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Psychomotor Learning in Child Development

Over the last 15 years we've seen the same patterns in the children and young people who have come to us for training at Five Rings Training & Research Institute. To help those who do not have access to our training, here are some pointers below for Parents, PE Teachers and others involved with sports, physical education and child development.

In particular we have seen the problem with teenage boys, but this applies to all children and ideally their training should start as young as possible.

In a high majoity of children coming to us we have seen problems with their:

  • balance

  • core strength

  • muscle quality, length and strength

  • muscle around joints

  • weakness in ankle, knees and hips

These problems can and often do result in:

  • lack of coordination

  • gangly movements, lack of body control

  • 'loose' joints

  • strained ligaments 

  • lack of confidence

  • lack of concentration

  • energetic weakness causing emotional problems

  • even bullying

It is important to understand that motor learning and muscular development has a direct impact on brain activity and energetic strength. The psycho motor learning which ideally should take place early in a child's life is key to child development and the muscles developed prior and during puberty maintain for later in life. Miss these opportunities and its harder to correct the issues during adulthood. Here's some tips to help:

How To Avoid The Problems Listed Above

1) Whilst your child is growing their diet needs to support the growth and sustaining of muscles

2) Boys in particular shoot up in height around 12-13 but their muscles often don't follow the same growth rate of the bones (to put it simply) so training which helps lengthen and strengthen muscles and support the joints is key

3) Regular swimming training for children whilst they are growing is excellent. We don't mean the odd saturday trip to the pool we mean club training, with a good coach. This kind of childhood training gives body strength which lasts and supports healthy living through the rest of your life.

4) Martial Arts is great and we recommend a good karate training with a good teacher, to strengthen the body, create discipline, and learn respect. We've undertaken training around the world on grueling training camps and it has always been the karate blackbelts who stand out and pull through to the end, physically as well as mentally! Swimming and karate have been fundamental to our training and trust us it works!

PE At School

We're hearing more and more complaints of mass training of martial arts during PE in schools where judo and BJJ is being taught to children who don't have the muscle to protect their joints being thrown and joint manipulated in classes of full-year groups with just one teacher in the room. Students are then being brought to us to rectify the matter, strengthen them up and give them the key skills so they can handle the lessons at school. What concerns us is this kind of teaching, where techniques are taught before the body is strong enough to manage them, damages the body and no great learning is going on whilst a child is in pain or physically incapable of carrying out the task.

Similar problems are coming in off the rugby field and football pitches where the children are being taught the game at school but not how to warm up properly, strengthen the muscles effectively and cool down and stretch correctly. If your children aren't getting the training they need to develop their bodies properly at school please read up and show them or arrange coaching for them outwith school which teaches the correct support-training for the growth period and instills healthy habits. Alternatively speak to your school and ask for a proper explanation of the systems taught during Physical Education. Find out how they're training your child and how growth-relevant the work is. Ask them what you can be doing at home to support their physical training.

At Home

Instilling supportive habits at home and within the weekyl schedule is key. Try some of these suggestions and for further information you can check out our artciles for ADHD and Austim for further help.

  1. limit device time

  2. get out into the outdoors to create functional fitness whenever you can

  3. install a kickbag or trampoline in the garden to release stress and energy

  4. consider swimming, karate or climbing as part of your weekly exercise schedule

  5. train as a family once a week.

  6. Eat to support strong bones and growing muscles

  7. drink lots of water and remember no sugar or processed food.

For further information contact


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