There’s nothing new about children participating in combat sports. Generations of kids have created strong foundations in martial arts like Karate or grappling as well as boxing. The one thing that has not changed is the equipment — until now.
Hayabusa has developed training gloves, S4 Youth Boxing Gloves, engineered to protect the still growing hands of young athletes and to last over an extended period of time. S4 Youth was designed to surpass industry standards by adding an unparalleled level of wrist and knuckle protection.
“I think parents need to understand that the selection of gloves they go with is fundamentally important,” Hayabusa CEO Ken Clement said. “Not all gloves are created equally and not all gloves have the same level of durability and protection. So when a parent selects gloves, sometimes it's convenient to look at what's available at the gym and it may be cheap and the coach may say this is okay for the membership, but parents please do your homework. Look into, are you buying from a reputable company that makes high quality equipment? And, are known for making high quality, protective and safe gloves? That's fundamentally important. … Invest and get good gloves and protect your children's hands.”
Once your child’s hands are properly protected, then you can focus on all the benefits of participating in boxing. The sport has a reputation for molding its pupils into better people. The health benefits include greater coordination, a higher level of conditioning, strength, and heart health to name a few.
When you're surrounded by good coaches and good peers that are on their team, it builds them into better people and foundationally it’s a skill set that everybody needs to have.
Those benefits go well beyond the physical nature of the sport. It also positively impacts one’s mental health. Children find they are able to focus more on tasks, their confidence is higher, and they are able to better navigate problem solving in their everyday life.
“Since being involved in combat sports, both my children, both my boys, have gained confidence,” said Clement, whose children participate in boxing, wrestling and other sports. “You see it in their walk, you see it in their eye contact when they talk to people and it's extremely important. A lot of that foundation is built because of combat sports and what combat sports teaches. When you're surrounded by good coaches and good peers that are on their team, it builds them into better people and foundationally it’s a skill set that everybody needs to have.
For many adults, boxing is a form of therapy. It has helped many deal with daily stress that comes from a career or family life, lessening the rigors that tend to find everyone. The same lessons can be passed on to children who participate in boxing.
“One hundred percent,” Clement said. “Boxing, specifically learning that skill set, again, builds a level of perseverance, working through challenges and hitting milestones and being proud of those milestones. And the support can come from the coach, it can come from the parent who is supporting this and in general these foundational steps builds, again, a well-rounded person.”
One of the most important parts of participating in combat sports is selecting a location that not only builds a solid foundation and passes on valuable skills, but also is welcoming. Ensure you visit multiple locations before making a decision. And although you want the sessions to be a good experience for your child, it shouldn’t be so easy that there’s no challenge presented to the young athlete.
“When parents are looking to include their children in some type of combat sport, it's important they actually meet with the coaches, they observe, they sit down and watch a class,” Clement said. “It's critically important that they understand what's happening and that they’re there and they see it. And they see how well the coach is interacting with the children and are the children having fun. If they're not having fun when they're there, there's a problem. So it should be hard work, but they should also enjoy it. It's an interview process where they meet with the different gyms, they meet with the different coaches and they find out what is best for what they are looking for their children.”
There may also be hesitation from some who believe when those new skills are learned through combat sports, a child may decide to use that knowledge for wrong. Clement has experienced the exact opposite.
“The belief that kids involved in, let’s say combat sports or in any type of contact sport in general, that it leads to aggression is completely false,” Clement said. “It’s actually backwards. It provides an outlet for children to use energy or even sometimes if there are frustrations and they understand that, they have a controlled outlet for it. So what it leads to is actually less aggression in other parts of their lives.”
In the end, the involvement of children in boxing has several valuable lessons that can lead to a healthier, more disciplined and even a happier person.