“Will my child become more violent from learning karate, jujitsu, or another martial art?”
In a word, “No.” Children learn self-control by practicing martial arts; and the code of conduct that is enforced, within the studio, is carried outside into every day life. The average martial arts school works with parents, and academic teachers, toward the goal of optimum student success.
When you see a Karate demonstration team perform, that is not an indicator of the life skills taught within the Karate class. It is the “flashiest” component of Karate training, presented to capture the public attention. Ten minutes of kids using ancient weapons, breaking, and working in synchronized choreography, is more interesting to the public, than a lecture, by me, about dealing with bullies without violence.
However, let’s take a closer look at the ten minutes of flash. The next time you see a martial arts demonstration team, remember those children have to practice those techniques over and over again. This requires self-discipline, goal setting, perseverance, and each child being a team player.
There is no room for a “one way” personality on any martial arts demonstration team. Such a personality would work against a good public performance. In a typical Karate class, all of the above-mentioned life skills are learned and much more.
Children learn much more about violence on the television, playing with video games, and dealing with daily life, than they will ever learn in a karate class. Even if a Karate teacher was the classic “evil sensei,” that you may have seen in the Karate Kid movie or on Kung Fu Theatre, most children can think of far worse violence.
All you have to do is watch the news, cartoons, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper, to see things worse than unsupervised hand-to-hand combat. So, the self-defense methods taught to children actually pale in comparison to school shootings, bombings, wars, and drive-by shootings.
Karate was created by unarmed civilians on the island of Okinawa and was taught in secret among family members for their personal protection. The philosophy, within a martial arts school, will not always be the same, but the seeds of violence are not sown within a martial arts setting.
All you have to do is look around you to see more, and far worse, violence than learning self-defense – integrated with constructive life skills. The fact is a martial artist is not a “street fighter.” If that were a requirement, we would recruit the toughest kids in North Providence.
As I explain to the children in my Karate and Jujitsu classes, “Never forget the word, “artist,” means to be creative, to be an innovator, and to think for yourself.” Children who learn martial arts are more apt to be well adjusted and defuse a potentially violent situation.
On top of that, most children who study Karate, or any other martial art, will not be “trouble makers.” The children we teach from the Greater Providence, Rhode Island area have learned enough about leadership, in our Karate and Jujitsu classes, to think for themselves.
For parents, the gift of martial arts training to their children has many rewards, right now, and into their future.