Goju Ryu Okinawa Karate Doh Jundokan South Africa



Why Karate is Vital for Your Child 

by Buddy Govender 

Now more than ever, Karate is a vital ingredient for the holistic development of our children andSumaya and Dalene Kumite youth.  However, the parent has to be aware that there are important factors to take into account when deciding upon a Karate Club and a Karate Instructor.  I know many of you are saying that Karate is Karate and what can be that difficult with choosing a club or a Karate instructor?  The Karate club down the road from your home or run by the guy that you "know well" must be good enough!!  Well, all Karate clubs and classes are NOT the same!  Much depends on..... no, in fact everything depends upon the instructor and his/her quality of instruction.  It has nothing to do with the training facility being a state of the art gym or an instructor that has won numerous medals in tournaments etc, etc.  It is ALL down to ability, solid content and methods and manner in which that information can be transmitted from teacher to learner (your child). 

Parents are often mislead into believing that so and so did karate for ‘many years’ or has won numerous tournament trophys and medals, and is therefore a reputable instructor!  Whilst length of training years is an important factor to consider, more importantly is what was that instructor actually doing all those years – just conducting classes??  Does he/she train outside of the classes they teach?  Do they still have a teacher or are they the ‘head honcho’?  Do they and their students belong to an accredited organization with links to the roots of their chosen art?  Do they have on-going, dynamic relationships with senior instructors from around the world within and outside of their style? Are their training methods monotonous and unrealistic in today’s environment?  Do they appear to ‘walk the talk’? Karate is a life skill and character developing investment.  Surely you would be careful when choosing a financial investment, so be just as careful when choosing a Karate class for your child.   

Gone are the days where Karate was a mystic ‘secret’ art where instructors where looked upon as invincible super heroes. Students come from a vast array of backgrounds, and respect of that must also be forwarding from the instructors.  Not to say that instructors have to relinquish their duties as ‘leader’, and ‘role-model’ but it must be done more appropriately.  Respect given will be respect returned!

 Most times, children should not train in classes for adults. The demands that are placed on adults are different from what is expected of the youth. Their muscles and skeletal system are still developing and correct exercises and training must be implemented to encourage and aid such development. During the class the student has to pay attention to the instructor and follow the rules and instructions. Respecting the instructor and other students, children also learn the true value of respect for everyone, including themselves. This is a valuable asset to develop in one's character. The training must be controlled, disciplined and challenging yet rewarding, enjoyable and fun.

 Each of our student progresses at their own ability and no comparison are made with other kids in the class. The coloured belt ranking gives the student a sense of improvement and accomplishment and therefore increases confidence within them to aspire towards greater things in life.  Classes should educate the student of the dangers of aggressive behavior and help redirect their aggression into constructive and positive actions. 

 Improving in the art and achieving higher grades, gives the kids a balanced sense of accomplishment and greater confidence in themselves. By setting goals and practicing continuously, one acquires a sense of building for the future, and, realizes that hard work and effort are necessary for achieving one's dreams. Modern life deprives us of exercise necessary for physical and mental health. Taught correctly, Karate can bridge that gap.

 The life benefits of Karate lay both at the physical and mental level. Increasing agility and strength, as well as improving the reflexes, co-ordination and concentration, are just a few advantages of consistent practice in Karate.  During the training, both the upper and lower bodies are involved, which means that most muscle groups are utilized. The physical aspect of this training gives one an awareness of the body and health. At the mental level, the training improves ones ability to concentrate and act under pressure. As the mind directs the body at all times, one has to focus attention on one's action.

 At the South African Goju Ryu Okinawa Karate-Doh dojo, our training sessions for the children and youth are specially designed for them. I am in the fortunate position of having started my Karate training at the age of 9 years old, and, after training locally, in Japan and the USA I have a personal insight into what stimulates and motivates the youth.  Email buddy@eastcoast.co.za to discuss any issues related to Karate for your child.

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