"Vincent Almeroth tried gymnastics. He tried soccer, basketball and baseball, too. But the 11-year-old from Glenview, Ill., is dyslexic, which made it difficult for him to focus on the playing field. There was too much unanticipated movement and interaction with other kids, says his mother, Lisa Terranova. Then three years ago Vincent tried karate. It was an instant hit. His agility and self-confidence improved almost immediately, and his reading has progressed as well. Now the fifth grader is a blue belt. Karate has "given him a greater ability to focus and to struggle with things that are difficult," says Terranova. Vincent puts it more simply: "Karate makes me feel strong and good and happy"" (Greenberg, par. 1).
Children today are bombarded with distraction, pre-occupation and recently identified attention deficits that can create behavioral problems as well as learning difficulties. Children often lack the self-assurance needed to face what might otherwise seem insurmountable; or, they are so aggressive they tend to have exaggerated responses to just about any stimuli. With many of our city's populations growing and our personal space declining, it is easy to understand how our children's problems have become more apparent to us. Teaching our children to better manage themselves can be accomplished! Through martial arts, children will enhance their confidence as well as their physical and mental control, while becoming better prepared to handle the challenges they will find in society.
Parents are often concerned about martial arts being based on aggressive principles. There are important differences, between martial arts and fighting, which are not often distinguished. This distinction does not have to do so much with just knowledge or skill; martial arts are all part of a complete training system, the goal of which is a total remaking of the student's very being (Payne 5).