How is Budo's Children's Program Different from that of other karate schools?
Our program is significantly different than most other children’s karate programs. We do not subject children to sparring or competition as beginners. Sparring is a game that, when used properly, can teach certain lessons. However, the purpose of karatedo is to develop quality martial arts skills that serve in all situations—not to “win” a contrived game or tournament. Focus on sparring, particularly at lower levels, develops unsafe karate habits and is a sign of poor-quality martial arts.
Furthur, the ultimate purpose of karate-do is to learn skills that will lead to a more fulfilling life. While competition can be used to learn some of these lessons, these are generally emphasized in many areas of our culture. More imprtant for balance are the ability to have honest self-assesment and internal value without the need for external judgement.
Most programs focus either on “channeling” children’s energy into things that look like martial arts but are not—such as flashy, poor-quality kicks/strikes—or on harsh, regimented instructor-driven discipline. Quality martial arts on the other hand, teaches young people self-discipline, self-control, and an inner sense of self-worth, as well as the ability and desire to learn and to improve themselves.
Our program is designed to develop the physical and mental control to perform techniques correctly (not just fast), a key requirement of doing quality karate-do. Other benefits will develop as a child continues in the program, such as concentration and attention to detail, the inner drive to improve, and the self-esteem that results when they finally “get it” or are promoted to a higher belt rank. On top of this, the quality martial arts skills learned are a very effective means of self-defense should it ever become necessary. Our program is also designed to prepare them for the most import learn phase of life, when you can't be there, as teenagers and adults.
Like anything of value, these benefits cannot be achieved overnight. Our program is designed to take a typical (or even problem) child and develop these qualities efficiently and continually over time. We do not lavish continual praise and external rewards (such as trophies from competitions), nor do we use harsh discipline. Rather, we use a balance of sufficient praise and correction so that the students know what is expected and what is not, and when they have done something right. In short, the aim is to develop self-esteem, not arrogance; and self-discipline, not dependence upon others for direction.
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