There are numerous benefits a young person can derive from martial arts training. Most martial arts schools boast about giving discipline, self-confidence, and other aesthetic traits attainable from no other source. While these things are very true, any honest karate instructor will have to admit that there are many, many cases where even the most dedicated teacher with an excellent program will not have the total affect the parents are looking for. A student may respond quite well in class but the parents will say that the child does not take his training home.
As a martial artist of over twenty years continuous experience and previous owner of two private schools as well as a community center class I must say that I differ slightly in this belief. I, along with most other instructors, have spent many hours in thought trying to figure out a way to help with the attitude of a particular individual. The problem we all incur is that we only have that student for a few hours a week. While in class the child may be “good as gold” but in school or at home they still seem rebellious and disrespectful. They are responding to the training and can’t wait to get to class yet it all stops after leaving for home.
In my opinion there is a far greater influence on a child than his karate teacher. In a student’s class he is taught to show respect at all times. He is required to bow and use his manners (saying sir or ma’am etc.) but at the same time he is shown respect by his peers and teachers. He is encouraged to do all that he can do and then is shown that he is still able to do much more. As he begins to learn what great feats he is truly capable of and that if he perseveres he will succeed at any endeavor he chooses, he gains a great deal of self-confidence. As his training progresses he will gain a heart felt respect and admiration for those teaching him. This, I believe, is where the breakdown begins.
As a parent of two (my youngest is 25) I can say that parenting is without a doubt the most difficult job on earth. Because of the constant exposure to his parents a child will sometimes ignore them and it seems that he just doesn’t care. Over the years many parents have asked me why this is so. “Why does he do so well in class and not at home?”
I can offer only one possibility. The most important thing to any child on the planet is to feel important to his parents. To feel that what he or she does is important and really matters to the ones he loves the most. Repeatedly I have seen children dropped off for class and picked up afterwards without any parental involvement what so ever. Of course no parent can, nor should be expected to attend each and every class, but remember what that child needs the most, his parents.
I highly recommend that in order to achieve the full benefit of martial arts training we form a partnership between us all. It is of great importance that the lessons be enforced at home but it is even more important for parents to be involved. Encourage your child and make him feel that what he does matters to you. Attend a few classes a month to monitor his progress. Let him know you are proud of his accomplishments and by all means be there for his rank examination and again for its presentation. When they know you truly care about what they do they will excel.
Help us help you. In the end you will find that the most important and influential lessons are not given at a karate school. The most important lessons are given at home.