The Benefits of Karate Lessons for Children & Adolescents: Overview

Thank you for your interest in our school. I appreciate you using your time to look through this report. I will do my best to provide you with the information you’re seeking on the potential benefits of the study of Karate for children and adolescents.

To begin: You’re carefully considering Karate lessons for your child. Perhaps your child has come to you asking to learn Karate. Perhaps you’ve heard about our school from a friend or a colleague at work, and you’d like to find out more before deciding to get your child involved. Perhaps you’re looking for an alternative to competitive team sports.

This may well be uncharted territory for you. You’ve heard or read that there are potential long-term benefits for your child from the study of Karate – but you only have a very vague idea of what these are and how they apply. You may well not have taken Karate lessons yourself, and don’t know quite what to expect. That’s certainly true of the vast majority of parents and grandparents who contact our school.

Over the course of this report, we’ll be going into specifics together. To allow us to discuss these potential benefits more effectively, I’ve grouped them into five areas: Physical, Cognitive, Psychological, Social, and finally Parents & Families. Yes, you’re an important part of this process, and your participation is vital to our success. This has to work for you as well as for your child.

Some of these areas may be of more urgent concern to you than others. I’ll provide you an outline of the specific benefits for your child we’ll be considering in each of these areas. This will allow you to go there first – or to go back to something more readily should you wish to consider it further.

As parents, Karate is a tool for us to use in helping our children to personally grow and develop in many different ways. The benefits we’ll discuss in this report don’t happen overnight or in just a few weeks. It is completely natural for your child’s progress to be gradual and incremental. We’re engaged in a long-term strategy here – one potentially yielding life-long significant benefits for your child.

If you and your child choose this path, there are two significant ways you as a parent can contribute to helping your child realize on these benefits.

First, bring your child to their Karate lessons on a regular basis – the same two days and times each week, whenever that is possible. Provide them with a stable, structured, disciplined routine. Consistent repetition is the mother of all skill, whether that skill is a palmheel strike or being verbally assertive by telling someone “No”, and making it stick.

Second, during your drive home after each lesson, talk to your child about the positives you noticed. Mention where you noticed them improving on their work with a skill. Notice and remark on when your child is making a real, honest effort to master a skill, especially if they’re still struggling to perform it correctly. You can even ask simple questions about points you heard the instructor bring up in that day’s lesson – something along the lines of “What did your instructor mean by saying to use a shuffle step?” See if you can get your child to explain it to you. How you use your “drive time” with your child going home is every bit as important to this process as the time we spend during our lessons together.

Physical Benefits of Karate:

Overall, we’re working together to help your child begin cultivating the lifelong habit of an active, vigorous, healthy lifestyle through the study and practice of Karate.

1) Participate Completely: We will meet you where you are physically – especially if your child has been fairly sedentary recently and is looking to be more physically active. Our goal is to get your child participating fully in your Karate lessons as quickly as possible.

2) Stretching and Flexibility: We incorporate thorough, full-body stretching into every Karate lesson. We’re building your child’s overall flexibility and range of motion.

3) Overall Muscular Strength: Karate stresses using our body as a linked whole. We are working consistently to build muscular strength in all areas of your child’s body – upper, core, and lower. We’re also working to develop both right and left sides equally.

4) Balance and Co-ordination: The formalized stances, blocks, kicks, and strikes of Karate kata are vital to this. As we learn and practice kata in our lessons together, the stress on precision in performing these skills will help your child develop and strengthen both balance and co-ordination.

5) Low Risk of Injury: This may well take you by surprise – but we’re necessarily very mindful of how we use our skills in our lessons together, so that we don’t inadvertently damage each other. We follow the traditional approach with your child in our lessons together – we avoid injury through careful preparation, and equally careful practice.

6) A Sound Mind in a Sound Body: This principle is an ancient one, that has been borne out time and again by modern research – our psychological health and our physical health are strongly linked. Karate lessons provide your child with a constructive outlet for their physical and emotional energies critical for their health and development in both areas.

Cognitive Benefits of Karate:

Apart from physical training, Karate provides your child with a mental workout as well. We’ll be helping your child strengthen and develop their cognitive abilities – such as awareness, learning and reasoning – as we work together in our lessons.

1) Specific, Clear Instruction: Your child perceives and understands things differently than a mature adult. We will meet you where you are cognitively – we work to make our explanations and instructions concrete and specific to help you understand more readily.

2) Attention and Mental Focus: These are both aspects of Self-Control, one of our tenets and fundamental to the study and practice of Karate. Your child is practicing and enhancing their powers of attention and concentration as we work in our lessons together.

3) Improved “Working Memory”: This is the essential system we use for temporarily storing and managing information – learning, reasoning and comprehension all rely on strong “Working Memory”. Our learning and practice of connected sets of Karate skills – called kata – will help your child exercise and improve their “Working Memory.”

4) Self-Monitoring: This involves our awareness and understanding of our own behavior, and how others may perceive and react to it. Our emphasis on precise physical skills and formal etiquette toward others in our lessons allows your child to further develop their ability to Self-Monitor.

5) Cultivate a “Growth Mindset”: Karate is an inherently “Growth Mindset” discipline – we understand we can improve our performance and abilities by applying time, effort and energy. The challenges your child faces and overcomes in Karate, the goals they set and then accomplish, help them develop a “Growth Mindset”.

6) Preferred Learning Style: This is the way that your child most readily takes in and learns new information and skills. Your child’s preferred learning style may be Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic – we’ll present their skills to them in the form they grasp most readily. We’ll demonstrate, explain and then perform all the skills we work on together.

Psychological Benefits of Karate:

The personal strengths we seek to develop through our study and practice of karate – the strengths of heart and will – are as vital as the physical strengths. These strengths – the strengths of the warrior – we draw on in meeting and overcoming adversity. We also draw on these to meet the equal challenges presented by achievement and success. We’re working together with your child to develop strong personal character and robust psychological resilience.

1) Optimism: This is our positive, pro-active attitude toward our immediate prospects and our future. In your child’s lessons we focus our attention and our energies on seeing and understanding the opportunities before us – and working to make them happen.

2) Confidence: Your child develops their sense of confidence through “I can do it!” events where their success is noticed and celebrated. Your child’s accomplishments in the dojo, recognized by their fellow students, instructors – and, most importantly, by you as their parent – provide them with these important events.

3) Self-Respect: This is our solid conviction of our own worth as a person. As your child practices Karate, we’ll be laying some of the foundations of Self-Respect: solid, strong core personal standards of conduct, guided by respect for ourselves and for others.

4) Stress Management: “Stress” is a feeling of strain and pressure – a type of psychological pain we feel when we believe the demands placed on us exceed our ability to cope. Karate lessons keep your child physically and mentally active and give them a needed “time out” from stressors, combatting the mental and physical effects of stress.

5) Reduced Aggression: “There is no ‘first strike’ in Karate” is one of the founding principles of our art. In our lessons together, your child will be taught that their skills are only for use at need in self-defense – and that we don’t allow ourselves to be provoked needlessly into a quarrel or a fight.

6) Personal Resilience: In Karate, we know this strength as “Indomitable Spirit” – our ability to mobilize our personal resources to bounce back from reverses and defeats. In our lessons with your child we’ll treat challenges and setbacks as opportunities to learn, improve and ultimately succeed.

Social Benefits of Karate:

Studying and practicing Karate isn’t done in isolation – your child will be part of a community – a social network. As we train together in our lessons, we develop and practice our social abilities through working positively and constructively with our fellow students and instructors.

1) Dojo Community: As a Karate student, your child is part of our dojo – not just a place, but a community with shared values and aspirations. One of those core values is that every student matters, the beginner taking their first lesson just as much as the most experienced black belt.

2) Respectful Interaction: “Karate begins and ends with courtesy and respect” is a fundamental principle of our discipline. The simple, formal etiquette we follow in our lessons helps your child understand and practice basic civility – we treat others with courtesy and respect, and we expect to be treated that way in return.

3) Self-Discipline: Learning patience and practicing restraint are central to our practice of Karate, laying the foundations of Self-Discipline. The self-discipline we learn and apply in our lessons together enhances your child’s ability to stick with difficult tasks, face and make hard choices, and restrain their own behavior.

4) Leadership Strengths: We work together with your child to understand and apply these strengths – strengths such as Integrity, Perseverance, and Indomitable Spirit. Exploring, understanding and developing these critical leadership strengths is an integral part of your child’s instruction as part of our dojo community.

5) Assertiveness Skills: These are essential interpersonal skills, built around our ability to communicate clearly and forthrightly with others – we are self-assured and confident in our dealings with them. In our Karate lessons, your child learns and practices the positive and assertive social skills they apply to set and enforce personal boundaries and also to deal constructively with difficult people and situations.

6) Active Self-Defense Skills: “No-one gets to touch you without your permission” is our basic rule of active self-defense for all our students. This is a personal boundary we must enforce – the active self-defense skills your child learns and practices gives them the tools to do this when necessary.

Parents and Families Benefits of Karate:

As a parent, you have many calls on your resources – time, energy, attention and financial. These resources are limited, and you want to use them as wisely and effectively as possible. As well as being a good fit for your child, Karate has to work for you and the rest of your family.

1) Professional Instruction: Your child is working with educated, experienced and carefully trained instructors – people who are well grounded in both the theory and practice of working effectively with children. They’re also knowledgeable and proficient in the skills, history and traditions of Karate.

2) 3 Lesson Introductory Course: This gives you a simple, straightforward way to get started. During your Introductory Course you and your child get acquainted with our school, find out what goes on in lessons, and see if we will be a good fit for you and your family.

3) Special Program for Beginners: As a new student, your child will be taking lessons with other beginners of close to their own age and size. We’re going to focus on learning and practicing solid, reliable fundamental Karate skills – a foundation your child will build on as they become more experienced and proficient.

4) Flexible Lesson Schedule: Your child has several different lesson times available during the week – some earlier in the afternoon, some later in the evening – including a special “Make Up” on Sunday afternoons. These help you to sustain a workable personal and family schedule, even when something unexpected comes up.

5) Predictable Cost: Your child’s tuition at our school is a single, monthly fee – and you will select both the day during the month and your preferred method of payment for this. This will cover all foreseeable expenses associated with your child’s instruction – you won’t be paying a bunch of unexpected “add-on” fees for this, that and the other thing to participate in Karate.

6) Shared Experience: The study and practice of Karate is an experience you can share with your child in a couple of different ways. You can watch your child participate in lessons. You can also share this by becoming a student yourself – we have special lessons for adult beginners where you will be learning some of the same skills as your child, and facing some of the same challenges.

To find out more about getting started as a student at Broadway Family Karate, please follow this link: 3 Lesson Introductory Course.

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© T.R. Booker 2020

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