The adult karate students are an important part of any dojo. They may be a smaller demographic than youth, but they bring life experience and wisdom to the table. Adults set an example for younger students whether they realize it or not. And mature students get a lot out of their participation. Here are the top five reasons adults love being a part of a dojo:
1) ADULT KARATE STUDENTS & EXERCISE
Traditional karate provides an avenue to work out while having fun. Most of the time, you don’t even think about the physical exertion. Instead, you focus on learning and practicing new martial arts skills and on improving each technique executed. The practice of etiquette and the cultural education in this fitness regimen also make training interesting for adult karate students.
2) ADULT KARATE STUDENTS LIKE SELF DEFENSE
Adult karate students want to invest in martial arts that really work for self-defense. Traditional karate was developed in Okinawa as a life protection art, which is a step further than defending oneself. This means you expand past just helping yourself. You also protect others. Our dojo carries on this tradition in our training. In Ryukyu Kempo, we use natural body positioning and build defense habits using our strengths. Yes, Virginia, we really teach real karate.
3) ADULT KARATE STUDENTS VALUE RESPECT
Respect is a two-way street that is well-traveled in our dojo. As opposed to the martial arts instructor in Napoleon Dynamite who demands respect, we promote mutual respect. We are human beings first and martial artists second, teaching to the heart of each person. After a hard day at work and feeling taken-for-granted by others, adult karate students walk into the dojo and find appreciation and respect. We just require that students return these attitudes.
4) ADULT KARATE STUDENTS’ POSITIVE HAVEN
We diligently pursue safety policies at our dojo to make it a safe place to train. Also, all of our instructors and students are conscripted to use the Dojo Kun. We naturally tend to focus on that more at the dojo. Adult karate students are expected to use their best positive attitude and behavior. The positivity goes around and comes around here. This is where we step away from the news and other negativities and leave them outside. We adult karate students love stepping into a safe, positive environment that encourages us to be our best.
5) ADULT KARATE STUDENTS GET STRESS RELIEF
Many adult karate students extol the virtues of kata practice as a type of meditation that helps them relieve stress. Sometimes, though, respect, positivity, and focusing on other things are not enough. Sometimes you just have to punch and smash things to let go of stressors. Enter the heavy bag and partner-held targets. Students can punch, elbow and kick this equipment with all their might. And add the kiai: yelling while executing a strike also relieves stress.
For adult karate students, the tuition, classes and time training are an investment in themselves. The returns on that investment include better fitness, life protection skills, respect, positive support and stress relief. Karate helps us to improve our own lives and be better family members, friends and community members. The return on investment is so vast that traditional martial arts training is priceless.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger