We are fortunate in Kitchener-Waterloo to have a plethora of activities that our kids can try. We have amazing dance programs, STEM programs, baseball, soccer, golf and of course hockey (this IS Canada). As parents ourselves, it’s often a struggle to decide on the right activities for our kids to encourage their interests and help them develop.
Martial Arts is a great cross-training sport and can help build the physical and mental skills to help kids excel in other interests. Below are some of the benefits of Martial Arts if your child’s primary interest is a different sport.
Individual vs Team Sport
Young kids who learn how to cooperate as part of a team have an early start on success. Throughout school, and later in work life they will find that their ability to work well with others will help them to thrive. Along with the independence and personal accountability of individual sports, we believe that sport can play a foundational role in the development of confident kids. In a lot of ways, Martial Arts is a perfect blend of both. In our studio (aka dojo), students are pursuing greater skill levels, demonstrated by the belt that they earn. These individual achievements occur through training and mutual support of others. You can see students of all skill level supporting each other towards their own individual goals.
Strength and Balance
Wrapped into every karate class is an amazing core, strength and balance workout. Learning how to stand and move using the entire body helps kids understand how to bring powerful movements to other endeavours. In order for our students to feel confident defending themselves, they need the all-around strength that we help them develop in our classes. If you watch the graceful movements of one of our black-belt instructors during a difficult kick compared to a well-balanced golf swing, you will see many similarities. The controlled graceful movements of karate help students use that body-awareness in other sports that demand it.
Speed and Agility
With it’s explosive movements, students of karate learn how to be lightning fast with their strikes. In sports like hockey and soccer, the first few strides are critical to reaching the ball/puck/etc. before the opponent. This ability to go from a resting position to top-speed is directly transferable to most other team and individual sports.
Athletes with a well developed cardiovascular system can out-compete competitors in many sports. Our karate classes help blend intensity with overall conditioning.
Coaches often talk about the “coachable kids”. At a young age, talent can easily be eclipsed by the student who pays attention to the smaller details, listens to the coach and is willing to work harder than everyone else. From their first moment on the karate mat, our students learn discipline through positive reinforcement in specific areas of focus, such as how to maintain long periods of attention. Off of the mat, we emphasize discipline in all areas of our students’ lives through tools that help reinforce desirable behaviours at school and home.
Not Just For Kids
As we develop as mature athletes, we often don’t have the strength or flexibility that we did in our prime. Our teen/adult class enables older athletes to have more injury-resilient bodies and the ability to blow away the competition in their beer-league.
You Have Nothing To Lose
The one thing we know about kids is that their interests can be difficult to predict. If you think Martial Arts might be useful for your child or yourself, we would love to see you on the mat and try out some classes for free.