Kung Fu is a unique hobby when compared to many other physical activities. Not only can someone learn Kung Fu at any age, but the benefits children and adults receive can change drastically based on how old they are and what stage of life they’re in. Today, we’re going to dive in and see what the best benefits are (on average) based on your age!
Ages 5-11: Childhood Developmental Skills
A good kids Kung Fu class will show your child how to punch, kick, and exercise. A great kids Kung Fu class will focus on developing and reinforcing the life skills that children are already working on building. Most children at this age are learning how to be focused and disciplined, how to never give up, how to control their bodies, and be respectful of others. Everything taught in Kung Fu can be tied back to their specific stage of development.
For example; breaking a board may help show that your child is getting stronger, but it also can be used to show them to always try their hardest and break through obstacles even if they don’t think they can. Not only is this a more fun way to teach them these important lessons, but the fun and excitement of breaking a board will also help the lesson dig in deeper than if they’re simply told to always try their hardest!
Ages 12-17: Confidence and Pride
One of the hardest parts of raising a teenager is dealing with the fact that they are beginning to leave the nest; which means being exposed to some of the not-so-great things that life has to offer.
As parents, this can make us worry. Will they be bullied for something out of their control? Will they be peer pressured into doing something they shouldn’t? Have I given them the right skills so that they can make the right decisions? Although I can’t answer these questions for you, I CAN speak from experience and say that Kung Fu is a blessing in disguise when you’re a teenager.
First off, having a Sifu (Kung Fu teacher) means that you have one more parental figure in your life. Whenever I was faced with peer pressure as a teenager, the first thing that popped into my mind was not what Mom or Dad would think…it was “what would my teacher think of this?” and “what would my friends in class think of this?”
Why was this the case? Because as teenagers, we have a tendency to think our family is supposed to care, and that obligation makes it seem less real. A teenager can’t use that same excuse with a teacher or classmates , however, because there is no blood relation to them. It seems somewhat silly looking back on it as adults, but that can make a big difference for a teenager.
Also, the teenager will quickly learn that if all these others believe in them and care for them, then they should believe and care for themselves. This not only will help boost their self-confidence, but also reminds them they have their whole lives ahead of them and that they shouldn’t get involved with the wrong types of crowds. These two skills are crucial for a teenager getting ready to enter the adult world.
Ages 18-30: Direction and Relaxation
I’ve met approximately 0 people who have graduated school and immediately understood how life worked or what they wanted out of it. This is a hectic time in most people’s lives, as this is when we are trying to find a way to enjoy our lives, but also be a productive member of society.
For these young adults, Kung Fu training can be a blessing in helping them gain some clarity on their journey. There are many people you will work with in class who have more experience and can provide you a viewpoint or thought process on something that you may not have received anywhere else. Kung Fu classes also provide a sense of routine for many younger adults. I, for one, have always been thankful for the ability to say “these days at these times I will be in class, and I can set aside everything else and just enjoy class for the next 1-2 hours.” That ability to let go and let the brain relax can work wonders for stress levels and maintaining balance in an otherwise chaotic life.
Ages 30+: Well-Being of Body and Mind
This is similar to our previous section, but there’s some notable difference. There comes a point in many people’s lives where they have a better understanding of how ‘adulting’ works and they manage to juggle insane schedules of their work, home, and social lives. What many people end up neglecting, however, is their physical and mental well-being.
When we’re younger, we just push through and have the “I’ll relax later” mentality. That’s great while it lasts, but at a certain point we begin to burn out. A night without sleep is harder to walk off, injuring yourself doesn’t heal as quickly, and certain accidents can leave a chronic pain that you need to manage for the rest of your life. Something such as a Kung Fu class can physically keep you in shape, but also teach you how to de-stress and manage chronic pain. Kung Fu is about learning to be as effective as possible with the body you have and how to achieve maximum fitness WITHOUT injuring yourself in the process!
This is even more important in the later stages in life, when the body is beginning to break down and we are trying to maintain what we already have. Kung Fu is built of many exercises and drills that are adjustable so that you can work at any skill level. It doesn’t matter whether a student is in their 20s and athletic or if they’re in their 80s with arthritis. The exercises can be adjusted and completed to achieve the same level of workout despite physical limitations within the body.
Many people join Kung Fu for very specific reasons. Self-defense, physical fitness, meditation, etc.
Some students will come in, learn what they want to learn, and then leave. That is okay.
Some, however, will see that their Kung Fu training can be used for so much more and will use it to better themselves in their every day lives, making it easier to live a life that is more rewarding and fulfilling.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope it is a choice that brings you more happiness and knowledge than beforehand.