23 February 2012

Karate for Strength, Balance, Skill and Discipline.

We’ve enrolled our children in a variety of sports since they were age 3 including swim, gymnastics, soccer, t-ball and dance.  Most recently, we started karate for kids.  This sport provides aerobic exercise and teaches them new skills, practices balance and builds strength.

As a bonus, it also addresses discipline (repeat offenders are instructed to “fall out of line” and do pushups) and respect for the teacher and opponent. It's good for my son who doesn’t necessarily like competitive sports and is easily distracted, and for my daughter who is naturally competitive and apparently needed to learn how to make a proper fist.

We started with private family lessons and learned blocks, rear and snap kicks,  and punch and chop strikes.  But, recognizing that I was hovering and diminishing any confidence-building benefit, I decided group lessons with other children would be a better route to take. 

I highly recommend the sport for children as young as 4 (a 30-min class).  Although we’ve just begun, I can see more benefits unfolding, such as watching advanced students practice on an adjacent mat, and the intrinsic reward and goal-setting effect of the belt color system.

While I miss taking the class myself (what better way to punch and kick off stress?), their “Little Dragons” class introduces them to the same skills in a fun environment.  And now I get to step back and enjoy watching them grow.

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