Martial arts training helps children with cancer

September 24, 2013

Martial arts training can help kids cope with cancer.

Martial arts training can help children improve their grades, build confidence and stand up to bullies, but there are unforeseen added benefits in physical and mental strength for people suffering from cancer. Kids Kicking Cancer is a nonprofit organization that teaches children martial arts skills and breathing exercises so they can gain strength to face their diagnoses and treatment, according to ABC News.

The program was formed by Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, a master in Choi Kwang Do who lost his daughter to leukemia. While the kids involved in the program enjoy learning the kicks and punches, they also learn meditation and breathing techniques in martial arts therapy to help them cope with the pain of treatment. One patient who was diagnosed with cancer as an infant went from being held down for treatments to managing on his own at seven years old, the source said.

A cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause a great deal of pain and anxiety, but martial arts training gives kids the strength to withstand the pain and keep themselves calm. Many kids feel nauseous and weak after chemotherapy, and their doctors think they can benefit from physical activity.

Benefits of martial arts for children fighting severe diseases
Kids Kicking Cancer operates in nearly one dozen cities internationally to support 2,200 children with chronic illnesses, according to an article in Bridge, a Michigan news source. Students at all stages of the healing process are encouraged to participate.

Martial arts is an activity that is accessible to everyone. Program instructors are black-belt masters who have spent time working with pediatric cancer patients. Children are led through meditation exercises and basic martial arts moves. These techniques teach them the self-discipline to manage pain and believe in themselves in addition to building physical strength.

Positivity has been shown to improve treatment and foster mental strength when people are facing hardships. Martial arts training helps pediatric cancer patients become more disciplined and confident, which can change their outlook about their diagnosis. Because martial arts techniques help patients manage pain, they can have a more positive outlook after surgeries and chemotherapy, which can help the healing process. Many children take these benefits with them after they complete treatment. Although cancer is emotionally grueling, children who survive it can go on to apply the lessons of strength gained from martial arts to other challenges in life.