Unveiling the Shocking Side Effects on Children's Behaviour
Most people would not have a significant exposure to karate. To the average person in the street karate, at best would conjure up chopping hand movements and strange woooah noises. Images of Bruce Lee or for the younger generation Karate Kid coming to mind, and at worst be associated with punching, kicking, and other forms of fighting violence to be avoided. Especially for children.
Safe to say, karate is not particularly popular. Personally, I think that’s largely because it’s not that well understood. In this article I want to challenge that thinking and suggest that actually, the opposite is true, and we should be encouraging more youngsters to participate.
So what are some of the challenges our children in Australia face today and why is it that karate can help them be better prepared in life to overcome what lies ahead for them?
Discipline and Focus
Many children struggle with discipline, focus, and the ability to concentrate on tasks. Karate training instils discipline, self-control, and the ability to follow instructions. Through repetitive practice and attention to detail, children learn to focus their minds and develop discipline that can be applied to other areas of their lives, such as schoolwork and chores.
Physical Fitness and Health
With the rise in sedentary lifestyles and obesity rates among children, karate training provides a physically active and engaging activity that promotes overall fitness, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Regular training can help children develop healthy habits and improve their physical wellness.
Social Skills and Communication
Karate training provides children with opportunities to interact with peers and instructors in a structured and respectful environment. Through partner drills, sparring, and teamwork, children learn important social skills, such as cooperation, respect, and effective communication. These skills can positively impact their relationships and interactions both inside and outside the dojo.
Bullying is a prevalent issue that many children face. Karate training can help build self-confidence, self-esteem, and assertiveness in children, enabling them to better handle bullying situations and stand up for themselves with dignity and composure.
Goal Setting and Perseverance
Karate training involves setting goals and working towards achieving them. Children learn the value of perseverance, hard work, and dedication as they progress through the belt ranks. This mindset can help them develop resilience, determination, and the ability to overcome challenges in other areas of their lives, such as academics or extracurricular activities.
Learning self-defence techniques in karate can empower children with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves if they ever find themselves in a threatening situation. Knowing how to defend oneself can boost confidence and provide a sense of security.
Emotional Regulation and Stress Management
Karate training incorporates mental discipline and focuses on developing emotional control. Children learn to manage their emotions, deal with stress, and maintain composure even in challenging situations. These skills can help them cope with stressors and emotional challenges in their daily lives.
Full disclosure here, I’m a karate instructor in my spare time so I do bring a biased perspective. However, I’ve seen the positive impacts on students across 3 decades of exposure with different instructors and countries creating similar results. The topics above are important for our children to address life in adulthood and I’m advocating that exposure to karate has a positive impact in this regard.
It's important to note that while karate training can provide valuable tools and skills to address these challenges, it should be supplemented with guidance and support from parents, teachers, and other important figures in a child's life.
Children today are exposed to advancements in technologies that we’ve not fully understood the impact on. Doom scrolling in isolation, the desire to fit in to social media ‘norms’, online bullying, exclusions to groups, the constant need for comparison. On and on it goes and that’s just the technology aspect.
Movement through sports is crucial. Clearly it doesn’t have to be karate. Healthy - clean eating of nutritious food, hydration with water not soft drinks, decent sleep and less screen time all add up positively for our youngsters. And in my view so does karate.