A variety of studies show that families spend increasingly less time together, and school-aged children would like that to change. Parents and youngsters average as little as 37 minutes a day during the week and less than three hours on weekends. The primary reason for the lack of family bonding is not necessarily video games and screen time.
Parents point to long hours at work, the need to bring business home, and mounting chores that need to be handled on the weekends. Children, for their part, rise early to catch school buses and also must do homework and complete academic projects during evenings and on weekends. However, studying martial arts as a family unit can help reverse this trend and foster healthier relationships.
Children Want More Family Time
Given recent surveys, the idea that children prefer video games and screen time over real life activities may be something of a misconception. The Good News Network published findings that indicate upwards of 73 percent of children want to spend more time with their parents.
Of the things family members listed as ways to spend time, six of the top 10 involve physical activities such as exercise. Others included doing everyday things like preparing meals together and playing board games. The essential point is that parents and children recognize our fast-paced culture places a strain on what’s truly important — the family.
How Can Martial Arts Help Bring Family Members Together?
Enrolling children in extracurricular activities helps them learn valuable life skills. But things like youth and school sports are not done as a family. Parents typically show their support by providing rides, cheering on their children at competitions, and volunteering.
Joining a local Dojo is an entirely different dynamic centered on cooperation, community, and whole-family encouragement. Unlike youth sports, studying martial arts puts everyone in the same room. These are benefits families experience when they study martial arts together.
Spend More Family Time
An average martial arts class lasts around one to two hours between stretching, warmups, Kata, and learning self-defense techniques. Depending on the children’s ages, the whole family may be in the same room during the process. That far exceeds the meager 37 minutes families currently average during the week. Joining the Dojo would also likely double the time you spend together on weekends.
Develop A Common Interest
Adults are keenly aware that having things in common naturally brings people together. Bowlers join bowling leagues and pet lovers tend to congregate at local dog parks. Martial arts immersion is very similar in this respect. You will all be starting as white belts, learning the same curriculum and engaging in appropriate levels of physical fitness training. What is remarkably different from other shared interests and youth sports participation is the entire family focuses on a mutual goal.
Reinforce Core Family Values
People new to martial arts are sometimes surprised that it’s not all about punches, kicks, and highly refined self-defense moves. A large part of the process involves promoting and reinforcing core values such as respect, integrity, self-confidence, patience, and discipline.
Few might disagree these core values are not prevalent enough in popular culture, music, movies, and the social media posts people experience on a daily basis. Participating in martial arts together raises the ethical bar. It also exposes children and teenagers to a community that places a high regard on treating others with the respect they deserve.
Family-Oriented Martial Arts Programs
By nature, people in the martial arts community support each other and encourage everyone to achieve personal goals. This positivity can be infectious, and families see that mindset grow within their households. That’s why it’s essential to conduct some due diligence and make sure the Dojo you join promotes values that make sense for you and yours. These are things to consider.
- Does the martial arts studio offer kids classes for very young children?
- Is the studio well-maintained and clean?
- Can the entire family participate in self-defense classes?
- Are other local families involved in the Dojo?
- Does programming include off-site events that create a sense of community?
Perhaps the best way to decide if a particular Dojo is right for you and your family is to take an introductory class and talk with everyday people studying martial arts. In the right environment, parents and children enjoy learning and growing together. In this way, martial arts becomes a common family interest.
Contact USSD Vancouver
The United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) Vancouver offers world-class instruction in three different types of self defense and martial arts: Tai-Chi, Kung Fu, and Shaolin Kempo. We offer both group instruction and one-on-one classes to fit your schedule and instruction needs. We offer classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced in each of the above three disciplines. Classes are available for both adults and children.
Contact us today to learn more about our martial arts programs or to set up a time to visit one of our classes in person. Our instructors work with students at every age and stage of martial arts development and are dedicated to helping you cultivate self defense skills that meet your goals and make you feel great about yourself.
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