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19-Jul-2015   -   10 Reasons Why Judo is Better for your Kids than Team Sports

10 Reasons Why Judo is Better for your Kids than Team Sports Adapted from an article by Richard Proulx

If you are considering signing up your child for an organized sports activity, here are some reasons why you should consider Judo and some of the advantages of judo over team sports such as Baseball, Basketball and Soccer: 

1. Self-Defense: 
The first reason why most people practice martial arts is for self-defense. Not only will judo teach you techniques to defend yourself, but judo will teach the best way to think about defending yourself. Judo will help build up the reflexes needed if you’re ever in difficulty, and give you the confidence to fight back with minimal risk of seriously hurting someone, which has liability and of course, ethical implications. 

2. Belts and Ranking 
Belts are a great way to help children track their progress and motivate them to strive higher. Belts and ranking may help build the childs confidence and their desire to succeed. For this purpose, judo uses a system of Colored belts to indicate the knowledge and skill levels of their practitioners. In many cases the first belt promotion can be attained in few weeks and when children obtain that first belt, it shows them that with the right motivation, they can succeed. One belt is always not enough, once a child passes one belt test he or she is already thinking about the next one. 

3. Imdividual Self-Confidence 
As children become more skillful in judo, their confidence is significantly increased. They become more self-assured and confident. The Sensei’s (Teacher’s) encourage their students a lot to help them achieve this goal, but the confidence level will extend far beyond the Dojo (Martial Arts Studio). 

4. Exercise 
The classical martial arts class will often be comprised of warm-up calisthenics, teaching and practicing of moves and possibly some sparring. The warm up and practice include the bulk of the time, and for that time your child will be constantly on the go – stretching and working every muscle group in their body. The workout each child gets will not only assist in the natural development of his/her muscles, but also help them build stronger Cardio-Vascular systems. Even in the most active of team sports such as Soccer, Hockey, or Basketball, children don’t get that much of a workout simply because they generally don’t play the whole game and even if they do, there are still breaks in the action. 

5. Emphasis on Individual Achievement 
In judo, each child’s success is based on his or her own individual qualities. Yes, your kid may not be the most winning Judoka in his Judo class, but that will be because he tried and lost, and not because he wasn’t good enough to make it off the bench like other sports in which he may not play the game at all because his coach told him so. Knowing that their own ambition and hard work will drive them to succeed, they will be motivated to follow their dreams without the fear of hating the sport or not having the chance to practice it. 

6. Discipline 
The core of any martial art is ‘practice makes perfect’ There is constant repetition in drills and practices with emphasis on details and rhythm. Breakfalls, throwing and groundwork are practiced and repeated over and over. Those practices teach them the benefits of frequent practice, and the patience to get there All of this teaches children to respect one another, their opponents and colleagues, and how to play games fair and square. 

7. Judo isn’t about brute force, it is about skill and control 
Judo teachers emphasize the concept of maximum efficiency. This is evident, as the root of many Judo techniques is not necessarily brute force, but using your opponents’ movements and strength against him or her. While physical strength is developed, mental strength is probably the most critical factor in competition. 

8. Gender Equity 
Most of parents consider martial arts for their sons, not nearly as many would consider it for their daughters. However judo is one of the few sports where both boys and girls can play together. There are also tremendous international opportunities in Women’s judo and mixed martial arts as well. Your daughter’s black belt will not be any easier for her to attain than your son’s black belt will be for him. It also gives brothers and sisters an opportunity to practice together and learn from one another as well. 

9. Respect and Taking Care of Others
The first thing parents should think about before they send their kids to martial arts class is: “Is my child going to use this to hurt others?” This is a legitimate concern, and it is always addressed early by instructors who remind students that the techniques they learn in the dojo stay in the dojo except in self-defense, and shouldn’t be used to intimidate people. 
As children learn the ropes, they will learn to respect their newfound strength and techniques. If it is a problem, they will also quit bullying as well. This is what separates judo from any other sport or martial art, and why it is the 2nd most practices sport in the world and the only sport where you can go to any major city or town nin the world and be welcomed and taken care of.

10. Competition 
Similarly to team sports, Judo is all about competition. The latter is great for kids to test their skills and show their progress. Unlike team sports, the loser can’t really blame anyone beyond his or herself. But then this gives them a sense of respect for their opponent, as well as motivation to do better the next time. Each Judo tournament is a fresh start, and it is seldom that you get only one match even in the Olympics where there is a single-elimination for the Gold and Silver medals, there is a second-chance round for those who have lost their first matches for them to be able to win a Bronze.

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