Karate Kid, Kung Fu Panda, Shaolin Soccer, and Beverly Hills Ninja – who doesn’t know and love these movies? Aside from the fact that these movies take martial arts on centerstage, there’s no denying that they are also geared toward attracting the younger generation. Kids are often enamored by martial arts in one form or another and you'll find places that teach martial arts to be thriving businesses especially when it comes to young children.
Martial Arts and Kids
When you think about it, it’s actually a brilliant move! Of course, you want to target kids. After all, parents wouldn’t hesitate to invest in something for their children. Martial arts is often touted as an effective way to be better at school and to learn discipline. It’s also a way of teaching kids to learn to respect their elders. Mix that up with lovable characters, a funny plot, some action and TA-DA – the successful formula to gaining a huge following of young ones with their very supportive parents.
Starting martial arts young is a good thing. It teaches children discipline at an early age, instilling in them values such as perseverance and hard work. With the right support from the parents, kids who learn a form of martial arts can grow up with these values ingrained in him or her. It wouldn’t only be an advantage in how they perform academically in school but also in how they deal with other kids like making friends and handling conflict.
Martial Arts & Adults
On the flip side, one thing that I keep on asking myself is why isn’t more marketing targeted toward the older generation? After all, a lot of things martial arts teaches kids also resonates with adults. It’s not just kids who can benefit from discipline. It’s not just kids who can use some patience, perseverance, and diligence. While martial arts do help kids in a big way, it’s also of benefit for adults to learn and train.
Looking at the number of kids compared to adults training in martial arts, you’d be surprised to know that it’s quite rare to see an adult starting to learn martial arts during, well, as an adult. I think the main reason for that is we market so much toward the younger generation, forgetting that the core concept behind learning martial arts applies to adults too!
We spend so much time strategizing on how to make martial arts more attractive to kids that most of the adult market is lost in the process. No adult wants to hear how martial arts can help them in school nor do they want to learn how it can help them respect their elders (respect is something adults should have learned long ago as kids!). We need to make martial arts more relevant for adults to be able to get the attention of the older generation instead of just focusing on the younger market.
Why not focus on how martial arts can make someone a better employee or boss? Or stress the benefits of learning martial arts and its link to better parenting? Why not lay out the ways martial arts can help someone be a better athlete or can help one advance in their chosen career? In today’s lifestyle, martial arts is also a way of keeping fit and healthy.
Things like these are what adults want to hear and what can get them to go through the door and start learning martial arts. After all, people respond best to things that they can relate to on some level. Hopefully, we get to see older people take an interest in martial arts in the near future.