Kung Fu For Kids Recreation
As short as it may seem when we look back, childhood is one of the most influential periods of our entire lives: it’s where we develop the habits, hobbies, and discipline that we will carry with us through the years. We learn social skills, how to deal with adversity, and how to focus our skills and energy into meaningful outlets. So what makes kung fu such a great kids’ activity?
Let’s start with one of the biggest benefits of studying martial arts – helping build focus, mindfulness, discipline, self-control, and routine. All of these traits are incredibly important as we grow up, and any child that develops them fully has a much better chance of setting and achieving their goals later in life. Some even suggest that the increased focus and mental training can help with ADD.
Beyond that, kids’ kung fu classes bring together many different types of children in one place, allowing them a safe place to develop these skills together. This leads to increased socialization and confidence in groups as well. Of course, some kids may feel too self-conscious to learn in a group as they start out, or are just more suited to individual instruction, and that’s why we are now one of the few martial arts studios in Calgary to offer private lessons for those children.
Another reason why kung fu is great for kids’ recreation is the physical aspect. Studying a martial art works on your body as well as your brain! Your child will gain increased flexibility, coordination, reflexes, and timing, as well as improved overall health. Kung fu is an excellent way to stay fit, no matter your age.
Some people might worry that kung fu classes for kids would encourage them to be violent, or to resort to violence at school or with their friends. The truth is, our goal is the exact opposite – we teach self-control, meditation, and restraint, so that your child will walk confidently and strongly, but uses their skills strictly for self-defense in a bad situation. As the old saying goes, Speak softly and carry a big stick: we teach that fighting is a last resort, only to be used when absolutely necessary. But if it ever comes down to it – if your child is surrounded by bullies, if they’ve gotten stuck in a dangerous situation, if they need to make a split-second decision – we know you’d agree that having experience with and confidence in such activities would beat the alternative, every time.
And speaking of good and bad influences – we have overwhelmingly heard that the kids we’ve taught in Calgary have enjoyed having healthy mentors and role models in their lives. This, combined with the long-lasting positive influence of our teachers, can make all the difference to a child that needs structure and guidance, especially if the parents are working a lot to help ensure a good life for their family.
Along those lines, many parents would love to improve their kids’ recreation in this way, and are wondering if they can afford it – or if it really is worth the price. In our experience, as long as your ability to live isn’t greatly impacted, it’s absolutely worth every penny! The benefits are lifelong, and the memories and training can stick with your kid long after they walk out our doors. They will meet new friends, gain new skills and confidence, and look back fondly on the days when they got to learn all the coolest “ninja moves” from our teachers.
Having your kid in an organized sport like martial arts is also one of the best ways to ensure they avoid potentially negative activities after school, and beyond. They’ll have the confidence, willpower, and self-awareness to think critically about how their decisions affect themselves and others, leading to smarter outcomes with drugs, drinking, and reckless behaviour as they get older. And they’ll not only treat themselves with more respect, but everyone else they encounter, as well. The only way to build up this kind of personality is to be familiar with it and incorporate it from a young age – so the more exposure your child gets from a positive role model, the better!
We could write a thousand more words about why kung fu is a good sport for kids, but the best way to know is to simply see for yourself. Drop in for a class with your son or daughter and let them find out on their own how much fun it can be to learn crucial skills, while getting a workout at the same time. Our non-competitive environment is the perfect place to hone the art, and who knows? They might stick with it, and become a kung fu teacher themselves after they achieve brown belt status – continuing the circle of knowledge, and sending a message to the younger generation that they can achieve their goals, too.
Call us or use our contact form to enroll your child in one of the best kids’ activities in Calgary, or come by and visit our studio space at 345 39 Ave SE – just down the street from the 39 St C-Train station – and find out why more people than ever are getting into kung fu for life!
The Art Of Kung Fu Meditation
When you hear about martial arts, the first thing you think of is probably a blazing fast flurry of fists and kicks, or maybe a pair of nunchuks flying through the air. But one of the largest aspects of the entire culture of martial arts has much more to do with the mind than with the body that holds it – and it’s arguably one of the most important skills to master. We are, of course, talking about meditation.
At its core, meditation is the art of shutting out distractions and focusing intensely on what your body is telling you: breathing, heartbeat, temperature, sensations, and all the minute details that are all too often overlooked. While it is normally associated with “clearing your mind” and thinking of nothing in particular, the actual emphasis of meditation is quite the opposite. You want to reflect on yourself, and connect the deep, innate parts of your consciousness with the chaotic and complex side that interacts with the everyday world. By bridging the two together, and strengthening the bond over time, you gain a better understanding of who you are, your place in the world, and how you can live the best life for you.
Research shows that even small amounts of meditation has beneficial effects for practitioners. Even five minutes a day can bring noticeable improvements! Regular meditators see benefits to their blood pressure, stress levels, focus and attention, productivity, sleeping patterns, emotional health, social interactions, immune systems, and so much more – but don’t just take our word for it; here’s an article from Psychology Today that links off to study after study discussing this very topic. Experienced meditators, who have dedicated thousands of hours to this activity, have even been shown to use every region of their brain at the same time when they are in a full meditative state – a phenomenon that cannot occur without practice and discipline.
While it’s an excellent idea to unwind and reflect at home – before bed or in the morning are perfect times for it – if you really want to get the most out of your meditations, having a guide to help you along is essential. When you meditate with us here during class at Kung Fu for Life, you engage not only with your mind, but also the rest of you – body, breathing, and chi. An active relationship with chi, (instead of the inactive, passive approach that we usually have) is the key to true self-discovery, and when you do our meditation, your brain is 100% engaged with the motions of timing and breathing, repeating full and satisfying breaths, over and over again. This can be hard to do on your own, especially if you are new to the process.
The original creator of the Shaolin martial arts is said to have spent seven whole years meditating in a cave by the first Shaolin temples, and for much of it simply sat in place – eventually developing the stretching and movement exercises that allowed him to recover afterwards. These exercises are still used today to maintain continuity between the mental meditative state, and the physical motion afterward, because martial arts are all about bridging the gap between not only conscious and subconscious, but mental and physical. As you develop the connections between both sides, they will become more synchronized – and it follows that your “intuitions” will get better, your “instincts” will improve, and your awareness of yourself and the world around you will sharpen. This is because your subconscious mind will be able to more easily express itself to your conscious mind, and vice versa. Experienced meditators can even use their conscious mind to tell their subconscious self how to deal with bodily problems or injuries, and see results by bringing the two into alignment over time. It all comes down to communicating within yourself, and trusting that you can overcome problems together!
If you’ve always wanted to try meditating, but feel like you don’t have the time, or that you aren’t sure what to do, there are some excellent apps like HeadSpace to get you started. Remember, even a few minutes a day is better than none at all, and the science backs that up. As the saying goes, “If you can’t fit five minutes of meditation into your day, you should do 20!”
Learning how to meditate is one of the most important life skills we teach at Kung Fu for Life. Meditation is the focus of one’s own mind in order control oneself, build confidence and increase mental strength. After all, how does a monk stand in the cold for hours, or sit in a horse stance far longer than should be possible? It all comes down to mental strength – a mental strength gained through hours of meditation and disciplined, regular practice.
When you think about it, great achievements of the body are really just great achievements of the mind, and dedicated minds can achieve what others think is impossible.
Kung Fu For Life
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