Is your child shy or dealing with low self-esteem?

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 04:30 PM.

Is your child shy or have have low self-esteem?

At Gordon Martial Arts, a common concern we hear from parents is their child is too shy or appears to have a low self-esteem. On the flip side, some of the children are a bit over hyper. And sometimes we get a child that is being bullied.

In the 20+ years I've been involved with martial arts, I've seen firsthand the transformation it has on students both children and adults. While the majority of the public have a very narrow viewpoint of martial arts from television and movies, most of us have never been and will never be Jason Bourne of the Bourne series. Martial arts instill values of self-betterment, not for combat.

While self-defense is certainly taught, a good martial art program will help develop a child's character making them a champion in life. And unlike team sports, martial arts is a personal journey. You are in a class of your peers and able to move at your own pace.

Complacent is not a synonym for excellence and martial arts gently nudge the student out of their comfort zone and into a realm of excellence. Will they trip and stumble along the way? Of course! Just like we all do in everyday life.

Each time they overcome the hurdle they'll be reaching a new level of self-esteem. They will also learn how to take responsible risks and succeed.

One of the ways to build confidence and bolster self-esteem is by setting small goals that lead into larger goals. With martial arts goal setting is done inherently as student advance in rank through a progression of colored belts. Each

new belt is after demonstration of betterment in technique and attitude. As the student moves up in rank, their self-esteem is naturally increased and everyone around them can see the personal growth and gaining of leadership abilities.

The ultimate symbol of achievement is a black belt. Earning a black belt should be rigorous and full of hurdles. As we've all heard, nothing worth having comes easy. Earning a black belt is reflective of the hurdles in real life. The student must demonstrate self-control and self-discipline to persevere through the hard training to reach each new belt until black belt is achieved. Once each of these smaller goals are reached through each colored belt, then the student will test for black belt symbolizing a certain level of excellence. And when life gets tough, the parent can remind the child how they pushed through adversity to earn their black belt. It's an achievement that will stay with them for a lifetime.

To read the rest of this article and a special invitation to try martial arts, go to

About the guest columnist: Thomas Gordon is a master level martial artist and owner of Gordon Martial Arts in downtown Crestview.

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