Parents – think about the last time you saw a professional fighter in the ring or on TV.
What was your first thought?
For most parents, there are 2 different trains of thought:
- The first is that these athletes are incredibly strong and skilled – their discipline and determination are admirable.
- The second is that it’s a violent and gruesome sport, and you wouldn’t want your child anywhere near that.
So which one is it? Is combat sport dangerous and something to be avoided? Or are there benefits to teaching your kids how to fight?
As a long-time combat sport practitioner, combat coach, and psychologist helping teenagers learn how to recognise and be in control of their emotions, I’m 100% an advocate for the power of combat sport in helping set teenagers up for success in all areas of their lives.
Let me explain to you why I think that is.
The Benefits of Kids Learning Combat Sport
The general benefits that come to mind first when thinking about our children practising combat sport, let alone any kind of physical sport, are the physical benefits.
Things like improved fitness, better coordination, and increased strength and flexibility are all great outcomes of practising combat sport.
But perhaps more importantly, there are also many psychological benefits that come from learning how to fight.
Some of these benefits include:
- improved self-esteem and confidence
- enhanced focus and concentration
- heightened resilience in the face of adversity
- better stress management skills
All of these are incredibly important life skills that will serve your child well in their future.
Now, you might argue that these are all benefits that can be learned in other forms of sport that don’t involve as much physical contact.
However, I don’t think so – and here’s why.
What Combat Sport Teaches Kids That Other Sports Don’t
In my experience, what sets combat sport apart from other sports is the way in which it teaches kids how to deal with physical and emotional adversity.
In other words, it helps them to learn how to cope with and recover from difficult situations.
This is because in combat sport, there is an element of risk involved. This risk can be physical, in the form of injury, or emotional, in the form of feeling scared or overwhelmed.
In order to be successful in combat sport, kids need to learn how to deal with these risks in a healthy and productive way. They need to learn how to control their emotions, stay calm under pressure, and manage their stress levels all on their own.
There’s no sitting on the sidelines waiting for a team mate to pick things up. Combat sport is a solo sport, and in that sense, it teaches kids not to rely on anybody else but themselves.
These are all incredibly important life skills that will serve your child well in their future, no matter what they choose to do with their lives.
Enrol Your Teen in a Combat Gym Focusing on Mental Fitness
Having said all of the above, not all combat gyms are the same.
And just because you sign your teenager up to a combat gym, doesn’t guarantee all of those unique benefits I just listed (developing emotional resilience and self-control).
That’s why it’s important to make sure you find out if the combat gym places emphasis on developing mental fitness in your child as well – not just the physical and technical aspects of fitness.
One way you can do that is to find out if they are CounterPunch-certified.
If you’re new to this blog, CounterPunch™ is a results-based innovative program that utilises a mix of performance psychology, sports science and boxing.
I’ve been developing, testing and refining this program over the last 4 decades with university-validated research, and it teaches teenagers practical tools to both understand and effectively master the life skills needed to manage emotions such as stress, anxiety, anger and depression.
As you’ve hopefully seen in this post, the skills that kids learn while participating in combat sport can be beneficial in all aspects of their lives.
Whether they’re using self-defense techniques to get themselves out of a dangerous situation or learning how to stay calm under pressure, the lessons learned through combat sport will serve them well into adulthood.
If you have a teenager who is interested in learning more about combat sport, enrol them in one of our CounterPunch group workshops today and see firsthand how these activities can set them up for success later on in life.