Why Karate is so good for Children, here are the benefits in 2023 as I see them

Sensei Matt and his Son and Kids Karate student, Leo

I’m in a really unique and privileged position, writing this article. I’ve been so very lucky to not only be a Dad to a wonderful son (Leo) but also to be his Sensei. It’s given me this fantastic insight into the benefits of Kids Karate in 2023.

This experience has given me such a wonderful insight into how home and the Dojo come together to do the best for him. I’m going to write this article anecdotally, but there are plenty of statistics to back up what I am saying.

I started teaching Kids Karate back in 2021. In that time I’ve seen great changes in our students, and so have their adults. There have been huge improvements in so many ways. As a Dad I can certainly say I’ve seen this changes at home too.

Some of the benefits are obvious, and have been the same since the dawn of time. Others are more relevant in 2023. These are the benefits I would like to share with you today.

5 Benefits of Kids Karate in 2023

#1 – Time Away from the Screen

Practicing kicks in the children's karate class

OK, so maybe I’m the worst parent in the world. There’s clearly no way that anybody reading this article has ever used YouTube or Minecraft to give themselves 5 minutes to catch their breath! But seriously, in 2023 we’re more disconnected than ever. Screens take such a huge precedent in our daily lives. Time in the Dojo is away from screens, it’s interacting with other people. Using our bodies and our minds to achieve great things. For reference, no, playing Cobra Kai on Roblox does not count as doing Karate!

It’s not just whilst we’re at the dojo training Kids Karate, though. When we’re not at the Kids Karate Classes (or Family Classes!), Leo is often found practicing at home. He takes peace in training. When we were moving house, and we now have a dojo in the garage, he laid out the mats and practiced Kata, to escape the chaos. It was beautiful. #prouddadmoment

#2 – Deferred Gratification

We know the research tells us that children who can opt for deferred gratification, like in the marshmallow test, are likely to be successful in life. Success in the Karate is the same. Opt for the hard route now, work hard, turn up to class. The trophies, the belts, all that stuff comes later.

You have to make choices this week, that your future self would thank you for. If you want the rewards, it takes dedication over a sustained period of time.

We live in a time when we can post online and receive hundreds of likes in minutes. A time where we’re flooded with Serotonin every time we unlock our phones or tablets and see all those notifications. Learning to embrace deferred gratification is certainly a benefit I’m glad to have managed to pass onto our students, including my son.

#3 – Perseverance

A group photo of the ToriKai competition squad. Two competitors are students in the Werrington Children Karate class.

This isn’t quite the same as deferred gratification. I will concede that it is pretty close, though. The value of hard work, some would call it. What I love about teaching Kids Karate is their proximity to the adults classes and instructors. They don’t just have to go by trial and error and their own experiences. They watch the adults persevere too.

They see us working hard for gradings, for competitions, and other things we want to. They see us fail. They see us get up and try again. Then they see us succeed.

#4 – Confidence & Self-Advocacy

We’re big on it, there’s a huge emphasis by myself and the other instructors. When we’re teaching the Kids Karate classes we’re sure to make sure we advocate for the students, and empower them to advocate for themselves.

Sure, we can help them with the belts and kit. But they have to learn to ask. They train techniques with one another, and learn to advocate for their own needs, they’re encouraged to do so. “I don’t want to train very hard today” or “I hurt my knee at school, please be careful”.

When we help the children with their techniques, we always ask permission first. Sure, we’re there to teach. But it’s their lesson, it’s their technique, and it’s their body; so it’s their choice how they would prefer us to help them.

#5 – Empathy

Imagine being 5 years old, heading to your first Kids Karate class. Surrounded by students with a wide array of belts on. They all have friends already, they know what to expect. They understand what’s going on. It’s the job of every student to make a new student feel welcome and safe.

We teach the children to empathise. To put themselves in the position of another, to be good people. To be good students and show respect to their instructors and their fellow Karateka, and the best and easiest way to do that is to empathise with them.

Final Thoughts

As a Dad, and as a Sensei, I can certainly think of worse hobbies and vocations. I can think of worse things for my child and my students to learn. What an absolute honour it is to be able to contribute to the development of empathetic, hard working, perseverant, confidence self-advocates. I’m thrilled to have started teaching Kids Karate around Peterborough, and even more thrilled that my Son is loving it too.


Does this sound like the kind of thing you want for your child? Sign up for your free trial below and reap all these benefits, and many more.

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