|Solo Sports: Martial Arts
You're wearing a crisp white robe tied with a cloth belt. You're holding your arm out, making your hand look like a blade. You jump up in the air with one foot, and kick out with another, landing with perfect balance.
The term martial arts describes a number of different sports, combat training styles, and self-defense disciplines that began in Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea. Many of these sports date back several thousand years, and most are now practiced all over the world. Individual martial arts include Karate, Tae Kwon Doe, Ju-Jitsu, Judo, and Tai Chi.
Although most martial arts involve one person competing against another, most of the benefits come from training. Often, your skills are demonstrated in performances rather than matches against an opponent. So even if you're not into competing, you can still get very good and have lots of fun.
Martial arts are about learning balance, strategy and self-control, and how to use your entire body in a coordinated way. They emphasize that size and strength aren't as important as skills and focus.
Cool Martial Arts Facts:
What Kids Are Saying About Martial Arts:
"Karate is a good way of getting out my stress and frustration, like when I've had a bad day at school. I just don't think about that stuff when I'm doing it."
"The best part of Tae Kwon Doe is that I go through stages and get to learn everything at a good pace. People who used to pick on me stopped when I told them about it."
"My brother was doing Karate and I always enjoyed watching him. So the idea came to me that karate could be fun and to try it. It really teaches you discipline over yourself, and also you learn to set goals for yourself which you may or may not achieve according to your commitment. I have more courage to try my dreams."
"I think it's cool for girls to do martial arts because a lot of times boys think you are not as tough as them."
"Tae Kwon Doe is different because it doesn't just teach you fighting, it also teaches you things like respect and self discipline. It is the same as other sports because it's fun and it is a good way to get some exercise and you can make lots of friends doing it."
Here's how to find the right martial arts school:
Set up a time to visit the school with a parent or guardian. Make sure you pick a school where the instructors have a positive and fun attitude, and where the emphasis is on more than just competition.