When you think of karate, does the dojo from Karate Kid come to mind? Or is that just me?
When my son asked to join his friend in karate class, I couldn’t help but imagine my sweet, tender-hearted five-year-old getting screamed at by a sleeveless, bandana wearing Sensei. Karate seemed a bit too intense for my liking, but he kept asking to go to karate class. Soccer didn’t work out, and I wanted to put him in something that would be a channel for his abundant energy. When the dojo ran a Black Friday special for six week trial for the low price of $1 … well, I couldn’t pass that up.
After the first class, I was pleasantly surprised.
There was no yelling or screaming or barking orders. Instead, he was met with positive words of encouragement as they worked through each exercise and move — “I can do it! I’m the best! I love school! Anything is possible!” Even better, towards the end of class, the students gathered around the Sensei to discuss the Wisdom of the Week. For that particular lesson, the Sensei talked about responsibility and what it looks like at school and home.
Even though we were impressed, we decided to wait until after the six week trial to sign him up officially. After all, he loved soccer the first couple of weeks but quickly lost interest. By the end of the six weeks, he was asking every day if it was a karate day.
Six months later, my son still asks if it’s karate day nearly every day. He loves it! Since his six week trial he was invited to participate in the black belt leadership program and just recently earned his orange belt. If you’ve been debating on signing your kid up for karate, I encourage you to give it a try. Here’s why:
1. Belts are earned by individual growth and progress.
The students are tested and must pass in order to rank up — they do not compete against others.
2. Self-control and listening skills are reinforced during class.
Is your kid as squirmy as mine? No squirming during karate class! He practices standing at attention and listening to directions given by the Sensei.
3. You will see a confidence boost in your child.
Each week, each class even, he sees improvement. His kicks get higher, he remembers the steps of his kata, and his Sensei gives specific, positive feedback during class.
4. Good manners are reinforced.
He says “yes sir / yes ma’am” about twenty thousand times each class. It wasn’t something we were pushing at home, but it’s definitely carried over. He’s only five, but he is making eye contact and speaking clearly to adults. Last week I was thrilled when he held the gate open at school for another mom — on his own accord!
5. It’s indoors!
Parents of southern Louisiana, you will not sweat or sunburn sitting in the dojo. Need I say more?