Discipline is the distance between goals and accomplishment. – Jim Rohn
A central pillar of all martial arts practices is that of discipline. This common denominator is the thing from which all of the training, the fighting and the accomplishment flow from. It’s not about standing in a still stance for hours on end, or being yelled at by someone. Discipline is something that comes from within, something that cannot be taught but that can be fostered.
It’s an essential skill for teens to develop because mastering discipline is what makes life work, it’s what pushes things forward in life so that success can come.
Getting to class on time, making good study choices, and having the focus to do the right things in the classroom are all things that teens improve upon when they train in martial arts. There is something fundamentally different about the discipline that comes from teens who develop it in training at a dojo as opposed to what comes in the classroom.
With martial arts, there is immediate feedback when good form isn’t followed in a punch or a kick – immediate physical feedback. Punch a board without proper form and it doesn’t break the board, it hurts the hand. Teens learn from that immediate and physical response about consequences, something that isn’t so readily visible in school where the ramifications of poor grades aren’t as clear until much later down the line.
By developing discipline in the dojo, teens learn to get ahead of negative consequences – something that translates beautifully to the classroom.
A major reason that teens struggle with relationships is because they struggle with self control. There is so much happening in the teenage body, and without a good deal of discipline, things can easily get out of control in ways that have serious emotional consequences.
Self control through self discipline offers teens a toolbox to take charge of their bodies and their minds. That self discipline really helps teens to feel confident in relationships and to make smart choices about them.
In the lives of teens, discipline offers something special. Teenagers stand at the precipice of their future lives, charged with making decisions and following paths that will affect them for decades to come. What does life look like after high school? What kind of career do you want to have? Where should you live?
We charge teens with making this series of life changing decisions at a time when they’re brains are a soup of hormones and development. Science tells us that the teen brain is something utterly unique in human development – vastly different from what it was in childhood or what it might be in adulthood. Yet often we don’t give them the right tools to navigate life, expecting them to act as adults when they most definitely aren’t yet.
Martial arts gives teens the chance to find clarity. The discipline that study and practice in martial arts provides helps teenagers to lay a foundation for a successful and happy life beyond the teen years. These aren’t just skills for today – they’re skills for the world of tomorrow too.