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How Karate Helps Behaviour.

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Let's get one thing straight. Normally, karate is very much about positive reinforcement.

Do well in class, achieve belt stripes, and grade to a new level of belt.

Positive, positive, positive.

But sometimes, behavioural troubles may occur.

Maybe the student started displaying these behaviours before she started karate.

Maybe they began after he started class.

Perhaps the child is lying. Getting in trouble. Pushing other kids. Not trying in school. It happens.

It's not every kid in the dojo. But sometimes, it happens.

And believe it or not, your Sensei might be able to help.

How can an extracurricular program possibly help if Jimmy has started pushing down his classmates?

Short answer: karate really, truly strives to make kids into well-rounded, respectful humans who can stand with confidence and protect themselves.

How can martial arts do that?

Let's imagine this:

You give your kid the toy or game they want the most. If you misbehave, you tell him, I'll take that game away.

The game is now currency to this child.

In karate, we have currency. We have belts and belt stripes.

If Little Jimmy just started karate, he will be so proud of his new white belt. And even better, after just a few short classes, it's not just a plain white belt: it's got shiny, colourful stripes on it.

Why stripes? Because they mean he worked hard, listened, and did his best in class.

If your child misbehaves, is disrespectful or rude, isn't listening in class...

Sensei will remove a stripe. It's a strict policy.

Now, the most important part: connecting the in-karate rules with the at-home rules.

If your child misbehaves, is disrespectful or rude, isn't listening at home or school...

"I'm going to have to talk to Sensei about this".

After week one, all kids at the dojo know the rules.

Respect, focus, listen, don't hit others, have good manners (amongst others).

They obey these rules in class, but how do we make sure they follow the same principles all throughout their lives?

We make sure they know that the same currency applies to these behaviours everywhere.

Did Little Jimmy push his classmate down? I'm going to have to talk to Sensei about that. (we can't use our hands out of anger).

Did he punch someone? Scream at someone? This isn't behaviour a (insert belt colour) should have! I'm going to have to talk to Sensei about this. Maybe you shouldn't have that orange/green/blue (etc) belt after all.

Because your belt means something (or, it should).

A child with an orange belt automatically should know better than a white belt.

A blue belt should have even better behaviour than an orange belt,

If you do include Sensei when these issues arise, Little Jimmy may lose some or all of his belt stripes if you talk to Sensei.

How does it work?

Your child wants their stripes. They worked hard for them. They want their belt: what would their friends say if they showed up in a white belt instead of that shiny new blue or yellow one?

What happened to Jimmy, they will ask.

Where is his blue belt?

We have something they want, and we have the power to take that thing away.

If you do A, B must happen. If you don't wish for B to happen, do not do A.

It's simple, and it's effective.

But I have to stress:

You need to include your Sensei.

Make an appointment. Come in early. Send an email or a text (you can text our phone number).

One thing parents need is backup. You don't always need to be the only one enforcing rules for your child. We want to help.

Things like these are the entire reason we have circles, belt stripes, and belts. Even gradings can be used as an incentive for your child.

But you must ask for help.

We even have a free Home Behaviour Chart free for download: just ask Sensei.

In conclusion:

Come to Sensei for help if you're having trouble with your kids behaviour.

We teach kids because we want to help kids.

And we can help yours, too.

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