By Jenifer Tull-Gauger
I have a magic formula for parents of karate kids and teens. (This wisdom can also be translated to yourself if you are an adult student.) Traditional Karate is great for small kids because it teaches learning skills, social skills, and respect. It is beneficial to older kids because of the confidence they gain, the discipline, and again the respect. It is especially good for teens because they can find in it a group of positive, supportive people to affiliate with, and mentors who value traditional morals. I’m sure we can all name several more priceless benefits gained here. Those who get the most from traditional karate are the ones who make it a way of life, for the long run.
Kids live in the moment and rarely think of the long run. Traditional Karate holds a higher level of discipline and is hard work. It is common for kids to want to take time off or quit when it doesn’t seem like karate is fun. We all have ups and downs in our training – sometimes we are fired up about being a part of the dojo, and sometimes we wonder if it’s worth it. Those of us who are long-time black belts don’t lose sight of the value in the down times. We honor our responsibility to work through the “downs” and are so glad we did when the next “up” comes.
So how can a parent support their karate kid to keep a long-term commitment to their training and self-improvement? I have the magic formula! Over a decade of thought, observation and research, from the viewpoint of the parent, the teacher, and the student, have gone into this formula. It is presented here for your benefit. So be sure to put it to use today!
A) Attend classes regularly: average at least 2 per week, and make it up when attendance falls short of that.
B) Take part in several fun, social dojo events per year—paid or not. If possible, aim for at least one every other month.
C) Support your kids in participating in dojo training seminars and enrichment programs which suit their interests such as: Weapons (make sure they have their own), Groundfighting, and Black Belt Club. Add these special classes to your schedule when your child is invited into a program.
D) If possible, give your karate student a choice on which weekly classes they attend, and hold them to it each week.
E) If they are showing signs of burnout, let them take a week off, but get them right back in after that. You can also talk to a Shihan to request more of the specific class activities which you/your child would like to see.
Use A through E and help your child create a better life, and a better future, with karate.