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Can Martial Arts Impact the Health of the Family Unit?


I’ve written before about the benefits derived through families actively spending time together training. Karate is one of only a few active disciplines that genuinely can enable all family members to participate in together. In fact, something I’m most proud of with our small club is the number of Father Son, Mother Son, and even multi generation Father, Daughter, Grandson, families we have training together.


In today's world, digital distractions have become a norm inside the family unit, leading to a rise in dysfunctional behaviours within some households. To combat this, is it possible to consider we might learn from Japanese culture and the martial arts to create a healthy family environment? Here are five key takeaways for consideration:


1. Respect:

In Japanese culture, respect is a fundamental value. This applies to both elders and younger family members. By showing respect towards each other, we can create a harmonious family environment where everyone feels valued and heard. This can be achieved by setting aside time to listen to each other and avoiding distractions such as phones and tablets.


2. Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a key practice in Japanese culture and martial arts. It involves being present in the moment, paying attention to your surroundings, and focusing on your breath. This can be applied to family life by encouraging everyone to be present during family time and to avoid distractions. Encouraging mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve communication within the family.


3. Discipline:

Martial arts are known for their emphasis on discipline. By setting rules and boundaries, we can create a structured and stable family environment. This can be achieved by setting clear expectations for behaviour, creating routines, and enforcing consequences for negative behaviours.


4. Physical Activity:

Martial arts are a great way to incorporate physical activity into daily life. Exercise is essential for maintaining physical health and can also help reduce stress and improve mental health. Encouraging physical activity as a family, whether it be through martial arts or other activities, can help promote a healthy lifestyle and create bonding experiences.


5. Perseverance:

Martial arts teach the value of perseverance and determination. By instilling these values in our children, we can help them overcome challenges and setbacks in life. Encouraging children to persevere through difficult situations and to never give up can help build resilience and foster a positive attitude towards life.


In conclusion, Japanese culture and martial arts offer valuable lessons that can be applied to family life. By incorporating these values into our daily routines, we can create a healthy and harmonious family environment that promotes communication, respect, and discipline. By reducing digital distractions and focusing on these values, we can improve the wellbeing of our families and create strong bonds that will last a lifetime.


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