Over the last couple of decades, I have talked to hundreds, probably thousands of parents. Thus I have learned what parents want karate to teach their kids. Several things come up repeatedly. The good news is that their expectations are very realistic if their child trains in traditional Okinawan karate regularly and consistently.
More good news for United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance students (children and adults alike) is that we practice and promote five Core Principles which support those valuable lessons. Here is how the principles of 1) Structural Integrity; 2) Coring; 3) Observe, Plan, Execute; 4) Efficiency and Proficiency; and 5) Weight Lead help our students achieve their and their parents’ goals.
PARENTS WANT KARATE FOR SELF-DEFENSE
Who doesn’t want their child to be able to protect herself from an attack? Most traditional martial arts are very good for this. That’s because they carry on the tradition of self-defense or life protection for which they were created.
U.R.K.A. dojos use the Core Principles to help students become even better at protecting themselves. And eventually protecting others as well. With Structural Integrity, they build the habit of moving with physically strong positions. Coring is great for making it second nature to create a strong guard and “safe place.” The principle of Efficiency and Proficiency helps to make blocks and strikes faster, stronger and more effective. Students get in a mindset of Observing surroundings and people, Planning when action is needed, and Executing or taking action.
PARENTS WANT KARATE FOR DISCIPLINE
Martial arts can help children learn discipline, when it is reinforced at home. Consistency is part of building the Structural Integrity of a habit or any trait you want your kids to learn. U.R.K.A. students can learn to apply Efficiency and Proficiency to their lives in order to become more disciplined.
For example, to keep their room clean, kids can practice Efficient and Proficient systems and ways of doing so. Such as having a place for everything and straightening up daily or weekly. Additionally, as children become better at their deliberation, or Weight Lead, in their karate actions and attitudes, this will apply to their deliberation on the path of discipline.
PARENTS WANT KARATE FOR SELF-CONFIDENCE
In karate, children work toward goals, and achieve them, and are commended. This alone builds some self-confidence. And the Core Principles can be applied to that goal work.
Additionally, as children learn to apply Structural Integrity to their posture, they look and feel more confident. In life, our confidence gets shaken; that’s part of being human. When children in the U.R.K.A. experience this, they can use the Coring Principle to help them “zero back out” to their strong center, or Core. As kids learn to Observe, Plan and Execute at the dojo, they easily apply this Principle to other projects. The O.P.E. Principle helps result in success, thus building more confidence. In martial arts, children are supported in developing a strong, proficient Weight Lead in their movements. That carries over into the way they carry themselves in all areas of life.
PARENTS WANT KARATE FOR RESPECT
Karate begins and ends with respect. That includes respect for others, for others’ property, and for oneself. As respect is developed in all that we do at the dojo, it becomes an ingrained character trait. Respect is at the Core of the traditional martial arts attitude.
A child may Observe that respect is needed or is lacking in a particular situation. Because of our Core Principles a karate kid will know automatically what to do. That is to come up with a Plan to promote respect. And because of the O.P.E. Principle, he will then Execute said plan. As a child is supported in a deliberate direction of respect at the dojo, she will carry on that direction and deliberation, or Weight Lead, into other areas of her life.
The five Core Principles not only allow us to impart the self-defense, discipline, confidence and respect that parents want karate to teach their kids. They also help the skilled martial artist to improve in all areas of life. That is true for both junior and adult students alike.