Posted by: Pragmatic Mom | August 20, 2012

Can Martial Arts training really help children achieve better grades?

That’s probably not a question that you hear regularly, but it’s one that I hear quite often.  And, I will tell you the answer that I tell all of the parents who’ve asked me over the years which is absolutely yes!  There are a number of reasons why martial arts training does indeed help children with improvement in many areas of their lives, but for the purpose of this blog — their academics.

I’m sure that your thinking, c’mon how can teaching my child to kick, punch, and block get him to do better on his spelling tests? Or, will she magically learn to master her multiplication facts because of her lessons in karate?  If I were a parent who had never been exposed to martial arts, I too would have my doubts.  But, I can tell you firsthand that martial arts practice does helps improve children’s grades because of three very important words — goal setting, focus, and self-confidence.

At Giroux Bros. Martial Arts in Newtonville, not only are we teaching personal protection and self-defense skills to our students but we are also teaching them valuable life skills typically not found in other sports and activities.  Karate for kids does much more than teaching a child to defend themselves.  Let’s take a look at the three words individually to see exactly how karate lessons might be able to benefit your child with improving his or her grades.

Goal Setting — One of the most important values students learn through martial arts training is how to set goals.  At Giroux Bros. Martial Arts in Newton the very first thing a student achieves is their white belt.  They earn it after taking a lesson and showing the instructor what they’ve learned.  The very first lesson in karate teaches them that they are rewarded for working hard, paying attention, and behaving.  The subsequent step is to make it to the next level after 2 months of classes.  They learn that they can earn the next belt based on the same principles.  If they miss class often, don’t try, or misbehave they can’t earn their belt.  They are learning at an early age that hard work pays off.  We encourage our students to use goal setting in every area of their lives, not just in karate.

Focus — Focus is a word that all of us wish our children had a lot of.  Focus is also something that children need to be taught.  Coincidentally, it’s our very first life skill topic for the 2012/2013 school year.  We want our students to understand how important it is to focus at school, during other activities, and at home.  We instruct them on how learning to focus will lead them to success.  In the martial arts, students learn how to focus by coming to attention, getting into ready stance, and listening to the different commands of their teacher. If they aren’t paying attention, they’ll be lost in the class and won’t be ready for their next belt test.  We also teach the students to look into the eyes of the person speaking.

Self-Confidence— Confident people work harder.  Individuals with low self-esteem tend not to want to work as hard. They feel as if they would probably just fail if they tried doing something anyway, so why bother?  Martial Arts builds confidence in students.  Not only do they feel better physically, but they learn that through hard work and commitment they’ll earn a new belt.  Testing happens every two months and they all work extremely hard to be able to earn the next belt eventually making it to black belt.  Relating belt testing to school often helps students understand and enjoy the process of working hard to achieve their academic goals as well.

In addition to all of the above we also do not promote students to the next belt level if they aren’t doing their best at school and home.  We use a clever tool called the “Intent to Promote” letter that parents have to sign off on before belt presentations.

If anyone has questions about anything I spoke about in this blog, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I can be reached  via email at                               or (617) 641-2992.

Your Friend,

Steve Giroux

Copyright © 2012 Steve Giroux.  All Rights Reserved.



  1. Yes. For me I believe that martial arts can really help kids achieve better grades because there are a number of reasons why martial arts training does indeed help children with improvement in many areas of their lives.

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