The following is a sponsored guest post by Harvest Martial Arts, located just south of us in Historic Downtown Franklin, Tennessee. However, the message and content are pertinent no matter where you live, which is why I wanted to share this with you today.
Family time is sacred. With the stress of jobs that stretch long past 9-5, housework that piles up, schoolwork for the kids and what can feel like an endless cycle of errands and extracurricular programs for every member of the household, solid family time in which parents and kids can truly bond is hard to come by.
Today’s families are so busy that sometimes weeks can pass where the only quality time moms and dads get with their kids is while driving carpool or scarfing down a quick macaroni and cheese dinner before heading out the door.
So when you do get family time, it’s important to use it wisely. Weather changes can make time in the park difficult and activities like heading to the mall tend to leave little time for genuine conversation and bonding.
One activity that is fabulous for the family dynamic, however, is taking a martial arts class together.
It might sound surprising, but when you break down the benefits, it will quickly become clear that every member of the family, be they male or female, young or old, can benefit from training, and most of all, the family as a whole can get stronger from doing it together.
Martial Arts Class Benefits
Parents and kids are both craving that ever elusive idea of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and far too often family arguments happen when basic respect between parents and kids, or between siblings, breaks down or fails to be nurtured in the first place.
In martial arts studios, though, training in activities like tae kwon do, kung fu and aikido revolves around the student respecting the master. Class can only begin when the students bow to their teacher, showing respect for their rank and honor for the knowledge they are about to impart.
Cultivating respect together in class will help respect grow at home, as well.
Having Fun as a Family
It’s also important for moms and dads to have fun with their kids, not just act as rule enforcers and buzz-killers in the world of homework, bedtimes and curfews. Martial arts classes give parents a chance to kick, punch and play side by side with their kids, to burn off steam and laugh and grit their teeth together, working together on a physical challenge that shares a common goal. It’s a great way to bond with a shared activity that requires teamwork and is, at its core, very fun.
In addition to being good for the family as a whole, of course, martial arts activities are also a great choice for family time because they are also so good for the individual. Let’s face it: All parents want their kids to make healthy, responsible choices, and all kids want their parents to be healthy and strong so they can live long lives. But family time too often devolves into events that are packed with junk food (trips out for ice cream! cheesy nachos at the movies!) or not healthy for our bodies (long car rides, theater trips, and endless other seated activities).
Martial arts classes can reset that pattern.
Family members will all work up a sweat, increase their heart rates, and practice strength, flexibility and focus. Training in the ancient arts of self-defense is as good for the body as it is for the mind, so every member of the family will come away with increased concentration and better self-control of their emotions in addition to the great physical benefits that come with the exercises.
Practical Aspect of Martial Arts Class
Finally, martial arts classes have a great practical aspect. While your family is spending time laughing and learning together, getting fit and practicing moves that sharpen both muscles and mind, everyone is also learning skills to deal with aggression. That doesn’t mean that martial arts teach people to fight — but it does mean that they give the skills to defend yourself if necessary.
And for everyone, from a kid facing a bully in the schoolyard to a wife walking to her car alone in a dark parking lot, that’s a great reassurance that makes your family time all the more valuable in the long run.