Keeping an active lifestyle through physical activities like sports offers many benefits for both the human body. It is important for adults to be physically active in order to stay healthy and fit but this is even more so for kids. Sports are integral for the physical and mental development of young children. It is known to help children develop physical skills, strength, have fun, learn about sports rules and improve self-esteem.
With a myriad of sports to choose from, martial arts are emerging as one of the top options for young children today, most notably traditional form-based (katas) martial arts like Karate and Taekwondo. However, practical martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and Muay Thai are fast becoming more and more popular as combat sports like MMA are reaching a wider global audience.
Muay Thai, a kickboxing style that originated in Thailand, is one of the most effective striking-based martial arts in the world. Thai boxing techniques involve punches, kicks, elbow and knee strikes along with stand-up grappling. It is practiced around the world by competitors, fans of the sport and fitness enthusiasts of all ages.
Is Muay Thai safe for kids?
Muay Thai is a highly intense sport of hard knocks. Muay Thai training can be tough even for grown-ups as it involves high-impact action. However, as with all activities for kids, Muay Thai kids classes are designed with safety in mind.
Beginner classes are conducted to familiarize learners with the basic techniques while incorporating strengthening exercises to gradually prepare them for the physical demands of the sport. In more advanced stages, sparring may be introduced with protective gear mandated for safety.
Under the guidance and watchful eye of coaches, kids can engage in Muay Thai safely in small group settings. This makes it easier for coaches to intervene promptly, more easily than in other contact team sports like football and basketball.
Benefits of Muay Thai for Kids
For parents who are considering Muay Thai classes for their children, Muay Thai training offers many benefits apart from fitness. Like many Asian martial arts, Muay Thai instills values like respect and humility. Here are some of the benefits that the Thai combat art offers:
An active child is a healthy child. Regular Muay Thai training provides a kid with plenty of physical activity and movement. Muay Thai exercises include simple warm ups like skipping to practicing techniques with partners and coaches or heavy bags. Classes usually end with more exercises to help build strength and endurance.
As kids start to master the techniques and various combinations, they will gain self-confidence. Confidence can help them take on challenges in school more readily and achieve more as they grow up.
Bullying in schools is a global phenomenon. It can be verbal, mental and oftentimes physical. Muay Thai training builds confidence which deter bullies who prey on the weak but also prepares a child with the skills to defend him/herself when an unpleasant or potentially threatening occasion arises.
Builds Mental Toughness
Muay Thai training (and trainers) often pushes the practitioners to their limits. Having a coach push and motivate you during exercise can reap far more benefits and achieve more gains than exercising alone. Over time, this helps to build mental toughness or grit which is a driver of success in life.
Develop Social Skills
While it isn’t a team sport, Muay Thai training involves partners as well group exercises to finish up the class. The tough training helps build camaraderie and it becomes even easier to make friends. The group setting provides and encourages kids to develop social skills which is a valuable trait to help maintain positive interaction with others.
How to find Muay Thai classes for Kids
More and more mixed martial arts gyms are popping up in cities all around the world. MMA gyms offer a mix of classes that typically include grappling like BJJ along with a striking-based art like boxing or Muay Thai. In major cities, you may also find Muay Thai gyms dedicated to teaching the Thai martial art. Call them and sign up for a trial so your young ones can experience the benefits of Muay Thai and achieve their fullest potential.