You may be considering enrolling your child in Karate. After-all, it’s great exercise and a fun way to learn some life-long skills. Before you make your decision, there are a few things to consider:
1.) Is your child old enough for Karate? To be honest, Karate instructors face a unique challenge in this regard. On one had, they are trying to run a business – and since having many children in a dojo can help pay the bills, it can be difficult for an instructor to turn a blind eye to the revenue generation potential of having very young students. On the other hand – there is the debate about how young is ‘too young’. Opinions on this vary greatly but in my truly honest opinion, there is a point at which a child is too young to practice Karate. In my experience with very young children – it can be difficult to justify the time and cost investment. When too young, a child can train for many, many months and really not learn much at all – or learn very little. I guess the real question is, would a child benefit greatly by waiting an extra year, at which time they would be more mature and could potentially learn in only a few weeks what would take them months to learn at their current age. It also depends on the child’s personality. Some young kids just do not have the attention span necessary to train in an effective way. Of course, all children are unique, so it’s hard to draw the line, but if you’re considering training and your child is around 5 years old – I think this is too young. Personally, I would hesitate to train anyone under 8 – but that’s just my opinion.
2. Why does your child want to train? What are the reasons to train? For example, did you child approach you about training, or are you making the decision? Did your child watch movie and suddenly become interested or is his/her interest more deeply rooted. Karate is hard work. It takes determination and will power to succeed. In many cases, practitioners train for many many years to become proficient and even then, there is always room for improvement. Those who train are in a constant state of self improvement. Consider your real reason for wanting to enroll your child. Many children “try it out” for a few months only to give up. It’s important to try and be as informed as possible before you make your decision.
3.) Will it impact other extra-curricular activities? We seem to live in a world where our kids these days are involved in a plethora of extra-curricular activities. One thing that Karate demands is focus. If your child is spread too thin, they are less likely to succeed and/or enjoy their training. It might be a good time to evaluate your child’s schedule and really be honest with yourself: is more extra-curricular activity really needed? On the flip side of course, if they are not spread thin, then Karate could be a great fit. Evaluate your kid’s schedule. Remember, your kids need downtime as well. Here is an important article about the importance of kids getting sufficient sleep. Click here.
4.) Are there “good” karate schools in your area? Karate has become very popular in North America. Dojos have sprung up all over the place! The rise of popularity of Karate is great – but it does come with its challenges. Namely, the “McDojo” or a school that for all intents and purposes is quite horrible. How can you tell if you’re training at a McDojo? Here is a pretty good article about the topic – click here.