How Karate Can Become Part Of Your Child’s Healthy Lifestyle

Many parents across the Western world share a common concern regarding the lack of exercise and discipline in their child’s lives. While previous generations would have spent their childhood free time outside playing, many of today’s youngsters spend hours in front of the television or games console. Admittedly today’s world is different and it is much harder to give children the freedom to play outside for safety reasons. However, this doesn’t mean the only other option is to keep them indoors. There are plenty of safe alternatives to keep your children active and healthy, and karate could be just the solution you need.

The benefits

Karate brings fitness and focus into children’s lives. Some parents are concerned that it promotes violence but this isn’t the case as it actually helps to develop self-discipline and socialisation skills in youngsters. This is particularly apparent in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as karate helps to develop concentration and self-control which are exactly the skills that are underdeveloped in kids suffering from ADHD.

Classes begin with a bow to the teacher, or master, and then pupils move on to learn and practice karate skills, including kicks, punches and blocks. This all involves concentration and attention from the children, which is a great way to help them develop those skills.

Some people consider the respect learnt through karate to be the most beneficial outcome for kids. Students bow to the teacher and are expected to stand still to wait for the next command. As the sport is steeped in such history and tradition and is portrayed so positively in modern films, such as Karate Kid, many children seem to appreciate and connect with this form of discipline and respect when they have failed to do so elsewhere in their lives. Once this discipline is learnt it often carries over into other aspects of their lives such as their behavior at school and at home.

A healthy way of life

Karate sessions will keep your child active. Regular participation in karate lessons will improve your child’s cardio-respiratory fitness, flexibility and balance as well as core muscle-strength. It is recommended that the age of six is a good age to start karate as by that time children have enough muscle control to punch and turn safely. This is essential if they are to progress and get the most from the karate sessions.

One of the benefits of karate is that children can practice it at home without the need of special equipment or teammates to practice with.

A confidence boost

Taking part in karate sessions can also be a great confidence boost for your child. Whereas many other sports are all about winners and losers karate is more focused on personal development. Progressing though the various belt colours as their skills improve gives children a great sense of satisfaction and confidence in their abilities, providing them with an ‘I can’ attitude. The sport also encourages children to cope with uncomfortable situations. In terms of karate this can take the form of performing in front of fellow students or stepping into the ring and sparring with them. The development in confidence will translate into other aspects of their lives such as giving presentations in school, and speaking with older kids or adults more confidently and authoritatively.

Parents can get involved, too

It is a good idea for parents to work as closely as possible with their children to ensure that their lives are lived in a healthy and positive manner. This can cover parents getting involved in various aspects of children’s lives to help them learn how to live their lives healthily and to guide them in the right direction. A classic example is parents cooking with their kids, which according to helps kids to ‘learn a skill which will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives’. The same can be said for karate…What many parents don’t realise is that karate can be a great way to bond with children. Many karate schools, including Surrey Karate Academy encourage the involvement of parents in their sessions. Involving parents is the best way of helping them to appreciate that karate really isn’t a violent sport. In fact it is great for parents to see the safety measure that are put in place during classes as well as the important self-protection skills that it teaches their children so these can be continued at home.

Being involved in karate lessons with your child is also a great way to bond with them and to encourage them to stay dedicated and committed to progressing. What better way to show your child that you are interested in their hobby than by taking part with them? Practicing with your child at home is also a great way of developing your relationship and spending quality time together.

An enjoyable life skill

As well as the many benefits of karate covered above, karate is also a hugely enjoyable activity for kids to take part in. They may be enjoying themselves so much that they don’t realise that their life is changing for the better around them, and that is exactly as it should be!

Article written by Claire Morris

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