As any martial artist will tell you, there are multiple benefits in martial arts training. Of course, the most obvious benefit is a knowledge of SELF DEFENSE which is one of the major reasons why systems were developed in the first place. Many people take up martial arts for the fitness benefits as well. Training in karate, tae kwon do, kung fu and other styles will improve one's cardiovascular fitness as well as tone the muscular system. Strength will increase from the calisthenics usually employed within training but perhaps not to the same extent as working out with weights. But overall power of one's body will definitely increase since the techniques teach how to use strength effectively.
A martial artist will also improve flexibility significantly while training the entire ranges of motion from the body are exercised. This is especially true with styles such as tae kwon do, Thai kickboxing as well as some schools of karate and kung fu where high kicks are used. All martial art styles will result in an improvement of one's coordination as well.
Unlike many other forms of physical activity, martial arts also have mental and spiritual elements, which not only improves the mind's focus but also helps in self control. Emotions such as anger and fear are better controlled through training. Many martial artists can find an INNER PEACE through their training. In today's hectic world, these particular benefits translate into one of the most effective stress management tools available.
Training in martial arts usually involves many little steps and progressions. As one advances, the feeling of accomplishment comes with added confidence. This is especially beneficial for children who were not very confident in the first place. An increase in self confidence for kids (as well as adults) will have a cross over effect in other areas of life such as in other sports and general self esteem. Other challenges in life, both physical and mental, will be met with much less FEAR.
An important benefit of martial arts training for parents to note is that children will generally become more disciplined from the unique formalities of martial arts classes.
Martial arts training has so many great benefits covering physical, mental and emotional aspects that it's no wonder why it has become one of the most popular activities for both adults and children. However, it is important to point out that not all programs will produce the range of benefits discussed. Programs that teach just combat fighting techniques may not result in the desired mental and spiritual benefits so it is important to search around for the right school that will offer that.