My kids complained to me last year that most of the kids in the neighborhood were boring. Many of their friends, they explained, preferred video games to physical activity.

Times have changed drastically since I was a kid. I don’t ever recall a parent saying, “If you want proper motor neurological development you need to work your body,” or “Excessive screen time can damage your brain development.”

   Now we live in an era where experts with long strings of letters behind their names whip us up into frenzies with phrases like: ‘The Bully Crisis,’ ‘Low self-esteem,’ ‘Childhood obesity’…or my personal favorite: ADD.  Sure, we had issues when I was a kid, but being sedentary was not one of them.

   Truth is, an intense activity that addresses cross-body movement, aerobic activity, balance, agility, and control can work wonders for a child and an adult for that matter.

   Jiu Jitsu is such an activity. Kids get up close and personal with their classmates, listen to directions, and then demonstrate what they learn.  Kinesthetic learners thrive in this environment. The structure of martial arts requires discipline, coordination and body awareness. In a few short months, I have seen my extremely active rather clumsy daughter go from having no clue about the sport to executing techniques.  The confidence she has gained in this sport has translated into her other sport, volleyball.

   Having been involved in martial arts for many years, this phenomenon is no big secret.  Martial arts develops a platform for athletic and real-life performance by concentrating heavily on situational awareness. For example, I’ve seen the skills my son has learned in martial arts translate into improved outcomes on the soccer field.

Did you know that the NFL has even encouraged its players to take up martial arts to promote on-field performance?

   If you don’t try, you’ll never know.  Since joining Family Jiu Jitsu and Karate here in New Braunfels, I never say, “Stop watching TV.”

Now I find myself saying, “Stop choking your brother if he taps…”

Yes, times have changed.

Neat links to check out:

1)http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000567511/article/mixing-in-martial-arts-to-improve-onfield-performance

2)    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

3)    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/behind-online-behavior/201604/what-screen-time-can-really-do-kids-brains

About the author:  Alan Harvey is a former Marine and now Army Nurse at Brooke Army Medical Center. He is an avid lover of Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and physical fitness. Sometimes he has even been known to write Sci-fi books on Amazon under the pen name: James Garmisch.