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Teenagers and martial arts

A lot of parents believe in the positive influence of sport in their children's lives and many experts would agree that physical activity can help settle emotional disturbance. Team sports aim to encourage support and working together, loyalty towards a football team is preferable to allegiance to a gang. Girls are getting more and more involved in sports that were the province of boys only, and it would seem that this is of great benefit to girls who have anger management issues. Physical exertion, team spirit and a focus on the target of winning are all positive emotions that dissipate un-channeled anger and frustration.

However, for some teenagers, the thought of taking part in organized sport and working in a team is terrifying; they may be clumsy by nature, possibly a bit unfit or overweight, or simply too self conscious to spend time in the locker room with a group of other teenagers. These non-sporty teenagers may find themselves on the outskirts of the popular groups, isolated and uncomfortable, seeking refuge in the library or acting out as they find no outlet for their misery.

For some of these teenagers, enrollment in a martial arts class may be an option, as a mechanism for involvement in a sport that is totally individual. There are a variety of martial arts and if parents are considering this for their teenagers, they need to be clear about the differences. It is also extremely important that they choose classes run by accredited teachers in properly regulated environments. The downside to some martial arts schools is they can be run by those who see it as a way to develop aggression and the physical art is taught, without the spiritual and moral aspects being delivered.

Wushu, or Kung Fu when taught properly, for example, is about grace and balance and patience. It teaches focus and develops self confidence, qualities many teenagers lack. Wushu does not require brute strength and is suitable for both girls and boys, teaching both physical and mental strength, stamina and self discipline. Teenagers who find it hard to relax, are often agitated and unable to focus, may benefit from Tai Chi which uses breathing techniques and movement to aid in achieving mental peace and calm.

Martial Art classes also give the teenager a chance to make other friends away from high school, and possibly away from some of the bad influences that seem to drive them. Not all teenagers are good at sports, but most teenagers would like to be! Enrolling your defiant and angry teenager in a martial arts class, may give them a chance to shine, an outlet for their anger, and a way to gain some self control.

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