March 26, 2023
Are you a parent in search of an activity for your child with ADHD? Maybe you heard that martial arts is good for children with ADHD?
I founded Ko Martial Arts over 17 years ago and have over 20 years experience of teaching children. Over the years, I have seen many success stories of children learning how to turn their ADHD into a super power after going through our program.
The type of martial art we teach our students is Taekwondo which is a traditional art originating in Korea. Make sure to check out the published study on the effects of Taekwondo on children with ADHD.
Here are three reasons why KOMA Taekwondo is good for children with ADHD.
The first reason is our curriculum. Yes of course, our curriculum teaches our students the fundamentals of Taekwondo. But that’s only half of it. The other half of the curriculum is focused on establishing positive habits and behaviors at home such as making their bed, brushing their teeth, and performing chores.
It’s one thing to have mom or dad say, “time to clean your room” but it a different story when the respected Taekwondo instructor is also saying the same thing as the parent. That reinforcement can be extremely effective with helping children establish positive habits and behaviors at home.
Another reason our curriculum is good for children with ADHD is how organized and structured it is. The student will earn stripes on their belt by completing objective based tasks such as learning a new kick or completing chores at home. This simple and predictable award system helps children with ADHD establish a rhythm of setting and achieving goals through routine and structure.
The second reason KOMA Taekwondo helps children with ADHD is our teaching method. A common assumption many people have about martial arts is the teaching is based on an authoritative style. 30 years ago this teaching style was the only style. Most practitioners were adults who wanted to learn self defense and the rough and tough approach was widely accepted and even sought after.
Fast forward to today and we find that children are the majority of students in traditional martial arts studios. But the problem is that the authoritative teaching style that once worked with adults is still being used with children. This is a problem because it doesn’t work with today’s youth and can often cause more harm than good.
This type of teaching relies on intimidation and fear to modify the student’s behavior. While this can work in the short term, it fails in the long term. This is because it does not allow the student to choose their own destiny. Think about it. When do you like to be forced to something against your own will? And even if you do submit to the other person’s will, are you ever happy about it?
That is why our entire teaching method is based on intrinsic motivation and allowing the student to choose their own destiny. This doesn’t mean we allow our students to do whatever they want. I will cover this in more detail with reason #3. Focusing on intrinsic motivation can be very beneficial for children with ADHD because it can help them stay interested and engaged for longer periods of time. With the support and guidance of the instructor, it can also help the student learn how to make better decisions on their own.
And the final reason KOMA Taekwondo helps children with ADHD is our culture. The moment you enter a KOMA studio, you can’t help but notice the structure, discipline, and attention to detail in the atmosphere. Consistent exposure to a structured and organized environment over time can help build structure and organization in the life of a child with ADHD.
A great example of how our culture is good for children with ADHD is all of our students learn how to store their shoes neatly in a cubby before entering class. Then they will check themselves into class. And then they will practice on their own until class starts. Repeating this routine over time is a simple example of introducing structure and discipline into the life of the student.
One of my favorite parts of our culture is all students will stand in what we call a “cha-ri-yut” stance during the minute before class starts. No moving, no talking, just calm and focused.
I cannot let you go before sharing a bonus reason why KOMA Taekwondo helps children with ADHD. That reason is how understanding and patient our instructors are. Every year we receive applications to join the KOMA team of instructors and less than 2% are hired. If we feel that the applicant does not love being around kids, we do not hire them. Teaching children martial arts is not easy and we are blessed to have a team of instructors who are extremely patient and understanding, especially with our students with learning challenges.
One of the unique reasons why our team of instructors are so patient and understanding is because of many of them also struggle with ADHD. Some started with us as a student, so they really can see through the perspective of the child because they lived it.
I firmly believe that ADHD can be a super power when learned to use properly. The earlier the child learns how to harness that power, the better. KOMA Taekwondo can be a great start to equipping your child with the tools to overcome any challenge life may bring.