Important Life Skills Your Child Will Gain from Karate
A Look at the Many Karate Benefits for Kids That Will Last a Lifetime
Before contemplating the idea of sending their child to karate lessons, parents often question how their children will benefit. Some are concerned that martial arts will make their children more aggressive.
But the opposite is likely to happen. Martial arts for kids teach discipline, respect, leadership, confidence, and many other qualities that will help kids succeed in life.
Why There’s A Stigma
Martial arts are often seen as aggressive, violent, and gory when depicted in film and television. But in reality, martial arts emphasize core values that help students grow physically and emotionally.
While there is a physical component to martial arts, these classes do not teach aggression. Instead, they teach students how to remain composed when faced with conflict, only using self-defence techniques as a last resort.
What do martial arts teach a child? Instead of teaching students how to be violent, martial arts teach students the skills and values that will benefit them throughout their lives.
How Martial Arts Helps Children with Learning & Attention Issues
Exercise is incredibly rewarding for children’s mental and physical health. But children with learning and attention issues may have difficulty participating in team sports or highly coordinated activities like ballet and figure skating.
Plus, learning and attention issues can cause children to lack the social and physical skills needed for team sports. And if they have difficulty following the rules, they may feel left out. But martial arts focus on the development of physical and cognitive skills, including attention and self-control.
Focus on Individual Growth
Instead of having the pressure of team competition, martial arts focus on self-improvement. So kids don’t have to worry about competing with other kids, losing games, and letting the team down.
Kids won’t ever feel like they aren’t good enough and that they never win because they work at their own pace and are awarded a different coloured belt whenever they reach a new skill level. Reaching these attainable concrete goals helps boost self-esteem and keeps kids motivated.
While martial arts techniques and forms have many movements, these routines are broken down into manageable chunks that kids can memorize. Kids will learn and repeat movements and add to the movements, learning gradually. They will learn to anticipate which steps come next and will eventually be able to put all the movements together.
Emphasis on Concentration & Self-Control
Since attention is a core part of martial arts, instructors teach kids to stay focused so they can learn and perform well. Instructors emphasize paying attention by asking students to take the ready stance whenever their focus wavers. The ready stance is a position that students get into to ready themselves for what’s next, but it also gives kids a moment to reset and refocus.
The repetitive movements in martial arts help kids focus on their body in space, which allows them to develop better physical coordination. This coordination is especially helpful for kids who have issues with motor skills. And it also helps kids learn the power of mind over body, which is especially valuable for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Emphasis on Good Behaviour
Martial arts instructors will set clear expectations and rules for behaviour in class and will consistently reinforce these rules. They will emphasize good behaviour both in and outside of the class, and some will even send home behaviour charts for parents to sign.
An Outlet for Excess Energy
Martial arts classes are safe outlets for burning excess energy. While some parents worry that martial arts encourage violent behaviour, martial arts are actually about building character, so instructors will only emphasize fighting as a last resort.
These classes teach self-control while also allowing kids to burn off energy and work out frustration and anger with kicking and karate chopping.
An Accepting Environment
Since respect is a core value in martial arts, kids are encouraged to support their classmates and show respect for everyone, including the instructor. Negativity is not tolerated in martial arts classes, so these classes provide a positive, accepting environment for everyone, no matter their skill level or learning abilities.
Benefits Your Child Will Get Out of Martial Arts Training
What will your child learn from practicing karate? Here are some examples.
In martial arts, kids learn self-discipline—the ability to control emotions, behaviours, and impulses, while working towards meaningful long-term goals. Self-discipline is learned through respect-based customs that lead to improved focus and concentration, along with the repeated practise of techniques and the use of uniforms in the dojo.
Self-Confidence and Leadership Skills
Martial arts encourage kids to work toward and succeed in achieving their goals. As a result of achieving their goals, kids will feel empowered and more confident in their abilities, and learn that hard work and focus pays off. They also learn how to work with both their strengths and weaknesses, not to view failure negatively, and instead, to see failure as a learning experience.
Martial arts also encourage students to help lower-level students, which will result in them developing leadership skills and feeling empowered to act as role models at home, school, and out in the community.
Martial arts help kids become physically fit with exercise that includes cardio, flexibility, strength training, and relaxation skills. Students end up valuing the importance of staying fit so they can reach their goals in the dojo.
And their healthy, physically-fit bodies will help them in other areas of life, such as boosting their confidence and moods with endorphins, improving social interactions, and increasing their energy and concentration throughout the day.
Martial arts teach self-defence and how to avoid being the aggressor in a conflict. As a result, students learn peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution to prevent physical altercations.
Respect is a core value of martial arts. Students are taught to respect the martial arts masters, their instructors, and peers. Kids will also learn to respect themselves and those below and above them in status.
Martial arts instructors will focus on this value consistently and will encourage students to value respect outside of the dojo as well.
Students learn how to listen well during martial arts classes. They must listen carefully to their instructors one-on-one and in groups to demonstrate the respect and skills necessary to move on to higher belt levels.
In martial arts, students learn the skill of courage—to be brave and stay focused in the face of fear. Or, to channel brave energy to act in spite of fear. By having courage, they can set goals, overcome challenges, and gain success both in the dojo and throughout their lives.
Since martial arts are physically and mentally challenging, they require attentive focus from the students. Kids must focus to learn a technique correctly, practice meticulously, and channel their energy and strength.
Like the many other values of martial arts, focus is a skill that kids end up using outside of the classroom/dojo as well—e.g., in school and with homework and chores.
How to Set Goals
The coloured belt system in martial arts teaches children to set goals and encourages them to reach these goals. Goal-setting is a skill that can transfer to a child’s everyday life. And they will gain the courage to set and achieve these life goals, such as graduating from high school and college, working in the career of their dreams, while also attaining their lifestyle goals.
There are significant benefits that can come out of karate lessons for kids, and many of these benefits will help your child outside of the classroom as well. These skills are transferable to life in the real world, helping kids succeed throughout their lives so they can grow up to be happy, confident, healthy, and respectful individuals.