There are many schools that associate martial arts primarily with sports (competition), and there are some that focus on the discipline (classical). The difference between sports schools and classical schools is the underlining influence of what is being taught, and to whom.
Sport and competitive martial arts – For some children athletic competition is important and feels right. These children are naturally motivated and demonstrate skills that come easier than most. These children blossom in a competitive environment where others do not. They are motivated to win, to challenge their skills against others, and to perform. They work well independently or in a team setting as long as there is a goal to be scored, a competition to win, or an audience to impress.
Classical martial arts – For most children the classical approach to martial arts works best. These children learn and progress better in an environment where they can grow at their own pace without the pressure of athletic competition. They are motivated to train by other interests, and often require more time to discover their talents and strengths. Their training emphasizes progress without competition, and is often not as appealing to competitive-minded children. Quite often, it is from these children that the great leaders of tomorrow spring. These children are taught to not lose.
To win is a short-term goal that everyone can see, and requires skill and strength—someone must lose. Good competitors handle loss well and are taught to beat their opponent.
To not lose is a long-term goal that is hard to see, and skill is not as important as inner strength—no one loses. This method to success requires discipline and depth from children, and these students learn to outlast their opponent.
Something is learned from both, and both have their values.