Controlling aggression through martial arts What do you think about when you think martial arts? If you already train you should know there is more than just fighting. Ask almost any person who has never trained in martial arts what it is about and many will instinctively say fighting. This is the way that martial arts is unfortunately seen by many, and further still many who teach martial arts do little or nothing to banish these thoughts. ‘The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them’ Miyamoto Musashi Teaching a child how to punch or kick another person is of little help to that child’s development or well being. Instead using martial arts in order to teach that child empathy, respect and a multitude of other positive character traits is of great value to that child. ‘Emotion can be the enemy, if you give into emotion, you lose yourself’ Bruce Lee In order to progress through the belt ranks of martial arts one of the first things that must be learnt is self control, this being very important for children who have a hard time controlling their emotions and even more so for teenagers. Without self control nothing can be learnt and this is understood from the start. Reinforcing this concept throughout means it comes as second nature and so eventually won’t need any conscious thought. Scientists (Anna Harwood and Michal Lavidor) have shown that children of all ages that train in martial arts have a greatly reduced rate of externalising behaviours. These behaviours were not only aggression based but also other misdeeds such as theft or vandalism. Bullying is reduced as each child finds self respect and understands the effect that bullying can have on others. Furthermore, these benefits affect others around the child. The child is much more likely to be helpful to others in need, showing greater empathy than those children that do not train. As has already been mentioned in the friendship blog, the more helpful and friendly a child is the more friends they will have, leading to a much happier life. Studies also show that the more a child trains in martial arts the greater the effects of self control and helpfulness.Whether you want a child to control their aggressive side or prevent it from starting, MAC is a great environment to help.