Help Your Child Succeed in Martial Arts or Any Sport

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Supporting their children in a martial arts class

Being there to support your children is half the battle to their achieving success in martial arts.

What can parents do to ensure their children succeed in martial arts or other sports? Mostly, it is about just being there for them and supporting them.

I wrote this guest post a few years back. It received many responses, but sadly the host site no longer exists. I decided to re-write it on my own blog. I wrote this article from a unique perspective—that of the child’s. Our kids karate classes in Sydney are popular because the sensei get right “down in the dirt” with the children and actively participate, not just bark out orders. This gives us a different viewpoint. From my many years experience in working with kids, I offer this advice that will help the parent support their child in the martial arts or any other sport.

At Karate Class

“Be there whenever you can to watch me. It means so much to me and I will try extra hard when you are there”.

“Be there to support me, especially on grading day. Every other parent is cheering for their child, but I am sad because there is no one here to cheer for me”.

“Observe me quietly during my karate class with a smile on your face and always give me positive feedback when we get home, this shows me that you care.”.

“It makes me happy that you volunteer when the sensei asks for parent helpers, I love seeing you take part in my class”.

“Please pick me up from practice on time. All of the other kids have gotten their hugs and are gone and I am still here waiting for you. I feel abandoned and will cry”.

“When you blabber loudly on your mobile phone and make the Sensei ask you to take it outside, it really embarrasses me”.

“Help me with my belt if it falls off, the sensei is very busy and does not have the time”.

“You told the sensei I am not any good at Karate. I thought he was proud of me. That really hurts”.

“You have your face buried in the newspaper and have not watched one of my kicks today”.

At Home

“Don’t push us too hard. Practising five days a week is a bit much for our little bodies and it will soon become a job”.

“Ask us what lessons we learned in karate today. It shows you care”.

“Practice with me at home or at least watch me practice”.

“Please sew up my karate pants so I don’t trip and fall down in front of the whole class”.

“Please don’t compare me to other children. I am not as big, strong, and coordinated as Grant/Julie. It is not my fault”.

“You sometimes get angry when I don’t win the game or match. The sensei says that what counts most is not winning, but having fun and doing your best”.

“Do tell me you are proud of my efforts in karate. I live for it”.

“Let us be kids and have a bit of fun. We only get to do it once”.

How do you support your children in the martial arts or other sports? Your comments are appreciated.

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  1. Zoltan says

    Hi Sensei Matt.

    Great article, I particularly see your point about Parents pushing too hard.

    I have seen some very gifted Children driven off Karate from too much pressure from their parents. This is so sad to see, especially when they have so much potential and have a real knack for it with the gift of natural skill. I know it’s important to push, but you need to recognise the point the kids become resentful and stop enjoying it. It’s too easy some times to push when you’re not actually doing the work.

    Not everyone enjoys the same sports or activities – but having positive encouragement, friends there and fun will sure help keep their interest.

  2. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Yes so true Zoltan, I have seen many quit as well due to the pressure. I think they all mean well and genuinely want the best for their children. They want them to achieve the success that may or may not have evaded them as kids, but sometimes it is just too much. It is good to look at it through the eyes of a child sometimes. Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for commenting!