Karate is the ideal sport for kids for building self-confidence, balance, co-ordination, discipline and courtesy, while learning basic self-defence skills. Children may start training in GKR karate as young as 5 years of age.
GKR’s Classes For Kids
GKR’s classes provide a warm, friendly and encouraging atmosphere and all instructors are fully accredited with the IGKF (International Go-Kan-Ryu Federation). Children may train in regular classes (alongside people of all ages including other family members) or train in special kids classes. These classes run for one hour and consist of basic training as well as many karate-associated games.
Karate Provides A Win / Win Environment
With most sports, the participant gains feedback on performance by either winning or losing against their competition. While competition brings out competitive spirit, it can hinder the development of self-confidence for those children who don’t win frequently. As karate is a non-competitive sport the only competitor is one’s self. Therefore, as a participant continues to improve each week, they only ever find themselves winning, which serves to bolster the child’s self-esteem.
Goals And Your Child
Karate offers a coloured belt system where all students start at White belt and work up through different colours (Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Red, Brown, Black Tip and finally, Black belt). This serves not only to measure a child’s progress but also provides a journey to embark on. Children are encouraged to set goals for these belts, which teaches them life skills of setting a target and working towards achieving it.
Instructor / Parent Relationship
Our goal is to help your child grow into a respectable and confident young individual. Almost all children behave in a disciplined and respectful manner inside the dojo, however once they put their karate uniform away, some may forget to practise the things they have been taught at home or at school. This is where the instructor / parent relationship can be a powerful tool. By regularly communicating with the instructor as to your child’s progress and behaviour at home or school, an instructor can better aim their message to your child.
Will My Child Misuse Karate?
While the predominant focus of karate is to develop character, students also learn basic self-defence skills. GKR instructors regularly promote that children MUST NOT misuse their karate under any circumstances. Should any child misuse their karate (either at home or at school), we ask the parents to notify us of this so together we can speak with the child about their behaviour.
Bullying And Karate
Bullying is a serious issue with children as the affects can last for years after it stops, even throughout their adulthood. Karate has proven exceedingly beneficial to children who are recipients of bullying and to those children who are bullies.
Karate helps a child who is bullied a number of ways. To begin with, most children who are bullied are shy and lack confidence. This makes them ‘easy targets’. As karate nurtures a child’s self-esteem and builds their confidence, the bullying often stops through this process alone. Instructors also train children how to deal with bullying and encourage them to speak about it to their schoolteachers and parents. Of course, some children are too shy to speak with their parents about bullying. The good news here is because karate deals with self-defence, children who are bullied often ask their instructor about how to deal with bullies. In this instance, the instructor can notify the parents of the child’s situation.
Some children who have had a tendency to bully other children may develop an interest in karate. Parents of these children may fear that the skills they learn in karate will only make their bullying worse. Nothing could be further from the truth. To begin with, bullying and low self-esteem go hand-in-hand; so as karate builds the child’s confidence and self-esteem, their interest in bullying others generally ceases. Secondly, being regularly reminded that their karate is ONLY to be used for self-defence and is something that can never be misused without risk of being suspended from training provides extra motivation to behave. Speaking with the instructor about the child’s habit helps the instructor to get the message across about the concerns with bullying.
Karate’s History And Children
When karate was first developed in Okinawa, its purpose was to teach children to become people of high character, with self-defence being a secondary focus. The character these children exhibited was so impressive, in 1902, karate was formally introduced into the Okinawa Primary School system so all Okinawa children would benefits from its teachings.
When karate moved to Japan in the 1920’s, within a few short years the Japanese Government were so impressed with the values it promoted, it too introduced karate into it’s education system. This still exists today where every school in Japan has karate as a subject all students must study.
Visit our Articles section and click on ‘Kids Articles’ to read a number of profiles from children who train in GKR Karate. You will also find a number of other topics that relate to young children or teenagers in this section.