Chester & Liz Evans
From Kids World Magazine "Five Life Lessons Kids Can Learn From Judo"
There are many things you may want to teach your child from the minute they enter this world. Any parent would want their kids to grow up as loving, kind and successful individuals. Deciding the life lessons you want your kid to learn is the easy part, the hard part is finding the right opportunities to teach them.
Increasingly, parents are turning to martial arts like Judo as an effective and nurturing medium, which can make a difference in your child’s lives in the long term. Through Judo, your child could develop laudable traits that many kids their age might not possess.
1. How to Win or Succeed with Class In every martial art form, there is a right and a wrong way to win. We have all seen our fair share of bad sportsmanship – from mocking their opponents, to refusing to shake their hands. Losing gracefully is a learnt art and one that is best mastered at an early age.
In Judo, all students are required to perform a Ritsu Rei (standing bow) before and after practice exercises and in competitions. This promotes mutual respect and acknowledge the fact that your own progress is dependent on the efforts of others.
During competitions, the referee can disqualify a Judoka solely based on his or her behaviour if it goes against the “spirit of Judo”. Students are also taught to always shake the hands of their opponents and thank the referee after every match. It is never easy to accept defeat, but children who learn how to do it will always come out on top.
2. How to Lose or Fail with Dignity Judo is the ideal environment for your child to experience the emotions that come from failure and defeat since there are no long-term consequences of losing. Experienced Judo coaches will teach children to lose with dignity and respect. Every loss is seen as a learning experience and there is truly no loss because an invaluable lesson can be learnt from every failure.
Good coaches will also hold reflection sessions to discuss what could have been done differently and how they can improve for their next match. Evaluating the loss not only functions as closure for your child, but also teaches them to cope with similar situations later in life.
3. Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do With any kind of combat sport, there is a certain degree of intensity that comes with the pressure to perform. However, Judo allows your child to be exposed to this degree of pressure and stress in a safe environment. In every sparring match, your child is going up against fair competition that regulates the stress and pressure to an acceptable yet challenging level.
No doubt there may be situations where your child is simply overwhelmed by the situation and the pressure will get to them, resulting in tears or simply calling it quits. But this is all part and parcel of a learning experience that will help them get comfortable with the pressure that they may face later in life like public speaking or sitting for their first exam. They will also learn to perform and excel under the gaze of others, which not only builds resilience but also functions as a confidence booster for your child.
4. Success Requires Sacrifice There are only 24 hours in a day. Your kid will soon realise that they can’t do everything. They will have to sacrifice certain things to spend more time on what they consider to be important.
To be better at Judo, one needs regular practice to hone his or her skills, which may mean extra hours in the Dojo, even if it means sacrificing their playtime. Your child will develop dedication and commitment to build excellence in a sport, which will serve them well later in life when it comes to exams and they have to make studying a priority.
5. Competition Builds Courage To some parents, “competition” is an ugly word. It can cause unnecessary stress on a child, which might lead to self-esteem issues. However, child development experts have pointed out that a little healthy competition can be good for kids.
Due to its combat nature, Judo can help develop this competitiveness. In Judo, the objective is to score points by executing a throw. Students are bound to experience being thrown at some point in their training or during competitions, and they need to possess a certain degree of tenacity to get back up and recover from it. They then develop the determination to better themselves so that they do not get easily thrown again, thereby gleaning a competitive trait through Judo.