Karate is one of the most followed, practiced, and popular disciplines in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that it has become a $40 billion industry. While the West calls it Karate, the Japanese call it Aikido. Even though there are several variations, the essence and philosophy remain the same.
Both Karate and Aikido are based on self-discipline and peaceful conflict resolution. Therefore, if you are considering martial arts for your child, it is a great choice for many reasons.
Health Benefits of Karate
Karate may seem like an activity that improves your physical strength. However, there are many other health benefits as well mentioned below.
Complete Body Workout
Full body workout is one of the best benefits of Karate which is not usually seen in other forms of exercise. A person uses his arms, legs, back, abdominals, and even mental strength when practicing Karate. Due to this reason, psychologists suggest that kids should engage in activities that utilize their entire bodies. A full-body workout not only improves physical health but also mental health.
Karate in particular is proven to increase muscle, overall mobility, and body response. The reason is that karate involves so many different types of movements that constant repetition helps build strength and burn fat. While many were of the view that karate does not offer any major health benefits, others believed that it does but takes time.
As mentioned earlier, repetitive movements in karate such as low stances, high kicks, and fancy footwork require a huge amount of work but the flexibility achieved as a result is matchless. Improving mobility and flexibility helps improve the posture, reduce muscle soreness and tension as well.
Better Coordination in the Body
Apart from increased flexibility and full-body training, better coordination is one of the key benefits of learning karate. Participants involved in martial arts require special awareness and coordination with another person. In some cases, the participants are also offered tools to compete against each other.
The purpose of using tools is not to hurt or damage the opponent but to be better able to coordinate with the opponent’s movements and skills. This allows both participants to become better at being aware of their surroundings and especially the techniques and movements being used against them.
For instance, Kempo is a practice used in martial arts involving the use of the lower body as a base while the upper body can maneuver. Believe it or not, such practices make martial artists so skilled that sometimes they are able to predict the upcoming movies too.
Kids are usually shy and nervous especially when it comes to trying out new things in life. They do not have much confidence to take the next step until someone pushes them to do so. Karate in that sense is a great option. It gives your child the confidence he/she needs and deserves.
Once your kid starts practicing and mastering different skills involved in the process, it helps improve self-image and develops enough confidence to succeed in both personal and professional life. In fact, according to several studies, kids who participate in karate tend to perform comparatively better in school than those who do not.
Many kids suffer at school because of the fear of bullies. However, after learning a technique like Karate, they not only feel fearless but confident when facing others. It indirectly improves public speaking abilities in the long run as well.
Although the outsiders might see it as a self-defense or fighting technique, Karate is based on discipline. It was introduced by a Japanese master in the 20th century to solve conflicts peacefully. Therefore, martial arts was and is never about hurting your opponent.
It is all about neutralizing an attack and coming to a peaceful solution. However, it can sometimes be deadly as well. Martial arts involve some deadly moves that can seriously injure a person. This is why karate instructors always balance discipline with aggressiveness. For instance, karate participants cannot use the same techniques on regular people. It is against discipline. They are not allowed to use it as a weapon. Instead, it is considered a tool for self-betterment.
In addition to that, martial arts is not all about fighting. The participants are taught so much more such as respecting the opponent and not using abusive language or fueling a conflict. If the participants happen to ignore or break the discipline, a strict punishment follows.
Considering the increasingly competitive world, a kid’s mind must be sharp to succeed in future ventures. With technology taking over the world, kids need to counteract and learn to use them for their benefit. Karate improves mental activity and improves reflexes. Even though it may seem like a physical benefit, in the long run, it proves to be a vital mental benefit.
According to several studies, it is estimated that more than 6.4 million children between the 4 and 17 age group suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. As a result, while some parents have opted for counseling and medication, others have introduced martial arts. With the help of constant practice and controlled movements, the kids have learned how to clear their minds and remain focused.
This does not only help in classrooms but in social and personal life as well. Otherwise, considering the number of distractions children experience every day, it is hard to focus on even a single task at hand.
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Obesity and excessive weight are common amongst kids these days. There was a time when the situation was limited to elders. However, teenagers are also suffering from diabetes. This is solely due to excessive consumption of unhealthy food as well as sitting home indulging in different types of electronic gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. While genetics and metabolism also play a huge role, a healthy diet and active lifestyle help keep things balanced.
Instead of forcing your kid to run for miles, why not enroll him/her in a martial arts class, where they can work on their personal, mental, and physical skills. Martial arts instructors allow the students to train at their own pace. Since the movements are tough to learn and require strength, do not be surprised if your kid starts demanding healthy meals one day.
Parents often ask, is karate good for anxiety and stress relief and the answer is yes. It is a known fact that anxiety and stress are fairly common amongst teenagers due to competition and growing expectations of society. The accumulation of stress leads to nervous breakdowns. Martial arts in that respect helps the participants control their breathing and thoughts.
Then again, this is another form of self-control and skill that can be applied throughout all areas of life. Once you are focused and have enough confidence to take down everything life throws at you, the stress is bound to be less. As a result, you can be more at peace with yourself.
You can also try gardening for improved mental health.
Improved Lung Health
One of the core health benefits associated with Karate is that it improves your lungs. With the increased rate of respiration in a controlled momentum, the lungs exercise in a useful way and not in an over-exhausted way. As a result, the blood flow, and the rate of oxygen within the body improve to a much-balanced point. Karate also helps you store more oxygen in your lungs before exhaling it all out. Afterall! This technique is all about patience and composure.
Karate or martial arts has become a global phenomenon for the right reasons. If you have a discipline that teaches your kid several important skills at a time, you should immediately start working on it. As time goes by, your kid will be able to reap all the benefits of learning martial arts. However, it should be kept in mind that self-betterment, peace, and discipline are at the core of learning and training karate.