As parents, today, there is a lot of pressure to get kids away from television-, tablet-, and smartphone screens. Kids love them, but we recognize that there are many disadvantages to allowing them to be seated in front of one for long stretches of time. It is, actually, one of the many advantages of signing kids up for martial arts classes. While they are in the dojo, they are not sitting in front of a tablet or television.
However, that being said, there may be good reason to allow young martial artists to enjoy some screen time when they are not training and are not in school.
A recent story, which made headlines here and elsewhere, demonstrated the impressive moves of a child, who was simply using his training in martial arts to mimic the moves of a well-known celebrity martial artist.
You can watch the video of the six year old prodigy on YouTube, or by following this link.
This child is obviously very gifted and dedicated to the study of martial arts – in the dojo and in mainstream entertainment. That ability doesn’t just happen overnight, but his display may just serve as evidence of what kids can learn by watching, and sometimes that watching is done on a screen. Do we expect to see the same from every six year old that enters martial arts classes? Of course not. However, there is a lot to be learned through watching others, and there are so many inspiring videos to be found on the internet these days, as long as you are prepared to act as the filter, to ensure that the child is only seeing appropriate videos.
So, while we are in complete agreement that many kids spend far too much time tied to electronic devices, we do agree that there might be times when the internet could beneficial. Watching and mimicking the skills of experienced martial artists may just give your child a boost in his or her own formal training.
This is true, not just for young martial artists, but also for kids involved in a large variety of skill-oriented programs – athletics programs, dance, art classes, singing, and more.