Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a neurological condition resulting in impulsivity, distractibility, hyperactivity or excess energy. Dr. Abida Ripley has written about how martial arts help children diagnosed with AD/HD. She believes martial arts can be an alternative to the drugs often used to treat symptoms.
At Driftwood Martial Arts, instructors and parents have witnessed how a regular martial arts practice has helped their students with AD/HD improve school performance, reduce disciplinary issues and improve self-esteem and confidence. Here’s how:
Simply put, exercise tires a kid out. It allows children to burn off excessive energy in a positive way, oxygenates their bodies and circulates their blood so they’ll feel great. When children practice martial arts on a regular basis, they soon realize how diet, sleep patterns and daily schedules affect their practice. Each of these components has been recognized as playing a role in the symptoms of AD/HD.
Martial arts require concentration, focus and self-discipline. While learning to block, kick or punch, children learn how losing concentration can negatively affect their practice. For example, they may lose their balance or an opponent may catch them when their guard is down. This realization quickly works its way into the day-to-day life of the child.
Most martial arts use some form of meditation and relaxation and require a strong connection between body, mind and spirit for success. The philosophy of many martial arts includes respect, perseverance, looking out for those who are younger or weaker, and integrity. By slowing down, focusing, and learning important principles, the symptoms of AD/HD can be better managed.
Dr. Ripley writes that good martial arts instructors take the very characteristics of AD/HD symptoms and channel them into the art’s physical and mental training. Instead of seeing a child’s boundless energy as negative, an effective instructor will accept it and find ways to make it work for the child. Often this simple shift in perspective is enough to improve a child’s self-esteem and concentration.
Do you have a child with AD/HD who practices martial arts? If so, we’d love to hear about his or her experience. Visit our contact page and tell us about it. Have a child with AD/HD and want to know about our classes? Call our stop by the studio and we’ll answer your questions and get your child on their way to success!