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Should Parents Encourage their Kids to do Karate?

13 January 2023

Martial arts hold a certain fascination for children. A lot of the action they watch in film and television is built from the many styles of martial arts practised across the world. It’s no surprise that a lot of children are at some point eager to give martial arts a try.

Is Karate a Good Choice?

Karate is an excellent martial art for children to take part in. In its current form, karate is a relatively new martial art (though its roots can be traced back for over a thousand years). What makes karate a good choice for children is how widespread it is. Since the martial arts craze of the 70s and 80s, karate clubs and dojos have become very common. It’s now possible to find a club in almost every city or town in the country.

Karate is very accessible for new starters. The basic blocks, kicks and punches can be picked up in a relatively short amount of time. It doesn’t take long for a child to recognise their own progress, which is a tremendous boost for confidence. That’s not to say it’s easy, or that it can be mastered quickly. You’ll often hear it said that a karateka (someone who practises karate) never stops learning. The path to success is broken into small steps in the form of coloured belts (known as kyus). Children respond well to the sense of achievement that grading for a new belt brings.

What Are the Benefits for Children?

A major benefit of karate is an increase in physical activity. Most martial arts sit in a unique place in that they’re a fitness class, sports club, self-defence class and self-help programme all rolled into one. A single karate class brings all of these elements into play. Children can improve their physical fitness levels and get active whilst picking up skills that boost their confidence and make them feel worthwhile. They can learn how to manage anxiety and stress whilst making friends and feeling part of a close-knit sports group.

How Can Parents Encourage Their Children?

It’s not easy to walk into a dojo. Peek through the door and you’ll see what looks almost like a cult: people in identical white robes, shouting at random moments, punching the air and using unfamiliar terminology. It can be daunting. The best way to encourage your child is to go with them to a session. Most karate clubs gladly allow parents to sit and watch from the sides. It might help to ask around other parents to see if any other children are looking to start. It’s a lot less daunting for a child if there is someone else who is new, too.

Once your child has been to a few sessions, keep the enthusiasm and physical activity going by helping them train at home. You never know, you might decide you want to take it up yourself, too!

Photo by RODNAE Productions

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