10 Ways Karate is Great for Kids Physically and Mentally
Childhood is one of the most important times in a person’s life for growth and development. During this time in childhood, one’s mental growth and physical health undergoes constant evolution and change. Karate training sets an excellent foundation for good physical and mental habits for children of all ages.
The Physical Benefits
The physical effects of practicing karate are important to the health of a child’s body. It is easy to distinguish between the active kids with healthy habits and the couch-potatoes. There are many ways karate is great for kids’ bodies, but the following five examples are the most prominent.
Exercise: Not only does the exercise of martial arts burn fat and excess calories, but it also helps channel the extra energy children always seem to have.
Strength: When practicing punches and kicks, children will naturally begin to build stronger muscles. There will not be any bulging muscles for pre-teens, but they will find their body becoming stronger and more fit.
Hand-Eye Coordination: The ability to catch thrown objects, throw objects with accuracy, and having good balance all fall under hand-eye coordination. Not only will hand-eye coordination help a child excel in school sports, it will also help with their balance and ability to catch themselves if they fall. This is a skill that will be used in everyday life.
Healthy Habits: Karate instructors emphasize the importance of health not only inside their school, but outside of it as well. This involves healthy nutrition, good sleeping habits, and the ability to channel energy in a productive manner.
Self-Defense: Martial arts is first and foremost a method of protecting oneself in unsafe situations. When kids learn karate, they learn how to protect themselves in a physical confrontation.
The Mental Benefits
Mental effects of karate training are less obvious than the physical effects, but arguably more important. If a student does not have the right mind-set of safety and self-defense, karate instructors will be certain to instill it in them. There are a multitude of ways karate is great for kids’ minds, but we will cover five examples.
Focus: The ability to focus on one thing and remain focused is an important ability taught in karate classes. Not only does it help in the dojo, but the ability to focus can be utilized in any situation, from school to home.
Self Control: When children are taught karate, they are taught how to control their bodies and minds. The importance of being in control of oneself is emphasized to all students. An instructor or parent should only need to tell their karate student instructions once. When gaining more self-control, a child will do the right thing without even being told.
Teamwork: Karate classes are a fantastic place for children to meet others with similar interests. They get to practice their social interactions with new people when first starting. Over time, kids can build strong friendships in the dojo by working together cooperatively.
Confidence: Kids tend to be inherently shy and may not always say something when they are confused or upset. Having fun and learning at a dojo will build their confidence and ability to speak up for themselves. This is a skill that can take years of practice to build up, but it will be helpful throughout the rest of their lives.
Respect: Martial arts can only be taught and learned with great respect. Kids are encouraged to have an open mind and to be accepting. Respect is hugely important to any martial artist, whether they be four or eighty four.
At Buzz Durkin’s Karate School, there is a series of Student Creeds that each of our karate students learn to recite. The first creed focuses on developing their bodies and minds in a positive way and sums up these ten points.
“Remembering that the martial arts begin and end with respect, I intend to develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or physical health.”
When the karate students recite this student creed, they are promising to develop themselves in positive, healthy ways. They are agreeing that their mental and physical growth is extremely important and that they will avoid anything that would have a negative impact on their lives.
Stephanie Rodenhiser is a 4th Degree Black Belt at Buzz Durkin’s Karate School, having trained since she was eight years old. She teaches students of all ages and especially enjoys teaching kids and adults who work hard and develop great outlooks on life.