“Seek perfection of character. Be faithful. Endeavor. Respect others. Refrain from violent behavior” – Gichin Fukanoshi – Founder of Shotokan Karate and considered as the Father of Modern Karate.
These 5 values are widely known to Karate practitioners.
We recite these 5 essential values at the beginning and end of each class. These are in a way the true essence of Karate and reveal the values that are shared among Karatekas.
So, let’s try to identify what your kids can benefit from Martial Arts in general.
1) Awareness of their own body
What we need to know is that at the age of 2 to 3 years old, a child has not fully developed his physical aptitudes. For example, standing on only one leg can be much more challenging than expected. The examples are numerous but what we need to keep in mind is that any Martial Arts class being Karate or not will teach your children to be aware of their own bodies. Through agility games, basic exercises and stimulating their minds with challenging drills they will little by little master their body and know how to use it efficiently.
2) Fitness improvement
A second reason that is obvious is fitness improvement. Practicing Martial Arts for 1-hour burns between 360 to 700 calories (depending on body type and weight). On top of that, in a traditional Karate class all groups of muscles and joints are targeted: Arms, shoulders, thighs, legs, abdominals, glutes, back muscles and most of the joints as well.
This will provide a homogeneous workout on all the body and ensure a good balance between muscles.
Third reason is self-defense. Indeed, all the techniques learnt in a Karate class are aimed to give your kids the tools to defend themselves in a stressful situation. By repeating basics exercises and techniques, they learn how to react to a punch, kick or any other dangers.
4) Discipline and respect
The last reason is discipline and respect. As we saw from the quote of Gichin Funakoshi, Karate is an art of respect and self-control. These values are always present in a Martial Arts class and kids will develop this focus quickly as they grow. Most important, the notions of control while executing a blow or the fact of bowing the Sensei and the friends will be among the values that will stick to them even when they will grow older. Finally, the notion of competition is not present in a Martial Arts class and kids evolve together in a genuine and tension free environment. Concepts that you can find on the contrary in any other sports such as football, tennis, basketball or any other team sports.
So, don’t hesitate and enlist your little ones to any Martial Arts class. You will not regret it.