5 Reasons Why Karate is a Fun Way to Inspire Lifelong Learning
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According to a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, around 70 percent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because “it’s just not fun anymore.’” Another recent study by George Washington University points out that 90 percent of kids said they played sports because they were fun.
The loss of fun for kids is often a result of over-involvement by parents, relentless pressure by coaches, or the lack of playing time when the child is not considered one of the team’s top competitors.
Yet, none of these reasons for sports burnout and lack of fun seem to apply to the practice of karate. Why is this you asked? Karate offers children the opportunity to develop confidence and self-discipline. It can also inspire its participants to build the foundation for personal fitness at an early age.
One of the best things about karate as a combat sport is that everyone gets an opportunity to participate and develop their skills. No one is forced to sit on the sidelines or make tryouts in hopes to score a place on the team. Another great thing is it is a surprisingly easy activity to get involved with. Karate doesn’t require much in the way of equipment beyond the “gi” or traditional uniform.
With that, here are 5 reasons why karate training can serve as an inspiration for lifelong learnings in children:
1. YOU CAN CREATE A DOJO AT HOME
Image cred: Alix Bryant
If you’re tired of loading and unloading a carload of athletic gear and uniforms around, karate will be a welcome change. If you have a spare room or open basement, it’s relatively easy to make an inexpensive dojo at home. Here’s what you need to inspire your kids to spend hours practicing (burning off energy!)
- Rebreakable boards. Kids enjoy the excitement of (safely) breaking board as they practice the art of karate. As they get stronger and develop better technique, they can transition from the easy-to-break variety of breakable boards to the more durable type. Plus, no more waste from purchasing new boards or dealing with messy slivers or wood debris to clean up when they’re done.
- Bobby Bully. This is a lifelike punching bag with a face which is fun for kids to punch, kick, or elbow during practice. Well made, the Bobby Bully can withstand years of abuse as kids practice their self-defense techniques.
- Online karate lessons. Some Dojos, like the All Star Karate Coach, offer kids the chance to “learn karate from the living room.” Classes include pre-recorded and live lessons that take you from white through black belt. It even offers weapon instruction once kids pass their orange belt.
2. KARATE CAN BE A FAMILY AFFAIR
Image credit: Gary Cox
Kids as young as three years old can practice right alongside their older siblings and parents. The benefit of families learning together is that it eliminates the “coaching” role that some parents tend to take on during the car ride home from typical team sports. Plus, it allows parents the opportunity to master new skills and improve their own fitness instead of sitting on the sidelines.
3. KARATE CAN BE STUDIED YEAR ROUND WHILE PARTICIPATING IN OTHER SPORTS
Since there is no formal karate season, students can practice and keep up their skills year round! It’s also a great compliment to many other sports. For example, football coaches love martial artists because they don’t jump offsides.
Dance teachers are continually wowed by the focus and self-confidence that their students possess when they are also enrolled in karate classes. And by its very nature, karate encourages a level of fitness and personal readiness that makes for better overall athleticism at any age.
4. EARNING A BLACK BELT IS AN IMPORTANT LESSON IN GOAL ATTAINMENT
Image credit: Matt Sauk
With karate, unlike many other sports, you are constantly learning new techniques. Mastering the skills needed for your next belt promotion means gaining confidence and self-discipline-- both important lifelong skills. It also keeps karate practices fresh and fun.
Advancing from belt to belt, or even earning a new stripe for a belt is highly motivating and encourages kids to set and attain a long-term goal. Earning a black belt can take anywhere between three to seven years. More importantly, holding a black belt is an achievement that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
5. KARATE CAN BE ENJOYED OUTSIDE OF THE DOJO
There are several ways that kids can stay motivated and excited about learning karate. Movies, even old ones like The Karate Kid series are classic and inspiring. The popularity of any Jackie Chan movie is another great example of how karate can be enjoyed outside of the dojo.
For those with active lifestyles, participating in a martial arts training camp, retreat, or other martial arts themed travel experience bring training to a whole new level of fun.
So there you have it – Five great reasons to sign your kids up for karate or other martial arts disciplines that they may be interested in trying out. If you’re still not convinced, why not visit your neighborhood dojo and request to sit in for a class or two to find out for yourself whether martial arts training would indeed be suitable for your little ones.
Encourage your children to be a lifelong learner. Enroll them in a martial arts program for youth today and help them cultivate strength, discipline, and gain effective self-defense moves!