You will hear many reasons how martial arts benefits children. However, I am going to break it down to street level in a easily understood way.
Children need to feel like they belong to a group and to feel important. Youths ages 8-13 years old are at a critical period where their personality and learning abilities are developing and can be either aided or suppressed by certain life experiences.
Martial Arts taught by a quality instructor benefits youths in ways other common activities cannot. First, belonging to a martial art academy gives youths a sense of belonging to the team/group. Training alongside others breeds a sense of teamwork and closeness. The mere act of training in self defense is recognized as important to the child as they are in fact learning to protect themselves physically, verbally and mentally. At a time where name calling, poking fun and bullying greatly affect self esteem, martial arts creates the feeling of accomplishment and confidence.
Martial Arts have been known to frequently transform students personalities. Introverted and timid youths become outgoing and charismatic. Highly confident children learn to become humble. They all learn to help each other.
Lastly, training in the arts teaches “learning readiness” and “focus” that common youth activities cannot. Youths learn to material step by step in a sequential and logical manner. They will learn to take this same strategy and apply it to life’s situations (school, social situations, etc). Also the fact that the student must focus by training in drills, forms, techniques, etc. transfers to many other situations in which focus and attention is need… such as the classroom.