You and your children have probably seen the flying kicks, battle cries and mighty chops of their favorite TV characters, as they beat the bad guys to submission – but, you may ask, how on earth can these acts of violence teach my child anything worthwhile? First, know that what you see on television (save perhaps the Karate Kid) is a far cry from what real martial arts are all about. The fact is, martial arts training is based on non-violence. Originating in Asia (mainly Japan, China and Korea, although Thailand and Vietnam have their own practices as well), martial arts range from a variety of types and styles, all of which are based on well-rounded, moral teachings. The beauty of learning martial arts is that it encompasses not just the physical aspect of the "sport", but mental and emotional lessons as well. Comparing that to other kid’s activities and sports, where fierce competitiveness and "winning at all costs" seems to be the order of the day, it’s not surprising that many children grapple with issues of self-esteem and misplaced aggression. Now imagine your child actually learning valuable life lessons, skills that he will take throughout life, laying the foundation for a happy, well-adjusted and fulfilled adult life. The Advantages • Karate, and other martial arts for kids, builds confidence and self-esteem as well as self-discipline, respect, concentration and courtesy. • Many martial arts schools also offer leadership courses for kids, in conjunction with their karate for kids programs, or similar lessons. • Martial Arts is ideal for children who do not do well in team sports, giving them the ability to flourish this activity, while combining physical and mental practices. • Many do not realize this, but it is a fact that martial arts training are safer than most school sports. • Children with special needs, such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), learning difficulties and hyperactivity are often recommended to participate in martial arts for kids because of the clear benefits in its structured training techniques.