There are many options in martial arts training for children. Karate, Taekwondo, Kenpo, and many other arts have helped children. There are benefits to every system and every school. Some of these are common across the board, no matter what school you choose for your child. Today, we’ll take a look at the particular reasons why Jeet Kune Do, the art developed by Bruce Lee and taught in the Young Dragons program at the Maryland Jeet Kune Do Academy in Odenton, Maryland, can benefit children.
1) Fitness & Weight Loss. You cannot engage in Jeet Kune Do without improving your fitness. There is a growing trend in childhood obesity as more children spend their time with Ipads and Netflix than climbing trees and running around outside. Whether they are a natural athlete or not, every Jeet Kune Do class is constantly in motion, practicing striking and pad drills, body mechanics and stick techniques, or grappling.
2) Self-Defense is Primary. There are many options for martial arts for kids. Some are oriented primarily toward sport, like Taekwondo. Others are artistic endevours, like Aikido. Jeet Kune Do is entire focused on self-defense. For children, this includes learning how to deal with bullying and kidnapping and sexual assault. The focus is not on earning belts or trophies, but on learning to be a confident and strong young person, aware of their surroundings.
3) It’s Unplugged From the Screens and Plugged in to the Present Moment. Mindfulness is absolutely important in Jeet Kune Do training. Present moment awareness is constantly taught to young children as they practice the various techniques in Jeet Kune Do through mindfulness exercises that can help them, both in the martial arts and in their schoolwork. Distractions are plentiful in the lives of our children, but then cannot afford to be distracted in Jeet Kune Do class. They learn to completely focused and in the present moment when working on exercises with their partners or instructors. They learn how this awareness applies to everything they do, from self-defense, to learning in school.
4) They’ll Learn to Roll with the Punches. While safety is of paramount importance in every Jeet Kune Do class, contact is a part of training. Children learn that pain is a part of life, and that they can get back on their feet and get back in the game. They are taught to keep their guard up and move, face their obstacles and the attacks of their partner and of life, and keep moving. This ability to roll with the punches helps them learn how to deal with setbacks in life and learn not to be discouraged, and develop a never give up spirit.
5) Confidence without Arrogance is True Humility. As they work with their partners through the various self-defense and sparring drills in every class, young Jeet Kune Do students gain confidence in their abilities, and that confidence carries over to every area of their life. They also learn that no one is always the best. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days. Just because you win today doesn’t mean that someone won’t perform as well as you tomorrow, so you get back up and get back to it. There is always someone better at you at something, so you can learn from them in humility rather than fall to them in arrogance.
Jeet Kune Do has something to offer every child, whether they are outgoing or shy, athletic or awkward, confident or frightened. Despite being what some would call an individual activity, Jeet Kune Do students are taught to view each other as brothers and sisters, and encourage and help each other learn their art. It’s in environments like these that children can truly flourish.
News & thoughts from Maryland Jeet Kune Do!