If you are considering getting your child into an extracurricular activity, you want to ensure that it will be a healthy complement to their academic success. Sports, clubs, and hobbies are great, as long as they don’t interfere with schoolwork, studying, or distract from academic responsibilities. Choosing an extracurricular that can help with school performance is key, and martial arts do just that—read on to learn how!

Physical Exercise

Martial arts are a great form of physical exercise, and being active is linked to being successful in school. Motor skills are linked with academic development, and researchers in Spain found that kids who were more physically active and fit had higher grades. Stronger heart and lung function help to pump blood and oxygen to the brain which can improve cognitive function. Another study found through MRI imaging of the brain that children who were physically active had bigger hippocampi (a part of the brain associated with long-term memory) and did better than sedentary peers on memory tests. While your brain needs to be exercised through reading, writing, and math, the physical exercise of your body can also increase brain function. When your child participates in martial arts classes, they are getting cardiorespiratory exercises as well as increasing their motor skills—both of which appear to help them academically.

Discipline

Doing well in school requires the discipline to sit through classes (sometimes boring ones!), to do homework instead of playing video games, and to manage time efficiently. Martial arts are all about discipline, and incrementally repeating moves until they can be done to perfection. The discipline learned on the mat can carry over into the classroom, and can help your child have the focus they need to succeed academically.

Goals

Along with discipline, martial arts teach the importance of setting goals, and working hard to achieve them. The structure of martial arts classes provides children with attainable goals every step of the way, and gives a clear path to higher and higher levels of success. Martial arts celebrates the small goals as well as the larger ones, and can teach kids the importance of perseverance. To master a new move gives you the confidence to reach for the next one, and this confidence in achieving goals can carry over into the school setting. Studying for a huge exam might not seem as overwhelming if they have learned the value of small steps and incremental learning.

Socializing

The bonds that are forged during martial arts classes, and the friendships that develop can help your child socially. A large part of school is the social setting it takes place in, and if your child can learn healthy ways to interact with others, they will have lifelong success. The positive environment of martial arts classes is a great way for your child to have success socially, and build confidence that will carry over to the classroom.

So if you are looking for an activity that will help your child grow academically, martial arts is a great choice. The physical exercise, focus, discipline, and goal-setting that is learned on the mat can carry over into school and help your child find academic success as well. If you are looking for a great martial arts academy in Phoenix, Phoenix BJJ and MMA academy offers classes for all ages that can help you learn skills that will carry over into the classroom.