already, it’s common to wonder, “will martial arts make my child more aggressive?”

As a general rule, martial arts do not make children more aggressive. Children actually learn valuable self-regulation skills and breathing techniques which result in a calmer and more even-keeled attitude.

Now that being said, not all martial arts are the same.

You see, it is possible to educate a youngster to be extremely aggressive; I see it mainly in schools that place high importance on competitiveness and winning tournaments.

You’ve seen these dojos; they display trophies in the window and decorate their studios with images of children participating in combative sports where defeating your opponent is critical.

So in this article, we’ll do a deep dive into how to pick the best martial arts style and class to help, rather than hinder, a child’s aggressive tendencies.

Let’s get going.

Does Karate help kids with anger issues?

Karate is one of the martial arts that can help children with anger issues. Through discipline, as well as drills designed to safely release pent-up aggression, Karate will naturally help children be more self-regulated and calmer.

Many parents who contact Karate schools for the first time are concerned that training their children in martial arts may encourage playground violence.

It is a widely held belief that it induces aggression, whereas, in fact, the opposite is true.

It’s natural for children to kick and punch. But kicking and striking are merely the means to an end in martial arts. It is about developing self-control, discipline, respect, and endurance.

Karate is founded on historical concepts that emphasize honor, discipline, respect, and loyalty, with the warrior striving to improve their character.

Classes are serious, and students must stand still, listen, and respect their teachers.

In fact, many schools claim that dealing with aggressive youngsters and school bullies is where they have the most success. Because they teach self-control, they typically have a strong track record in coping with those who lash out.

Students acquire inner self-confidence such that they don’t feel the need to fight to prove themselves. In reality, you train to fight in order not to have to. Martial arts also teach you that sometimes avoiding the fight is the best course of action.

And, on a different note, Karate also helps with anxiety.

I talked about this in a recent article. As well as with shyness, Karate is a good diffuser of anxiety. But there’s 1 style of Karate that is better than others for anxiety.

Make sure to click the link and read the article on my website.

Are martial arts good for aggressive kids?

Participation in martial arts reduces aggression in children and is naturally beneficial for aggressive kids. And the more time a youngster spends in martial arts, the fewer aggressive tendencies they have.

(source)

As parents seeking a suitable activity for your children, it is reasonable that you have reservations about martial arts.

You might think that:

  1. Your child will become more aggressive or violent, especially if they are already aggressive.
  2. It will allow them to inflict greater harm on others.
  3. As they grow stronger and more skillful, we will lose control over them.

These concerns are entirely understandable.

But I can tell you that in all my years running a dojo, I have never seen an instance where teaching martial arts to a child resulted in them becoming more violent.

In fact, I’ve discovered that it makes violent children less violent.

Not only that, but they become more social, their confidence and school scores increase, and their overall health and well-being improve.

So, how do martial arts reduce hostility?

While the specific process is unknown, some experts believe that violence and aggression are caused by fear and that martial arts can help reduce fear and anxiety and so diminish violent responses.

Martial arts help modulate the fight or flight response, giving students more control over their emotions.

It also helps that martial arts programs create a safe and predictable setting with a consistent schedule, which helps students become less irritated (and hence less aggressive) when they reach their cognitive capacity.

Is Jiu-Jitsu good for kids with anger issues?

Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be very beneficial for children with anger issues as the techniques and warm-ups are very physical and allow for the release of tension, fear, and anxiety, which are the underlying causes of anger issues.

Anger stems from feelings such as frustration, anxiety, failure, worry, rejection, and so on, which most individuals experience regularly.

It might happen as a result of peer pressure or excessive competition. Anger eventually takes its toll on them, both emotionally and physically. Anger also impacts a person’s capacity to think logically and make sound decisions.

Jiu-Jitsu and some forms of BJJ are largely designed for self-defense.

But a Jiu-Jitsu class can be exhausting. There is usually a strenuous warm-up followed by the repetition of 1-3 techniques performed with multiple partners.

Exhaustion is the key.

That’s because once we rid our bodies of that excess tension, that’s when the real work begins. You see that tension (tied to fear and anxiety) can actually prevent us from fully learning. Once the body is physically exhausted, we learn to move more efficiently and avoid expending energy unnecessarily.

The result is we tend to end class much calmer and more at peace than when we started.

Which martial art is best for girls?

The best martial art for girls looking for self-defense would be Muay Thai, Kickboxing, or Krav Maga. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also excellent, but some girls will be uncomfortable grappling with men or teenage boys.

And, of course, it’s worth pointing out that Krav Maga isn’t really a martial art. In truth, it’s a self-defense system.

What’s the difference?

Martial arts have a spiritual component that dictates the approach. Self-defense systems are designed simply to render an attacker incapacitated as quickly as possible while minimizing risk to you.

For women, the question is not if they should learn self-defense techniques but when they should.

We’ve all heard the advice of law enforcement officers dealing with girls safety; 

  • be attentive to the environment
  • be cautious of those around
  • avoid particular places at night
  • or better yet, stay with your friends

But do teenage girls usually hate Jiu-jitsu?

I discussed this in a recent article posted on my website. While some people go for Judo, most choose Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Just click that link to read it on my site.

But for the sake of this article, let’s focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial arts style that can be utilized for self-defense. You can become very skilled at various defensive strategies by attending BJJ training, getting private lessons from a qualified coach, or attending seminars.

To begin with, you will gain confidence, self-esteem, and a healthier body.

If you ever find yourself in a position similar to what we’ve discussed, you’ll want these characteristics ingrained in you.

Certain techniques in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are ideal for young women looking for self-defense skills.

If your daughter is petite without a lot of strength, the time spent learning and practicing these tactics will provide her with the physical and mental strength needed to overpower an attacker.

Believe me, the time and effort will be well spent.

Does Taekwondo help children with anger?

Taekwondo does help children manage and control anger. Taekwondo classes are extremely physical, and much of the time is spent kicking or punching heavy bags or pads, which are a healthy outlet for releasing pent-up aggression.

Let’s be honest: worry isn’t the only natural reaction to modern living. We can also become angry.

Fortunately, martial arts training can assist us in dealing with behavioral challenges. At its most basic level, punching and kicking in a closed setting is a fantastic technique to relieve stress.

Aside from that, martial arts have been shown to assist trainees in managing their aggressive tendencies.

There was a somewhat recent study titled “An effective strategy to violence prevention: traditional martial arts in middle school”. In that study, a group of kids with aggression issues had improved control of their conduct after three months of Taekwondo training.

So, yes, Taekwondo helps with anger. 

In a recent article, I talked about the pros and cons of Taekwondo. Taekwondo is a fighting style that focuses on kicks, like Karate.

But, like every other martial art, it has its pros and cons, including the 1 con that makes some people not even consider it a real martial art these days.

Click on the link to read it on my website.

Pros & Cons of Kids doing Martial Arts / Things to consider as a Parent

Conclusion

We really pushed the boundaries this time.

We looked at whether Karate can help kids with behavioral issues, whether martial arts are good for aggressive kids, and whether Jiu-Jitsu is good for kids.

We then looked at which martial arts are best for girls and rounded up with whether Taekwondo helps with anger.


Image by Mandyme27 from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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