• Master Amy Ratekin

Mental Health Benefits of Martial Arts

Spirit TKD believes in strengthening the entire student. While martial arts help to strengthen the physical body, it provides a more important benefit of improving and strengthening mental health. Suicide attempts and depression is on the rise among teens and now the second leading cause of death for individuals 10-24. Each day 3,041 adolescents in grades 9-12 attempt suicide. The CDC reports 29% of high school students considered and made a suicide plan last year. Statistics also say 1:4 students will face bullying and its lifelong effects. According to the CDC 1:5 children have a mental health issue/diagnosis. These numbers are staggering, and children need positive outlets for activity and personal improvement. Martial arts participation can help.

There are several mental health benefits of martial arts to help students improve their mental health, reduce the thoughts, or attempts at suicide, and empower students to have a positive outlook on life and their future. Benefits include positive social interaction, good decision making, self-discipline, responsibility, improved self-esteem, confidence building, self-confidence, self-respect and respect for others and life, and facing the world with courage.

  • Positive Social Interaction – Teamwork is necessary at all stages and all areas of life. The curriculum at Spirit TKD enforces the importance of teamwork and working with others of various backgrounds through activities and games. The teamwork-oriented environment develops character and teaches students that the more we work together the more we get accomplished. Students ultimately learn “Everyone is in the same flock.

  • Good Decision Making – Self-control and good decision making refers learning to control the mind, mouth, and actions of our body. Students learn through training to control themselves, become slow to anger or react negatively towards others, and work towards accomplishing tasks. Through positive role modeling, natural consequences, and encouragement-based guidance, students learn to make good decisions in all areas of life and become the best person possible. Students also learn good decisions lead to great rewards.

  • Self-Discipline and Responsibility – Our instructors are masters at creating a vision and goals for each student that self-discipline is fun and rewarding. The vision is instilled through interactive and teamwork-oriented games, drills, and real-world activities. Our age specific training techniques are used in correlation with a student’s household responsibilities, health responsibilities, and homework assignments accomplished in a timely manner. At Spirit TKD, each student learns to self-regulate, take responsibility for their actions, and take pride in accomplishments.

  • Self-Esteem and Confidence Building – Our program improves a student’s self -esteem through consistent positive verbal reinforcement. When kids work to earn their next belt level, not only are they learning basic world-class self-defense, but they are also building self-esteem and learning to feel good about themselves. Plus, unlike most other martial arts programs, our Martial Arts Programs have no fees for testing or advancement. We believe a student must earn their next level, not pay for it! Our students learn “You ARE good enough, you ARE loved, and you ARE amazing!”

  • Self-Confidence – Nothing can take the place of the empowerment felt by a student when they know they can defend themselves against all forms of violence.

“People who continue to practice the martial arts for prolonged periods are different from the general populace in these ways: they have a lower level of anxiety; an increased sense of responsibility; they are less likely to be radical; they have an increased level of self-esteem; and they are more socially intelligent.” (Source – Psychology Today, May 1985.)

  • Respect – This is foundational concept of martial arts. Students learn to respect family members, fellow students, instructors, and themselves. With respect lacking in our society today, it is an important skill for students to master and our respect emphasis is what separates Spirit TKD Programs from other sports. Respect helps a student to soar like an eagle.

  • Courage- students learn to face all challenges with courage and confidence. Spirit TKD instructors lead by example and mentor each student to be their best. Instructors aid students in making goals, getting through the hard times in their life, and accomplishing more than the students thought possible.

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