Back to (Karate) School: The Importance of Martial Arts for Kids
Every store, online ad, TV commercial, magazine, and newspaper is in “Back to School” mode as the summer clock begins to tick down and thoughts begin to turn to another school year ahead. As parents, we do all of the things we’re told to do in order to get our kids ready to be successful students. We buy all the materials and technology that we’re told they need, line up tutors, and brush up on our school lessons as we get ready to help guide them through tricky subjects (don’t get us started on “new” math).
But what if a key component of helping our kids be great students was handled outside of the tools meant for the classroom? It usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when parents are looking to help their children improve as a student but Karate can be a critically important part of making children successful in school.
Why is Karate good for kids?
While Karate teaches self defense, the lessons don’t end there. The self-discipline needed for Karate students to progress through the ranks are the same core set of skills needed for kids to excel in the classroom.
Whether it be in testing for a belt or just following the leader in class, kids need to concentrate on what’s being taught and on keeping pace with the instructor. The discipline that they develop in practicing moves over and over helps them outside of the Karate dojo and makes studying and paying attention in class that much easier.
Team sports are great, and like martial arts, can teach kids all kinds of lessons. In Karate, kids get an alternative to the team dynamic and get to focus on improving their individual selves. There’s no riding the bench, and no competition with other kids. They get to work at their own pace, and the progress that comes with new belts and ranks means a self-esteem boost to help keep them motivated.
Kids aren’t different from adults in that, it can be hard to know what’s expected of you. Whether you’re a working professional or a student, things aren’t always what they seem and the way to “get ahead” isn’t always a well-lit path. With Karate, kids have ground rules they’ll need to follow inside the dojo and inside the classroom in order to progress. And those rules are made clear to kids in Karate.
This benefit can be seen a bit more clearly but shouldn’t be overlooked. Karate is, in a way, exercise disguised as fun for kids. The repetitive movements help kids with motor skills and coordination, and perhaps what’s best, is that it can be done in any season and any weather. Karate is a great outlet for excess energy, which means more ability to concentrate when it comes time to hit the books.
The “Cool” Factor
What do kids think of the uniforms, patches, belts, and accessories that come along with martial arts? Take a look at the popularity of the Karate Kid movies thirty years later to get the answer. Kids find the universe surrounding martial arts to be cool and show genuine interest in the history and tradition of the sport.
They Will Fail
One of our oft-said mantras at Karate International is that we teach your kids how to fail. Whether it be a missed belt, a hit in sparring practice, a failed test, or missed promotion - failure hits all of us in life. A key component of success is in meeting that failure with an ability to rise up to the challenge again. That’s a huge element of what we teach and what they’ll learn in our dojo.
Parents don’t always realize that Karate sets standards for how kids should perform outside of the dojo in order to progress in rank. Karate International promotes our students’ progress by making it an objective to develop well-rounded students in school and in society. A student’s teacher will need to ensure that the student is doing satisfactory work inside the classroom and showing key attributes like respectfulness and courtesy in society as well.