How to Prepare Your Child For Their First Karate Class

How to Prepare Your Child For Their First Karate Class

There’s always a first time for everything. Do you remember when it was your child’s first day of school? Their first time being away from you? Or even their first trip to a memorable place, like the zoo or amusement park. These are places and events that your child will react differently to. They can react by being scared, afraid of being alone, excited, happy, etc. The same goes for their first karate class. If you are a parent who just enrolled your child for karate classes, here’s how to prepare them for their first karate class.

1. Being nervous is OK
Let’s face it. Everyone gets nervous their first time doing anything. That shouldn’t be any different for your child. Remember that they’re going into a totally new environment different from what they’re used to. They’ll be dressed differently, see many different faces and will have a new authority figure. It’s OK for them to be nervous. Just like all their other first experiences, guide them through it successfully. If your child cries, that’s completely ok too. Don’t freak out. Freaking out and overreacting to your child crying will add fuel to the fire. Put your trust in the karate school and their instructors. Eventually your child will adapt to the change in environment and begin to have lots of fun.

2. Encourage but don’t push

Many parents are guilty of it. It’s natural to want your child in excel in everything they do. But there’s a thin line between healthy encouragement and pushing beyond reason. Remember that what your child may have seen on TV is very different from what they’ll experience in real life. It’s the same with karate classes. Yes they see many cool techniques and moves, but most of those techniques take time to learn and perfect. They won’t learn everything they see on TV overnight. Try not to be so hard on your kid if they don’t learn new things right away. Don’t push them so hard to the point where they’ll want to give up, being too afraid of failure or too afraid to disappoint you. Instead, give them healthy encouragement. Be their pillar of success. If they fall, be there to pick them up to try again. If they’re seemingly distraught during class, remind them how cool it was in the beginning and how they’ll practice to be perfect. Don’t push behind them, rather walk along side them and guide them through.

3. Be a cheerleader

It’s as simple as is sounds. Be a cheerleader. Be the best cheerleader for your child during and after class. Provide praise when things are done correctly and provide encouragement when they need a little boost. Remember that your child wants to please you in every way possible, especially during karate class. They are “on stage” and want you to be proud of them. When you’re cheering on your child, it gives them an incredible boost to their self-esteem. You’ll notice that they’ll want to try harder, practice more and attend class more often. So make it clear that you’re proud that they are trying their best learning new skills and a martial art. Most importantly, let them know that you’re proud of them.

It may seem simple enough, but often times many parents forget that learning and perfecting a martial art takes time. Don’t push your child too hard and discourage them. Healthy encouragement is key, and cheering them on will lead them to succeed. That’s how to prepare your child for their first karate class. Their first karate class may be frightening for them, but after a few times, it will be all fun.

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Karate Classes: Traditional Karate VS Sport Karate

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Are you searching for a karate school for your child? Then you should know that broadly speaking, there are two different types of karate schools in the United States: traditional karate schools and sport karate schools like Urban Martial Arts. What’s the difference between traditional karate vs sport karate? This article will explain.

1. Training atmosphere and objective
One of the biggest differences has to do with the setting that you’ll be training in. Traditional karate school facilities are often minimalist studios without much in the way of fixtures or decorations. Classes are conducted on hardwood floors to mimic the way karate was traditionally taught throughout history in Japan. Most sport karate schools, on the other hand, conduct their classes on mats. Some use simple puzzle mats, similar to those you’d find in a daycare. Others, like Urban Martial Arts, use professional-grade mats just like those you’d find inside the cage at a UFC fight. Matted floors provide a safer training environment for students, especially when practicing rolls and throws.

2. Traditional forms vs open forms
At traditional karate schools, students learn forms (or kata) that have been passed down unchanged from generation to generation. These traditional forms never change over time. They consist of the exact same moves in the exact same sequence. At sport karate schools, on the other hand, students learn open forms. These forms evolve over time, and often include gymnastics-inspired techniques such as backflips and somersaults that wouldn’t be found in traditional kata.

3. Self-defense techniques
If you’ve ever watched archival footage of boxers fighting in the early part of the century, you’ll notice that their motions seem very rigid compared to contemporary boxers. The same type of difference can be seen in the self-defense techniques taught at traditional karate schools vs sport karate schools. At traditional schools, the self-defense techniques students learn have been passed down unchanged for generations. At sport karate schools, the self-defense techniques are designed for modern-day combat, so they are more fluid and reactive. Sport karate schools will sometimes even mix in techniques from other styles of martial arts, such as boxing or Brazilian jiujitsu, so that students can learn the most effective way to defend against common attacks, regardless of style.

Those are the major differences between traditional karate classes and sport karate classes. If you’re someone looking to discover deep cultural roots of the art of karate and can adhere to strict rules and guidelines, then a traditional school would be a good fit for you. If you’re someone looking to train in a more relaxed atmosphere with up-to-date techniques, then a sport karate school would be the ideal choice.

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What Age is Good to Start Learning Karate? [VIDEO]

Is your child at the right age to learn karate? Here are some ways to decide whether your child is ready to become a karate kid:

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5 Karate Quotes Your Child Should Live By

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Many people have the misconception that karate is all about punches and kicks, but did you know that there is a philosophy behind this martial arts form? While the physical aspect of karate can increase your child’s concentration and self control, the school of thought behind karate can provide a positive guide to life for your child. Here are 5 karate quotes that will have a positive influence over your child!

1) Karate-Do is a lifetime study”. -Kenwa Mabuni

Following the wise words of Sensei Mabuni, karate consists of a ranking system which provides a series of challenges for your child. Perseverance is key to success – when your child feels the sense of excitement for passing a belt test, this will give him more motivation to continue and remind him that hard work pays off in the end.

2) “Karate begins and ends with courtesy”. -Gichin Funakoshi

Although karate involves punches and kicks, your child should remember that manners are inherently tied to karate. Before a match and after a match, you should always bow as a form of respect toward your opponent. In a karate match, there are no bad winners or sore losers. Once your child learns to respect his opponent, he will also learn to respect all sorts of people he encounters in life.

 3) “The best fighter is never angry”.– Lao Tsu

Other than learning body control through punches and kicks, your child also learns how to control his emotions in karate. Karate involves a high level of concentration and self control – if your child’s emotions are out of control, this will affect the quality and strategy of his self defense.

 4) “The ultimate fighter does not rely on his hands or feet to defeat his opponent, but rather his mind”.J. Stoddard

Similar to Lao Tsu’s quote, M.J. Stoddard reinforces the importance of using the brain in karate. Rather than punching and kicking the opponent incessantly, your child should think of ways to defend himself and strike the opponent in a way that would guarantee potential success during a match.

 5) “You have the power to fulfill your dreams!” – Tae Yun Kim

Life is not always a smooth journey – it’ll involve rocky roads and challenges that may alter your child’s motivation and mindset. However, karate will help cultivate his inner power and strength, so that when he encounters challenges in the future, it’ll remind him to maintain a positive mindset and persevere in hard times.

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Why Karate Makes the Best Holiday Gift For Your Child

Holiday season has arrived, and that means it’s time for parents to pick out the perfect gift for their child to have a memorable Christmas. Getting a new bike or new toy may seem like the go-to gift, but getting your child karate lessons may be the greatest gift of all. Every parent wants the best for their child – here are a few reasons why karate makes the best holiday gift for your child:

  1. Build confidence and discipline

Some parents have the misconception that martial arts encourages violence in children, but the truth is karate teaches children that violence is not the answer and that their skills should only be used as self defense. Karate actually helps to increase confidence and discipline in children, as it helps to build an aura of strength and children need to respect their Sensei and follow their instructions diligently during classes.

  1. Increase self control

Other than building confidence and discipline, karate classes also help children develop their self control abilities. As karate involves carrying out punches and kicks with precision, this helps children increase focus and control over their bodies. However, at Urban Martial Arts we recommend enrolling children who have a minimum amount of self control, otherwise they may have trouble getting through an entire class.

  1. Teach them self defense

One of the most common issues that parents worry about is bullying – as school is an environment where parents cannot fully protect their children, it is important for children to learn basic self defense skills to prepare them for an encounter with a bully. Children who enroll in karate classes tend to be more confident, which is a valuable trait to have when faced with bullies.

  1. Develop leadership skills

At Urban Martial Arts, we teach students to be leaders, not followers. As karate includes rising through a series of belt ranks, experienced students become a role model for newer students and hence learn the importance of helping others in need.

  1. Develop more respect for others

One of the core principles of karate is principle and respect – other than developing technical skills, children also learn the philosophy behind the martial arts form. As children interact with others in karate classes, they learn to respect themselves and respect each other.

One of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is valuable personality traits that will help them excel in life in the future. While material goods provide a temporary sense of happiness, the core principles children learn from karate are permanent and help provide them with a positive guide to life.

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What Age is Good to Start Learning Karate?

2014-11-09 Karate What Age Blog


As a parent, you’re probably wondering what age your child should start learning karate. Some parents want to expose their children to the benefits of karate as soon as possible, but children that are too young may not be physically or mentally ready yet to learn the art of martial arts. At Urban Martial Arts, we believe that age 4 is the suitable age for children to start learning karate, since children younger than this haven’t yet developed the focus and self-control needed to get through an entire class. Even within the same age group, children tend to mature and develop at different speeds. Here are some factors to determine whether your child is ready to become a karate kid:

1) Is your child independent enough to participate in the class without you by their side?

Some karate schools may offer “family” classes where children and parents can train together, but at Urban Martial Arts we believe that children can only fully reap the benefits of karate if they start off by learning independently. Parents can watch from the side and provide support during the classes, but if your child cannot leave your side for the duration of a class and is heavily dependent on you, they may not be ready yet to learn karate. Since karate classes tend to be in a group setting, your child also has to be comfortable around people they don’t know to get through a class.

2) Can your child focus on one task for at least 2-3 minutes at a time?

Although karate classes for young children are designed to be very fast-paced with multiple short segments, your child needs to have a minimal level of concentration to get through each segment. Each segment tends to last for 2-3 minutes – if your child can provide 100% attention span within this period of time, they’re off to a good start. Parents may want their children to learn self-defense and discipline as early as possible, but classes for this age group tend to be more focused on co-ordination and fun to cater to their young age.

3) Is your child willing or able to control their body most of the time?

Learning karate can help children build focus and self-control, but they also need a minimum amount of these two factors to start off with. If your child lacks self-control from the beginning, they may have trouble developing these two assets as they get older. Other than self-control, children who have developed age-appropriate manners tend to be more suitable students for karate classes. For example, if they can follow instructions, listen to the instructor and avoid distracting the other students, they’ll be able to get through a karate class with no trouble at all.

If you’re still unsure whether your child is physically and mentally ready to learn karate, the best way to find out is to try out a class in person. Since most martial arts schools offer free or low-cost trial classes, karate instructors can observe your child’s performance in the trial class and evaluate whether they’re ready to start learning karate.


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Urban Martial Arts Wins Big At the Long Island Open 2014!

Congratulations to everyone who competed at The Long Island Open Karate Tournament 2014 in Islip Terrace, NY!

For a few of our students, this was only their first or second tournament and as you’ll see in the video, they showed a lot of heart!

Great job, everybody! We look forward to seeing how you’ll do in the next tournament!

Interested in karate for kids in Brooklyn NY? Learn more about our program.

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Alyssa Barry (7 & Under Intermediate Girls Sparring)
Ester Fruchter (10-11 Advanced Girls Sparring)
Jose Bermejo (12-13 Intermediate Boys Sparring)
Luke Brillant (7 & Under Beginners Boys Sparring)

Read the full article →

Video from March 2014 Karate Belt Promotion

Congratulations to everyone who earned their new belts! You’ve put in a lot of hard work, and we’re so proud of you.

Here’s a video with some highlights from the belt promotion:

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KarateKidsKickingGet 6 weeks of karate classes, plus a free karate uniform and T-shirt ($60 value) for just $179! Enter your email address below to see schedule and details.

Why Kids Who Do Karate Get Better Grades

Why Kids Who Do Karate Get Better Grades

Training in karate gives your child a whole lot of benefits. It gives them skills, confidence and often helps with their self-esteem.

But did you know that karate classes can help your child do better in school?

Karate helps with the development of a lot of skills that students need, so if your child is struggling with school work, you might want to consider registering him/her for karate classes.

1. Rigorous academics require discipline

A good student is one who understands that life is not a free-for-all, where they can just do what they want when they want. Good students do their homework even when their favorite show is on TV. In order to get good grades, they must complete their homework, turn it in on time, and study and prepare for tests. The trait necessary for achieving all these is discipline. Karate helps to develop this discipline because it helps students learn structure, order and most importantly, how to have self-control.

2. Being prepared leads to success

Benjamin Franklin said “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Much of academic success hinges on being prepared and organized. Think about it, what good is it to write the greatest essay since Charles Dickens if you leave it at home and so can’t turn it in on time? Karate teaches kids that they always need to be prepared. For example, when they’re getting to spar, they know they need to stay in fighting stance and stay on their bounce so they can explode into action when they need to. Kids who train in karate carry this trait over to their school work.

3. Good students have to be able to focus

With all the opportunities and channels of entertainment available to today’s kids it can get difficult to focus. But in order to cope with rigorous schoolwork, students must learn how to listen to the teachers and not get distracted by their surroundings. Karate can help your child to develop this very important character trait; focus and concentration. When in karate class, they learn to shut out distractions, whether they’re external (classmates playing around) or internal (negative thoughts and doubts).

4. Setting and achieving goals is critical to success

Success comes from achieving a series of smaller goals which ultimately culminates in the accomplishment of larger goals. In school, this could mean finishing an essay on time or reading a few chapters ahead of the class. In karate, it means passing an evaluation and earning a new belt. As a karate student, your child learns to enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing goals and this will spur them to seek out opportunities to replicate in school and at home.

5. Physical activity builds cognitive functions

Researchers have discovered that physical activity levels have been positively linked to cognitive function during development in school-aged children. Besides the neurological connotations, giving kids an outlet to move their bodies can actually help them academically by improving their memory and increasing their attention span. Karate is a very physical activity so can help build cognitive functions as well as serve as an outlet to help improve memory.

Karate can be extremely useful for your children to boost their school grades if they are already A students. If they are having problems with school work, it can also help them by helping to develop necessary skills to become a very good student.

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KarateKidsKickingGet 6 weeks of karate classes, plus a free karate uniform and T-shirt ($60 value) for just $179! Enter your email address below to see schedule and details.