“I wish now that we didn’t pull Johnny* out of karate when his grades went down. Now it seems we’ll never get him interested in it again.” -former karate parent.
“Starting karate again after stopping is much harder than starting out in the first place.” -Newland Renshi, our founder.
“I really wish we would have kept up with karate. We’re going to get started again here really soon.” -former karate family who has come to the dojo four times in the last five years to let us know they’re re-starting (but haven’t).
I share the above words from real people I have talked to over the years in the hopes that we all can learn from them.
We want the best for our kids. Sometimes we have to buckle down and persevere and get creative in order to really give our kids the best—whether it’s a stable home, help with their education, or invaluable life skills learned through long-term karate training.
Being a successful karate parent and supporting your child in getting the most out of their training for the long run is an art. Parents catch on pretty quickly that they help their karate child when they provide a clean uniform, timely arrival to class, proper gear and tuition. However, for most kids it takes more parental support than that to help them make martial arts a way of life.
The parents’ attitude toward karate makes a world of difference. Know and reinforce (with gentle reminders) the dojo rules outside of class times. Insist on consistent attendance (averaging two times a week is critical to keeping students moving forward and interested). Making karate a two-time-per-week habit is easier on the student too. If they want to go a third day that’s fine too, but not crucial to their training, in our experience.
Have your child (and family) participate in fun dojo events too. Aim for a minimum of one fun event per season (doesn’t matter whether it’s free or a paid event). This helps them get to know their dojo mates better and realize that karate involves fun too.
Point out to your karate kid the benefits you see your child reaping (such as confidence, focus, fitness, strength, physical coordination, good friends, learning new skills) when and as you see them. Also point out the benefits they received from karate later on, even if it seems they learned that skill, confidence, respect, perseverance, moral character, etc. from karate in the past.
Help your child plan ahead and prioritize their activities. Remember, kids need unstructured downtime a couple times a week just to relax and/or play. Sports are great activities but the benefits of karate for the whole person, for life, far outweigh those of any other sport.
Keep your child in karate even if they have problems with their grades, fighting, or behavior (we can help with these things and be a support for you). Have them continue even if they say it’s boring or too hard. If they ever enjoyed karate, they can and will enjoy it again when they climb out of that “valley.” You will have helped them learn not to quit on something (which they like, which is good for them) as soon as it gets a little challenging or repetitive.
It’s very important for kids and teens (and not a bad idea for adults) to continue karate through major life troubles & chaos like divorce or family health or other issues. At times when their world is turned upside down, they really need the stable, constant routine of attending classes and growing in a place where they are safe and respected.
We look forward to working with you to give your kids the best of karate. *Name has been changed.