Saturday, May 13, 2006

Daniel wants to do karate

Officially, my 7 year old son has announced that he wants to do karate. He came to class last night.

He was strong for the first half hour, but by the second one, he was showing real signs of tiredness. What could I do? Not much, but encourage him to just relax, enjoy himself, and continue trying. I explained to him that his body just has to get used to it, and that it was a good thing that he was feeling tired, it means that he was doing his best.


Miss Chris said...

My eight year old daughter has been doing karate since the age of 5 and will be testing for her black belt in a year or two. She's a black/red belt in American Kenpo and the next belt is black. She needs a bit more size to her before she's ready for that test. She took to karate right from the start and is the one who got me into it. I think it's the best activity for a kid both physically and mentally. But, I'm sure you already know that. I hope your kid keeps it up!

supergroup7 said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, Miss Chris.

I appreciate that we each have different expectations, and perceptions, and goals in our karate training for ourselves, and for our children. I respect that you uphold and support your daughter's path in Karate.

Personally, I have a different outlook on my children. I have already told them that they will not be allowed to become brown belts until they are 16, and they will not be given permission to test for black belt until they reach the age of 18. Why have I imposed this age limit on my kids when so many other children are becoming black belts at age of 8 or less? It's because I feel that normally society does not allow our children to drive a car, or carry a gun, raise a baby, or have other adult responsibilities at such a young age. In fact, I frown at those societies that teach little boys, and girls the art of war, which is the main concept of karate, and any martial art: We are learning the Art of War. We are to be responsible for the damage that we can inflict on others through our training. We need to develop the proper mental attitude towards our training, and that takes years of experience, patience, and effort. The color of the belt will not create an instant mature person who can handle themselves efficiently, and with mental control in a violent confrontation.

I stand firm on the fact that my children will only test for their black belt as adults. I will pull them out of a dojo if the Sensei insists that the child test for a black belt before then. It is not important to me if all of their fellow dojo friends achieve black belt ahead of them. Actually this will be great for my own children's sense of humility, and perserverence. They will train for the joy of training in karate, and learning, rather than seeking the next belt color.

And that is where I stand.

Stephen Irwin said...

Our children's class accepts kids from age 7 upward. Class length is 45 minutes which is a good length of time for children, especially the younger ones.

Keep it up young padwan :D

KMA said...

Our dojo also does not accept children until they are 7 years old, with a very few exceptions (kids who are 6, who have older siblings in karate and that show good discipline already). Our "karate for kids" class is only 45 minutes long, and incorporates some "play" time as well as martial arts (exercise drills which build strength, coordination and balance but the kids consider them fun). It's a way of recognizing shorter attention spans and different stages of physical growth and development.

As someone who has helped teach these classes for several years, I have to admit I have mixed feelings about kids who make black belt by age 10. I don't want to take anything away from the kids who have worked so hard and gained so much skill, I really don't. However, shortly after they make that belt, they start going through puberty. Their bodies change, their personalities change, their priorities change. In some cases, their karate (or whatever style) goes straight to hell, to put it bluntly. At that point, they really don't represent the black belt very well... =/

I think our organization has a pretty decent compromise. Although some people are allowed to test for black at a fairly young age, it's rare that they pass that first try. And past a certain level, they are required to retest after a certain age to "regain" that rank; this after they've had the chance to grow into themselves in all ways.

LirianFae (ignore the blogger name, it's a long story! =p)

FrogMan said...

sorry, I have to say it...

Go Daniel-san!!!



Ruth said...

Hi everyone

Yet again, fascinating posts and comments on this blog - can't thank you enough for your stimulating writing.

My husband and I are keen karate-ka. My husband has trained for over 30 years; I'm a junior by his standrs and have a mere 6 years "under my belt". We have two children aged 4 and 1. Do you guys know of any research into the impact of karate on a child's developing bones, joints and muscles? I really do not know when to introduce my children to karate, partly for fear of damaging their joints.... Is this a possiblity?

Secondly supergroup7, I totally respect and admire the reasons behind your approach to karate training for your children.
I was interested to read your description of karate as "the art of war". I wonder what you mean by that? Karate's of no use in a modern day war - you won't block a bomb or a bullet. But besides that, I actually see karate as the art of war-avoidance: nipping an attack in the bud before it escalates into a war; developing the delf-discipline to stand back and take anything that is truly non-threatening rather than rising to the bait and fighting in order to prove "your supremacy".

supergroup7 said...

"However, shortly after they make that belt, they start going through puberty. Their bodies change, their personalities change, their priorities change."

That is SUCH an important point, Lirianfae! A black belt needs to have mental, and physical self-control. That would be a difficult enough challenge to achieve when one is "settled" into adulthood, but to be going through hormonal changes.. WOW! I've seen my teen daughter break down into emotional fits of sobbing over a dropped pencil. I remember those days of heights, and depths.

Would pregnancy/Menopause have the same effect on a Martial artist?

supergroup7 said...

"Is there research into the impact of karate on a child's developing bones, joints and muscles?"

I just happen to be reading a book called "Running" by Thomas Wessinghage, M.D. He says:

" It is true that children can move around for hours without experiencing fatigue. However precise observation shows that this type of movement is not regular and continuous. Rather, it is interrupted by frequent breaks and is more like intervals. The reason for that is the reduced aerobic capacity of the child's body, which up to the tenth year of life is subject to only moderate endurance training - a type of self-protection for the young body against overtaxing the heart and circulatory system." Pg 55

I think that training in karate would fit in very well with the physical needs of children in training.

I made a whole new thread about what I perceive to be the Martial way inspired by your comments, Ruth. Thank you.

supergroup7 said...

Yes, I agree Stephen, and Lirianfae, that 45 minutes is a long enough class for children. It gives them just enough of everything. I think that I'd add a 15 minute space for making warm up, and warm down a "routine" in their training. So an hour long class would suffice for kids.

supergroup7 said...

Ah... FUNNY comment, Frogman. I didn't put my son's name Daniel with the Karate Kid movie before now.

"Wax on! Wax off! Breath in! Breath out!"

Ha ha ha

Ken Matsushi said...

Nice blog. I will keep reading. Please take the time to visit my blog about Karate

supergroup7 said...

Hi Ken Martial arts!

That's a really recent weblog that you linked to. It looks like you started it on May 31st! I'll come visit and look around soon.