As parents of Keiko Shin Karate Academy students we already know that Karate training does wonders for our kids. They excel at school, behave well at home, and stay out of trouble in general.
Karate is important for the physical and mental well being. As a child psychologist I know that karate helps our kids focus better, teaches them coordination and multitasking.
Every day at the dojo we are able to observe an amazing transformation. We notice how shy, clumsy, and distracted kids that have just started their karate adventure convert into coordinated, attentive and social individuals.
Aside from the fact that the uniform makes them look more serious and somehow more grown up, their demeanor changes dramatically. As their Sensei, I always challenge them and watch them responding to that challenge in a way we probably did not know they were capable of. After all - they are our "little babies" and we are not yet prepared to see them act all serious and responsibly.
It's no secret to us - parents of the Karatekas' - that Karate instills good values in our kids, makes them more attentive, coordinated, and disciplined. Hence we welcome any scientific research that proves what we already know or suspect.
The Effects of Mixed Martial Arts on Behavior of Male Children
with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Dr. Matthew K. Morand presented the study in the spring of 2004 for his Doctor of Psychology dissertation at Hofstra University in New York.
During his 12 week study Dr. Morand divided group of 18 boys into three test groups.
Six boys took part in Karate Martial Arts Program intervention,
another group of six participated in an Exercise Program intervention,
and third group of six participated in a control group that did not include any kind of intervention.
Dr. Morand reported that the martial arts intervention showed the most success, outperforming exercise intervention.
Dr. Morand and teachers participating in the study found that the group that enrolled in Martial Arts Program improved the most in homework completion, academic performance and classroom participation. They were also less likely to behave inappropriately in the classroom.
According to Dr. Morand - the exercise alone does not provide the same drive for focusing attention as Martial Arts Program. Karate emphasizes constant focus, gives more specific attention to kids and provides positive reinforcement in the form of belt system.
Read full dissertation here: ADHD_Story.PDF (4MB)
Dr. Morand's dissertation is not the only proof of what we - the parents of Karatekas' already know. There are multiple studies and opinions conducted and presented by mental health professionals that confirm Dr. Morand's findings. There is definitely a consensus that enrolling kids in Martial Arts Program can lessen some of their ADHD symptoms.
The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11% in 2011. Treatment is very difficult and requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice from parents and family. Often times - the support and mental health counseling are not enough and the child has no other option but to take medication. While ADHD is having tremendous effect on the child's current and future live, the results of using medication for prolonged period of times are not yet fully known or completely understood.
The conclusion draws itself. The Martial Arts program is the most effective and safest option for kids with ADHD or similar disorders. Some parents are reluctant because they believe that Karate promotes violence. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Martial Arts actually teaches self discipline, self-control, and social skills. In fact - many parents of children with ADHD report great success with these programs because focus and self-control are precisely the skills underdeveloped in kids with ADHD.
At Keiko Shin Karate Academy we get a unique opportunity to observe immediate and long term effects of karate. Our students range in age from 5 year olds to 50+ year olds. We are a big family that respects and supports each other. The values our kids learn on those blue and red mats will certainly benefit them in their future.
I encourage parents to do their research and look at surrounding martial arts academies and see that Keiko Shin is genuine and truly cares for the well-being of all students. We sincerely give back to the community, never asking you to sign a contract, fully understanding that our actions of involvement will speak wonders for itself.
Links and materials :
ADHD_Story.PDF - Dr.Morand's dissertation (4MB)