By Matt Hudd
Children are at the heart of my classes because they are our future. Over the years I have been teaching martial arts to children, the classes have built a strong following, and the experience has taught me a lot too. The benefits of regular training reach well beyond the physical skills, so as a champion for mental health, these two causes have created a new purpose for me.
I have been teaching martial arts to adults for 11 years and children for eight. Prior to that I spent a decade working in mental health, which led to my interest in psychology and studying NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). This combined experience helped me discover my calling, teaching children.
As with all arts, you are constantly growing and evolving, and I am no different. When I first got into teaching martial arts, my reasons were mostly centred around making my lifetime passion into a career, fulfilling my dream. At the time of my coaching qualifications, I remember a presentation in which I answered questions about the role of a coach, but I did not truly appreciate the influence and persuasion that martial arts instructors have over their students. The responsibility of being a coach only became completely apparent to me once I found myself actively in that role.
NLP, which I have been studying for three years, explores the effect our experiences have on our behaviours and actions. Everybody views the world differently, depending on the experiences they have had, and it is often the case that some issues we struggle with in our adult years are a result of things that affected us at an early age. This is not always in a negative way though, often our past changes us in a positive way.
Having the knowledge of NLP and being in the role of an instructor increased my sense of responsibility. In the past, when I was asked about what I did for living, my typical reply would be,“ I teach martial arts”. This used to prompt comments such as, “I wouldn’t mess with you” or “I bet you can handle yourself then?” When people conjure martial arts, sometimes they think it’s all fighting, kicks and somersaults, but there is so much more to it.
Punching and kicking may initially spark people’s interest, and it surely gets children in to train – it worked for me in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But it is precisely because children see me wearing a black belt and doing all the fancy stuff, my position in front of the class carries the responsibility to instil good values to their young minds.
The skills taught in martial arts can be transferred to many areas of life, and it wasn’t until I became self-employed that I realised just how important these values are. Discipline, confidence and being able to listen are among the values I teach in class, and they are important in life, at work and in business, for example. They contribute to the knowledge of what it takes to achieve things in life.
I believe that by teaching good values to children at an early age will provide them with the resources they will need when they mature. So these days when I am asked about what I do for living, my reply tends to be, “I empower people to transform their lives”.
Matt Hudd Martial Arts classes for children and adults take place in Hereford and Ledbury locations.
Little Dragons classes are specifically designed for 3 to 6 year-olds, while Kung Fu Kids are open to those aged 7 to 12. Please get in touch to book as some classes now have a waiting list.
Kung Fu classes are also being introduced in local nurseries. Separate Adult classes, Tai Chi and seminars are available. New classes will be opening in 2018 and once the application for funding is accepted, a full time centre is planned with the aim to inspire more children and adults to reach their true potential in life.
For more information please contact Matt Hudd.
Tel: 07915 450 663
Facebook: Matt Hudd Martial Arts
Founder and editor of FitNet.
Previously gymnastics coach, massage therapist and personal trainer with 20 years of experience. Former gymnast and dancer.