A parent of the potential student brought up an interesting concern today that I would like to publicly address because I believe that it’s an important concern.
She was talking to the director of her daughter’s school and the director was adamantly against ANY child taking karate. In fact, she wrote a letter to all of the members of the school stating that karate teaches kids violence and they should keep them out of any karate program
As a Martial Arts instructor, I too have deep concerns about students using karate for the wrong reasons. Truthfully, if I felt that I was teaching children violence, I would not be teaching the Martial Arts at all.
In the movie, Spiderman, Peter Parker’s uncle told him that “With awesome power comes great responsibility.” Karate teaches kid’s responsibility and many, many more life benefits. I current have over 200 testimonials from parents that state how karate helped their child’s focus, build their confidence, assisted them in achieving better grades, acquired better discipline, etc. These testimonials are overwhelming examples about how children all over the country are gaining huge benefits from the Martial Arts.
For people who have a limited exposure to the Martial Arts, it sometimes conjures the images of the Cobra Kan instructor from the Karate Kid – teaching the next generation of bullies. The fact of the matter is that these types of instructors would be unable to run a professional martial arts school to maintain students, therefore, quickly going out of business.
Also, this director stated that she has seen children using karate on the playground. In my experience, children that use kicking and punching on the playground are not in a formal karate program. Mostly, these kids pick up these habits from violence they see on TV and video games.
In karate, we balance the kicks and punches with a heavy dose of peace education so that our students know when it’s not appropriate to use karate. We also teach them verbal self-defense skills and de-escalation strategies to handle real situations with other children without fighting.
One last thing is that I am personally trained in anger management. This type of training is becoming more common among excellent Martial Arts instructors so that we have the skills to help children with emotional control issues which is another terrific benefit of karate.
I am thankful that this parent expressed these concerns so that I could publicly write my opinion on the subject.