Karate has been a big part of my life. From the grade 2 till I completed my engineering – 15 years of practicing and teaching karate. While at that time it was a passion, I didn’t really think of the added benefits of learning and practicing it.
But now, as life gets busier, times when I ignore exercising or my health, I can see how the years of practice still helps keep me in a better shape than I would have been without the practice. Also, this experience with the Japanese culture and practices have made me far more disciplined and confident too.
Here are some of the benefits of practicing karate and enrolling your kids in some form of martial arts
Strength and power
One of the main benefits of practicing Karate or any other martial arts is that it helps you train for strength and power. Repetitive muscular training is a foundation of a variety of martial arts disciplines. The techniques teach you to channelize your strengths to your advantage. You also learn how to defend yourself and techniques that could come in handy if you ever face such situations.
The amount of mobility and agility exercises that are taught and practiced during every class make sure you are in the best shape. And this flexibility stays for life. I have not practiced Karate since years, but while exercising or practicing yoga, I can see how that flexibility is still there. Also, the years of practice ensures that the joints and muscles are in good shape.
Apart from the physical benefits, karate practice also involves lots of exercises which help you with concentration. Often kids are very active and getting them to concentrate becomes difficult. Martial arts helps bring in that control over your mind and kids (as well as adults) will find how much better they get at concentrating on things for longer durations than they would otherwise
Discipline is the key when you are practicing karate. I still remember how my sensei (sir) would repeat the word discipline at least 10 times every class. We would be made to run laps or some really difficult punishment if we were late for class, took more time than required to dress up in our uniforms if we stopped a few seconds extra on our water break. Our nails were examined every class, how well we tied our belts and also how clean our uniforms were as well. Everything that didn’t meet the bar had a consequence. All our activities were supposed to be performed as per the rules and with discipline. And with time I can see how this discipline has translated into my daily activities as well.
Practicing martial arts also is a wonderful stress buster. You are able to work out all the excessive negative energy that is accumulating within. the kicking, the punching, the sparring – all helping in releasing pent-up negativity. It also teaches you multiple breathing exercises which help managing stress. Also, being passionate about something and spending time on it is one of the ways to manage stress better.
Often kids are troubled by bullies and that affects their confidence. Knowing that they can now fight the bullies back is a natural confidence booster. Also, a naturally shy person to might face confidence issues when surrounded by many people. Karate has many different group activities which help you with your interpersonal skills. Also, being physically fit and looking good are one of the added benefits of karate which help you be more confident in yourself. You are more disciplined and can perform under pressure which is another confidence booster
With so many benefits that karate/ martial arts offer, make sure you encourage your children to try this at least once and you never know if it could turn into a passion. Also, it is never too late to start as an adult and it will surely help you in the long run.