Contrary to popular belief, karate has less to do with fighting and more to do with the improvement of mind, body, and spirit. Learning a martial art can develop social and interpersonal skills in surprising ways.

There is a longstanding and deeply rooted misconception about the martial arts. Many believe the training is all about violence. However, this is not the case. It is not the goal of responsible martial arts instructors to teach students to fight. Self-defense skills are central to the practice, but their true purpose is more diverse and more important.

Many important lessons can be learned from studying martial arts. Self-improvement of body, mind, and spirit is the true purpose of training. Along with the physical skills, karate students learn to practice the art of self-knowledge. Quality training programs instill in students of all ages the virtues of respect and self-discipline. These are virtues that carry over into all areas of life.

Gaining Respect

How can martial arts training improve social skills in you or your children? First and foremost is by teaching people to respect each other. No student of the martial arts can progress without an understanding of this essential attribute. It can be humbling for a successful, middle-aged executive to ask for help from a boy or girl younger than her own children. Karate training teaches us that knowledge comes from those who possess it, regardless of age or any other factors. We learn from those who know more than us, and we respect them for their knowledge. Karate students learn to value one another because we are all on similar journeys: we all face challenges and setbacks, and we are all trying to better ourselves.

Parents appreciate the improved fitness, attention, and good behavior that result from their preschoolers’ martial arts training. They like that the environment is positive, safe, and supervised by professionals. And they often make friends with other parents, as their children make friends with others their age. These relationships are often very beneficial for all involved, traveling outside the karate setting into home, school, and community for years to come.

Pre-schoolers not only have a blast portraying their favorite cartoon characters – Power Rangers™, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™, Ninjago™, and others – they grow stronger in body, mind, and spirit with regular practice. Most don’t even realize that the martial arts games they play, neat moves they practice, and fascinating stories they hear in class are helping them to be the best they can be. Karate pre-schoolers learn better and faster by “doing” more than by “watching,” so instructors keep them on their toes with activities that keep them working, while they just think they’re playing!

Pre-schoolers of all fitness levels and abilities (even differently-abled and special needs students) can benefit from martial arts training when lead by caring educators in a positive setting. These benefits quickly become clear to their loving parents and watchful teachers. As pre-school age children grow into kids, teens, and adults, they will appreciate the foundation of success that their parents and instructors helped instill in them.


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