What benefits do children gain from Karate?
Loads! We all know the benefits gained from exercise, physically, mentally and emotionally. Children gain the same benefits, from burning up energy to socialising with a different group; being part of a karate club offers all these plus many more.
Personal development and social interaction
Being part of a karate club outside of their family and school class allows them to interact with other children and adults, improving their personal development and social relationships.
Work towards goals
Karate teaches children about working towards a goal. By having a set syllabus of techniques and kata it sets out what they need to learn and practise during their next term. Their achievements are acknowledged by them earning the next belt, which encourages them to understand how their work and commitment is rewarded.
As part of their karate training they will learn combinations of techniques, known as kata. This encourages children to learn patterns of movement, which is broken down into manageable chunks. They enjoy the process of learning and improving new moves, it also helps their memory retention when they learn a new kata and then have to practise the previous one as well.
Self-control and concentration
Karate is a disciplined exercise, you have to be aware of your own movement to ensure that you do not impose on someone else’s space unless intended. It teaches us how to control our limbs and being aware of our own physical presence.
It requires concentration, listening to the instructions so you’re able to follow them and perform the techniques or combinations correctly.
There isn’t a direct translation, however the term ‘Tai Sabaki’ loosely translates into ‘body management’. This teaches us how our body is connected and how we can generate energy throughout it, for example, by pivoting on the spot we generate energy and power in our arm. It improves hand-eye co-ordination for children, encouraging them to be able to move their limbs in various ways and perform different movements.
There is a set syllabus for each belt grade, so karate classes are structured to ensure that the student practises the techniques sufficient times to be able to be graded on their performance. This provides children with the knowledge that whilst they know the overall format of the class, they have the enjoyment of learning new things as well.
Safe place for energy and exercise
Karate is an active exercise, allowing children to expend energy in a controlled area. It engages the mind as much as the body providing them with mental stimulus as well.
Inclusive and respectful
Everyone is able to learn and practise karate. It’s a respectful environment, there are several occasions were students bow to each other, and the class starts with the instructor bowing at the same time as the students. It shows that everyone is equal and recognises that you’re all there to learn.
I started karate training when I was 13 yrs old in the junior class, moving to the adult class at 16 yrs old. It's provided me with all these benefits and more, it's a great environment to learn and develop.