Help kids to benefit from their training!

In karate we learn self defense, but there is so much more that kids learn.  Listening skills, body control, sportsmanship, and following directions are also a big benefit in taking karate.  

As a parent you can help them make it or break it!

Little Joey shows up for class, he runs onto the mat and starts wrestling other kids and running around the mat.  When the instructor calls everyone to line up he’s too busy playing and finally comes to his spot but is jumping around and talking.  All during class little Joey is talking and playing.  In each of these instances the instructor needs little Joey to listen and stop playing.  Joey is not learning skills and practicing them so he can improve.  After class is over Joey runs off the mat to his parents, and they say “Did you have fun?”  ??  

Don’t get me wrong I want everyone to have fun while they train, but parents you can really help by setting expectations that they try to follow along in class and not be disruptive.  Instead of asking “Did you have fun?”, ask “What did you learn?” or “what is your favorite thing today”.  Better yet, you could tell them what you saw.  What you liked and what you didn’t.  Little Joey would love to know that you are watching his class.  Give him honest feedback.  Look for things he did good, but also tell him that you have expectations that are appropriate for his age and skill level.  


  1. Set an expectation as you come to class.  If they have a hard time standing in line (anything works).  Set an attainable goal that is not too easy for them.  Let them know and then praise them when they do it.  “I’m going to watch and see how good you do standing in line.  I’ll count each time and see how long you can stand in line before it’s your turn”.  “You did good, I got to 6 before you started wiggling.  Next class let’s try for 8 (or see if they can wait the whole time)”
  2. Watch your child, take pictures.  Let them know that you think this is important and that you are interested in what they do.  They may be acting out to get you to pay attention.  I can’t stress how important this is.  Most parents are on their phones the whole time.  I understand, but showing how important they are will cement in lifetime relationships!
  3. Don’t interrupt class to fix their belt or give them a drink of water.  We really don’t run too hard of a class for the kids, or if we do we will tell them to go get a drink.  
  4. After class talk to them about how they did.  “You were so fast in poop deck” or “I noticed you were the first to line up”. “I saw you had some trouble with Pinan Nidan, what do you need help with?” 

By asking “Did you have fun?” only tells them that this is play and that Sensei is there to entertain them.  They need to know that they are growing and improving.  This will do much more for their self confidence.  These skills will help them all through life.  Remember, school and work aren’t always fun. Karate and the self defense & life skills it teaches can  be a tremendous influence on their lives.