Martial arts helps students develop delayed gratification skills

May 9, 2014

Children develop crucial life skills in martial arts courses.

Martial arts courses help children develop the skill of delayed gratification. This trait is one of the most effective personal characteristics of successful people, according to The Start Of Happiness.

For example, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted a study in 1970 that demonstrated children who delay gratification perform better academically, behaviorally and emotionally, according to Psychology Today. Mischel placed a cookie in front of a group of children and told the kids they could eat the cookie immediately. However, if the child waited, Mischel would offer the child two cookies.

His study revealed those children who delayed gratification in the study did better in school and had fewer behavioral problems than ones who couldn’t wait to eat the cookie. Additionally, those children also scored 210 points higher on the SAT than the other kids. Even as adults, the high-delay children graduated from college at higher rates and even earned higher incomes than the other group. Those who never developed delayed gratification skills had higher rates of incarceration as adults and had a greater chance of being addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Children who enroll in martial arts classes have to master skills before enjoying long-term rewards, such as receiving the next belt and rising through the ranks. When students learn how to delay gratification, they not only succeed in martial arts class, but in all areas of their lives.