Boosting Family Bonds through Martial Arts: A Path to Confidence and Connection

Are you an experienced Martial Arts practitioner who’s been considering involving your child in this discipline? Or have you spent the last three years ferrying your child to their Martial Arts classes and pondered the idea of joining them? You’ve likely become proficient in the terminology, the etiquette of bowing, and even the skill of tying a belt. However, have you ever felt that our busy schedules are excessively focused on our children’s activities, leaving limited room for family time?

Phrases such as ‘children’s activities,’ ‘mum’s relaxation time,’ or ‘dad’s night out’ often seem to prioritize ‘ME’ over ‘US,’ making it challenging to allocate quality family time and causing stress for parents. Remember, stressed parents can lead to stressed children, and this can adversely affect their confidence.

But here’s the crucial point—it’s not your fault. It’s how our society has conditioned us, with the media bombarding us with the latest parenting guidelines, playground boasts, and unrealistic expectations for children. We can break this cycle by raising our children to feel secure, valued, and an integral part of the family unit. When children feel this connection, they flourish, and there’s no need to push it.

It’s a confidence booster too

Much like adults, children need a sense of purpose and connection. Engaging in Martial Arts together can provide that common ground, boosting their confidence and strengthening your bond. They’ll not only learn physical and mental self-protection but also feel more secure knowing you can stand by their side.

Training with your children can have a remarkable impact on their self-esteem. In a world where many children and teenagers grapple with low self-esteem, it’s crucial to address the root of the problem—lack of connection. Invest your family time in activities that unite you, rather than enrolling your child in numerous extracurricular activities aimed at preparing them for adulthood.

Consider whether you’d enjoy joining your child in their activities. The same applies to Martial Arts schools; look for ones that cater to both adults and children. This way, your child won’t simply outgrow it after a few years. They’ll cultivate discipline, confidence, and a lifelong bond, all while spending quality time with you.

What do the studies tell us?

Studies show that a child’s confidence is closely linked to their parents. Beyond developing essential self-protection skills, training with your children encourages healthy habits and fosters family growth. Here’s how parents who practice Martial Arts can raise more confident children:

Establish Common Ground and Strengthen Family Bonds: Making time for family can be challenging, but planning training sessions together not only keeps you accountable but also provides built-in family time. Encourage and motivate each other on your fitness journeys, and you’ll find more to discuss at the dinner table.

Mutual Motivation and Goal Setting: Martial Arts involves setting goals, whether related to grading, technique, or mental mastery. When you and your child pursue these goals together, you not only support them but also become role models for goal setting. This shared experience creates a stronger bond and lasting memories for the entire family.

In conclusion, practising Martial Arts as a family can be a powerful way to nurture confidence, connection, and shared experiences. It allows you to prioritize ‘US’ over ‘ME’ and create lasting bonds that benefit both parents and children alike.

Here we go, British Open weekend and SDSMA are very well represented once again!

The school has certainly been something to be very proud of this year. It’s a growing school with lots of great young people working very hard to improve their abilities in the Dojo; proudly proven by the recent successes of those representing our club and England WUKF at the worlds. As Sensei, I have been hugely impressed by the dedication shown, and excited for those competing.

This weekend will see Joshua De Britto, Sophie De Britto, Harrison Langham, Eli De Leon and Freya Cowhan head to the British Championships to compete in their individual disciplines. Although, I won’t be coaching a squad this time, I will be helping and encouraging team SDSMA to do well and enjoy the experience. It’s going to be a great opportunity for our skilled and dedicated students, and we are all very excited to get going!

The Birmingham University of Sport will be hosting the WUKF GB Open International championships, running from the 9th to the 10th of September. It will be a chance for the sport to showcase young British talent and a great opportunity for me to look at students who will be representing England at the forthcoming European’s, where I will have the responsible position of coach once again.

I am sure you will all join me in wishing team SDSMA the very best of luck and please keep an eye out for updates on our Facebook page over the weekend. If you would like to learn more about the championships, check out the WUKF website for further information on the event.

Let’s go team SDSMA, Birmingham here we come!

The Strength of Strikes and Kicks: Advantages of Kickboxing for Children

Introduction to the benefits of kickboxing for young people!

Kickboxing, a martial art and combat sport, has gained significant popularity not just among adults but also among kids in recent times. Combining elements of boxing and martial arts, this high-energy activity offers various physical, mental, and emotional benefits for children. While some parents may harbour concerns about introducing their children to a contact sport like kickboxing, the advantages it offers are numerous and can contribute positively to a child’s overall development. In this article, we’ll delve into the diverse benefits of kickboxing for kids and why it’s a valuable pursuit to consider.

Enhanced Physical Fitness

One of the most conspicuous advantages of kickboxing for kids is the improvement in physical fitness. Kickboxing serves as a fantastic means for children to remain active and uphold a healthy lifestyle. Through consistent practice, kids build strength, stamina, flexibility, and coordination. Engaging in a blend of punches, kicks, and defensive manoeuvres activates various muscle groups, helping children develop strength in both their upper and lower bodies.

Cultivation of Self-Discipline and Concentration

Kickboxing demands a high level of focus and self-discipline from its participants. Children need to attentively follow their instructor’s guidance and adhere to a structured routine, which in turn helps them develop self-discipline and concentration. These skills prove valuable not only within the dojo but also in other spheres of life, such as academics and extracurricular pursuits.

A Confidence Boost

Participating in kickboxing can significantly elevate a child’s self-confidence. Witnessing their progress and mastery of new techniques over time instils a sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, kickboxing aids in the development of robust self-assuredness as children become more physically fit and proficient in self-defence if the need arises.

Stress Alleviation

Kickboxing serves as an excellent outlet for the release of pent-up energy and stress. The physical exertion inherent in kickboxing can assist children in managing stress and anxiety while fostering emotional well-being. It offers a healthy avenue for kids to vent their emotions and diminish tension.

Respect and Sporting Values

In the world of kickboxing, respect for instructors, training partners, and the sport itself is fundamental. Children learn to treat others with respect, adhere to rules, and exhibit good sportsmanship. These lessons extend beyond the training mats, teaching children the significance of respect and fair play in their daily lives.

Self-Defense Skills

Though kickboxing primarily focuses on self-improvement rather than combat, it imparts crucial self-defence skills. Kids acquire the knowledge of how to safeguard themselves and effectively handle potentially perilous situations. These skills bolster their confidence and contribute to a greater sense of security in various circumstances.

Social Interaction

Kickboxing classes at our martial arts school in Colchester offer an exceptional platform for kids to socialize and forge new friendships. They collaborate with classmates, sparring partners, and instructors, fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. The social interactions within the dojo can aid reserved children in becoming more outgoing and self-assured in social environments.

Goal Setting and Accomplishment

Kickboxing encourages the establishment of goals and their successful attainment, which is vital for personal growth. Children set objectives for themselves, whether it involves mastering a particular technique or advancing to a higher belt rank. Achieving these milestones instils a sense of achievement and imparts the importance of diligence and perseverance.


Kickboxing stands as an outstanding sport for children, offering a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional advantages. It not only promotes physical fitness but also imparts lessons in discipline, respect, and self-assurance. Furthermore, it equips children with invaluable self-defence skills and serves as an exceptional stress-relieving activity. The social dimension of kickboxing aids kids in building new relationships and developing teamwork, while the aspect of goal setting instils in them the significance of determination and achievement. All in all, kickboxing can be a delightful and enriching pursuit that positively influences a child’s development. If you’re contemplating introducing your child to a sport that provides a wide array of benefits, kickboxing is certainly a path worth exploring.

What is so special about Martial Arts regarding children’s wellbeing?

Why mental health and wellbeing in children would be massively improved through Martial Arts participation

There has been a great deal of research around the benefits of children enjoying regular activity and how taking part in a physical activity is a huge benefit to a child in many ways. Sport and the abundance of different types of sport are well-documented amongst this research but what isn’t always fully appreciated is the high degree of positive impact Martial Arts has on children. In any other context, it would be the market leader or the champion amongst champions with its inherent impact on the wellbeing of children.

This multi-disciplined sport sits at the very top of the league and comes with a huge and diverse array of benefits to every individual. Indeed, research demonstrates it is massively beneficial to children and adults.

The past three years has highlighted the vulnerability of the human race. The impact of the pandemic, the loss of familiar routine, the breakup family units, and the continuous and unfortunate financial pressures on people has culminated in an increase in child mental health issues. It is safe to say, it has certainly tested us all and vulnerable and sensitive children have often taken the brunt of the problems we have faced in the past years through no fault of their own. They are the absolute innocence and victims of these events. We know this because we read it and hear it almost every day via the media. It is a very real problem that needs to be addressed, and in Martial Arts there are some obvious and less obvious answers. The collective of these answers are a real game-changer when it comes to children’s wellbeing.

Firstly, let’s address the naivety…

A misunderstood bad press

It is very easy to see how any form of combat sport can be seen to be detrimental as the initial take on this form of sporting activity (specifically Martial Arts and Boxing) could be deemed as promoting fighting or committing an act of violence towards another human being. However, this is a very naïve and somewhat grounded in a lack of knowledge of what Martial Arts is really about. The controlled and measured martial artist has not a thought of violence, only a measured approach to a situation.

Martial Arts is grounded in the act of self-defense rather than the process of inflicting harm to another, without reason. Indeed, in a controlled and educated environment, the arts take on a form that teaches absolute self-control. It breeds and nurtures individuals to become controlled and respectful, demonstrating how to gain an advantage and solution that will through skill, education, and competition, inflict the least damage to the other person.

The misunderstood attitude which has also become an enigma in the way it is misrepresented in the abundance of violent Hollywood films and video games is a total contradiction to what this incredible sport is really designed to do.

Martial arts has an abundance of benefits, physically and mentally. In this article we look to specifically focus these benefits relative to young people and what it can do for them.

The physical benefits of Martial Arts

  • Martial arts are known for having a massive impact on a person’s flexibility, strength, endurance, and power. These outcomes culminate in excellent levels of cardio and physical fitness
  • Further biological improvements include positive osteogenic changes in the biological structure of a martial artists body, with significant bone growth and increased bone mineral density
  • Other physical benefits include control, balance, and physical movement, with the martial artist able to comfortably control their bodies in seemingly unbalanced situations. The addition to this control, agility and movement is their ability to repeatedly apply force at speed and repeat these movements.
  • The martial artist will gain a much greater range of movement than the average human being and athlete, developing a collective muscle mass that improves body composition. This demonstrates the opportunity for a martial artist to have greater levels of appendicular muscle mass gain than could ever be gained from any other sport
  • The obvious health benefits were a decreased resting heart rate, less chance of strokes occurring and increased heart efficiency when pumping oxygen through the blood
  • Overall, the physical activity of martial arts demonstrated a higher scoring health-related quality of life than any other athlete may experience when participating in alternative sports
  • Physical changes in the brain were recognised, with participation in Martial Arts resulting in increased gray matter volume, improving cognitive processes, motor learning, planning and execution of movement.

Socioemotional and mental health benefits of Martial Arts

These are the skills that are especially important for young people. The importance of these interpersonal and intrapersonal skills is to develop relationships and a sense of identity.

  • The socioemotional skills help young people to identify an emphasis on respect for other people, through interaction with Martial Arts instructors and peers.
  • Further life skills like discipline and emotional control are typical traits a young person gains from participating in Martial Arts
  • Bravery and empathy are also common traits that are enhanced and embedded in the psyche of a Martial Artist
  • Overall, the Martial Artist is greatly improved in areas of health conscious, body confidence, eating better, avoiding risk behaviours, avoiding drugs, alcohol and much more.

The common concern amongst parents which was highlighted earlier, is the risk that participation will increase aggression and violence.

  • The research found exactly the opposite, with the respect and level of discipline required in Martial Arts representing an ability to be in total control of emotions as well as recognising situations where irrational thought has a detrimental effect on emotional outcome.
  • Increased self-esteem, self-control and care of one’s body and safety are very strong in the young participating martial artist.
  • These positive attributes lead to greater cognitive performance in learning situations such as the classroom.
  • The young Martial Artist attitude in this environment demonstrates self-regulation, a positive self-image, both manifesting into exemplary classroom conduct and achievement.
  • Harmony of mind is a very typical trait, with Martial Arts placing an emphasis on breathing through techniques and some focusing on meditation itself.
  • With the level of control, Martial artists demonstrate much lower anxiety and depression levels compared to other athletes

Overall, it was found that martial arts contributed significantly to social, emotional, and mental health through participation. Social interactions allowed for greater sociability, while new experiences create emotional growth.

Self-control and self-regulation benefits from martial arts were found to lend to the classroom behaviour of children and adolescents as well. In addition, mental health issues are lower among physically active populations, and levels of aggression and violence decrease with martial arts exposure. Martial arts are therefore seen as positively beneficial activity for children’s and adolescent’s social, emotional, mental health and wellbeing.

One very interesting final word is how the participation of Martial Arts as a young person is more likely to see that individual continue to want to participate in other physical activities throughout their lives. It sets a tone for their future mentality to explore and enjoy the physical and emotional aspects of live as adults, and developmental skills as individuals.

Much of this research is known to us at SDMA as we see those results in the children, we teach every day. However, this article hasn’t been accumulated on any opinion, it has come from the many research papers conducted around the world into the benefits of Martial Arts for children and young adults.

At SDMA, we most certainly ee those benefits daily in children and adults!


Competition Success @ SDSMA

It has been a great weekend of sporting success this weekend as Team SD took a squad of Karate Students to the EKCC Champions Cup in Clacton on Sea, and Energyze Powerlifting Club hosts the Anglian Bench Press competition in house at our fantastic facility in Colchester.

A 27 strong squad of Karate Ka’s went to Clacton last Sunday, 24th July, and put on a very strong performance with excellent results in both Kata and Kumite individual and team events.  SDSMA won the over all club award of the day and best represented club of the day leaving us with a very happy and proud Sensei !  We would like to add that if it wasn’t for all those dedicated parents that support their children and those that actively help out in preparation and on the day then we would not be able to achieve these great results, so thank you.

Closer to home was the Anglian Bench Press competition where 22 lifters tested their strength and technique against each other.

We had a pretty new crew this time including Stu Townsend and Clare On the table. Shirley Blok did her first comp! Amy Clair got that elusive 90kg. Dan Mcgauley had a successful birthday getting all 3 lifts and then Judith got her 35kg too, followed by lots of yummy cake.
Dan Ashby previously struggled for months stuck at 120kg but opened on 125kg and even got 130kg looking smooth, and showed me how much progress and hard work he’s smashed 😃
George Macleod stepped up again loading and running the platform, along with Craig and Peter Lloyd, Amy also jumped in too.
Faye Jordan drove a long way again to support our competition, refereeing again with Mick Amey and Kitty Burroughs.

Some regulars were missed as they were staying covid safe or away at other events, but have previously been stalwart supporters and we’re still grateful for their help behind the scenes and previous efforts.

It was a good day all round, well done everybody involved.
Team SD!

EUKF Squad training

At the weekend SD School of Martial Arts was temporary home to the EUKF Karate squad for one of its periodic training sessions.  As part of the English United Karate Federation SDSMA plays an active role alongside the other association clubs in maintaining the squads high standards.
This session was the final large get together before the WUKF World Karate Championships in Fort Lauderdale, USA, in July this year.

Grading Date confirmed

Karate Grading for Kyu grades

The date for the next Little Dragons and Cobras, Karate and Kick Boxing has been confirmed for the 31st July 2022.  You have plenty of time to prepare for the grading but if there is anything you are unsure of do please approach one of your instructors for advice.

A new online entry form will be made available nearer the time

New Web Site

Due to an urge to refresh and a few technical issues with the old site we have rolled out a new one.  Work continues in the back ground to fill this with oodles of content and information.  Please bear with us
Many thanks
Team SD!