Fighting Back Against ADD – How Martial Arts Can Help Children with ADD
With martial arts growing in popularity year on year, there are a multitude of reasons as to why someone might consider taking up a martial art. From wanting to learn how to defend yourself, to wanting get fitter and healthier or even to compete on an amateur or professional level. However, there are other reasons however as to why people are taking up martial arts. Research has found that martial arts can have a dramatic affect on a variety of mental health issues, ranging from anger management to depression. Many people have also found martial arts has a particularly positive effect on children who suffer with ADD/ADHD.
Its no secret that sport is one of the best treatments for mental disorders as it helps focus the mind and body on completing certain tasks or actions as well as keeps the person physically fit and healthy. However, people with attention disorders often find their disability can make it hard to find the right sport and even harder to stick to it and not get bored. Repetitive sports can be frustrating for someone with ADD however a sport like MMA, with its unpredictable nature, means the participant constantly needs to remain focused and aware at all times. Furthermore, the respect and rituals involved with MMA, like bowing to the instructor, helps to teach kids how to accept and develop routines, which can then be implemented into other aspects of their life. As well as implementing routine, MMA can actually help a child with ADD be more attentive in school. By remembering what they do to stay concentrated in martial art lessons, the child can think back to their training and recall what to do to bring their attention back to the task at hand.
With concentration being one of the core skills developed through martial arts, it goes one step further and teaches 'mind over body'. Part of martial arts is making your body do what your mind wants it to, the more you practice this, the more it becomes instinctive for your body to mimic your thoughts. Children with ADD often struggle to sit still for long periods of time and can find it difficult to control their actions, with their bodies wanting to remain active in an environment where movement needs to restricted, for example, a classroom or church. The 'mind over body' way of thinking gives the child the belief that the mind is more powerful than the body, enabling them to control their impulses with the right mindset.
Another great aspect of martial arts training is that it encourages the participant to set realistic achievable goals on a regular basis, perfecting a particular move before moving onto the next more advanced move. This structured way of setting goals to improve can be mirrored in their personal lives, often people with ADD feel like they lack achievement, as they often get distracted before they are able complete their goal. By setting smaller incremental goals, like those encouraged in MMA, it allows them to feel a sense of pride and achievement as they complete them.
Martial arts and the nature in which they are trained, encourages the children to break down tasks into smaller tasks. When training you learn patterns of movement made up of individual moves, each move you learn individually and don't move onto the next until the one before has been mastered. Thinking of school in the same way can really help everything seem less daunting to someone with ADD. Instead of being overwhelmed with the end goal of passing exams and graduating they can simply focus on the task in front of them and doing the best they can.
If having read this article, you'd like to get your child involved with martial arts, whether it be for fitness, for concentration or just to give them a hobby and something to do then why not get in touch with our team here at Premier Martial Arts. We offer a variety of martial arts to practice and know how to get the best out of children while at the same time, providing a fun and enjoyable environment for them to learn. Give us a call or drop us an email and we'll get back to you soon.