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A Very Disturbing Trend

Posted: June 12, 2010

Over the last few years, a very disturbing trend has developed among our country’s youth. The ability to focus seems to have vanished. The problem becomes extremely apparent as students prepare for college and when they begin attending college.

There is no doubt that trying to get into a good school takes a lot of work, but the amount of time it is taking children to study has grown disproportionately to the added demands placed upon them. In other words, they are taking far longer to absorb their material due to a lack of mental focus.

There are of course exceptions, but as a general rule, the ability to focus seems to have diminished. When I was younger, we were thought of as the MTV generation. (That’s right, when MTV actually played music.) With fast paced editing and constant stimulation, it was thought that we would have trouble focusing on one thing for any length of time. It can certainly be argued that this trait was indicative of my generation, but this trend seems to have continued and it is an epidemic with today’s youth. The constant barrage of video games, media, the internet, and text messaging has seemed to turn our young minds to mush.

In response to this trend, we have seen the martial arts industry grow as parents seek out ways to help their children gain focus and self-control. It has long been known that martial arts training greatly helps in this regard. It was demonstrated in a 2004 study of boys aged 8-11 who were diagnosed with AD/HD.** The non-medicated boys were given a pre-test which covered things like behavior and academic performance. They were then taught martial arts for 12 weeks and tested again. Overall, they had drastic improvements in their abilities to focus and behave, and they also showed incredible academic improvement. It is for this reason that teachers, therapists, and counselors recommend martial arts training with such frequency.

Hopefully, through martial arts and other disciplines which require commitment and concentration; we will reverse this trend which seems so prevalent among our young people.

** (For the record, I understand that AD/HD is a condition, and when I refer to “brains like mush”, I am referring to the population at large, and not those with this condition. The point of quoting this study is that if martial arts can help those with this condition, then they can help everyone.) **


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