How to Introduce Young Kids to Karate

It is invaluable when parents of young adult karate students give their moral support. That may include attending their belt rank tests, or participating at the dojo in other ways. Younger students additionally need parents’ support in scheduling and transportation to classes. Also keeping up with tuition and helping with gear, including purchasing uniforms and helping keep them clean are all essential. The younger the student, the more they need their parents’ support and help in getting the most out of training. Here are some ways that parents can help young kids who are not sure about starting karate.

Young Kids’ Introduction to the Dojo

The youngest and most hesitant of students will need their parents to introduce them to the dojo environment. If they don’t want to get on the mat and join class right away, that’s okay and not unusual for young kids around three and four years old. If they have never been in a karate school before, it can take some getting-used-to. It can be a culture shock. Parents can help out by being patient and bringing their child to the dojo around class times.

Young kids may need to meet the teachers and other students over and over again, several times, and see some of the class activities before they are ready to join in. But sitting and watching a whole karate class is usually too long for young children. I recommend bringing your child to observe half the class – either the first half or the second. And also allow a little extra time before or afterwards to say hello without interrupting the class.

A Little Dragon’s Introduction

Any caring and patient instructor should be okay with this type of arrangement for introducing a young potential student to their program. We once had a child of three or four who wasn’t ready to participate. His mom recommended letting him stand on the mat to observe the class just once. She said he would then be ready to participate. We allowed this. He did just stand and observe the whole entire class time. Then he participated fully during the next class and continued for a few years. He turned out to be one of our best Little Dragons students.

The traditional karate of Okinawa is personable, meaning human-oriented. It allows for meeting the child where they are and helping them to improve their own skills and character. The pace is practical as well. First, we focus on getting to know our new students while we teach them how to learn. Then we work on providing a consistent challenge to improve their skills and knowledge. That is at a reasonable level geared to the unique abilities of each student as they learn. Find out more about how we do this in this blog on Starting Early Childhood Karate.

You can see more no-nonsense tips on supporting your karate kid of any age in Karate Families’ blog here.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

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