In the age of instant gratification, everyday rewards and entitlements Karate teaches us that persistence, respect and humility are the ways forward. As parents we want the best for our kids and we want our kids to be able to achieve their best. We want them to be the best version of themselves.
The following list is compiled of the six attributes Karate training in the right dojo will promote in your child. They only have to turn up, walk through the door and listen.
- Confidence: Walking through the door on that first day takes courage, curiosity and maybe a little push dappled with parental assurance. New experiences get easier to approach in time and while the fear never goes away completely, the more times you put yourself in a new situation the more coping mechanisms you build. Kids learn instinctively that they need to make eye contact, start a conversation, simply smile. Making friends greatly improves all new situations and this is just in the beginning, wait until you see what learning new techniques, mastering complicated routines and achieving the next phase in their syllabus will do.
- Focus: Classes usually run for an hour at a time and are often made up of drills, partner work, group work and solo training. What a student gets from his class depends on the time actually spent being mindful in the dojo and their ability to do this will increase with practise. It is a skill they can develop and that will automatically be transferred into all other areas of their lives.
- Self-Discipline: This starts with getting ready, looking after your gi and equipment, walking through the door and turning up to class, even when it is too hot, or too cold and your favourite show is on the television.
- Self-Defense: A common reason to start training but it is not the be all and end all of a students achievement in the dojo. Rarely do karate students need to defend themselves, they learn to avoid dangerous situations, to take care to themselves and importantly they learn how to behave in situations so that they do not escalate.
- Leadership: As a student progresses through the ranks they become a role model for new and younger students. A good club will encourage students (under guidance) to share their knowledge with others to improve the development of everyone within the dojo.
- Respect: “Karate starts with etiquette and finishes with etiquette” K Tomiyama, Fundamentals of Karate-do (1990) p15. Shihan Tomiyama goes on to write more about rei – a bow or more broadly etiquette [that]”.. signifies the utmost importance of proper etiquette in karate. Not only karate but all Japanese martial arts stress the importance of proper etiquette as a means of self-defence ……….. A person of good etiquette possesses an aura of dignity and quite naturally gains respect from those he is in contact with. Thus there is much less chance of his being involved in arguments and being forced to defend himself physically. This teaching does not stop there, the real aim of practising the martial arts is to develop a complete person, fit physically and mentally, which is consequently beneficial to society...” p15
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