A Testimonial of the effect of Martial arts classes on a child's development.
My husband and I noticed that our son was very shy and introverted as a toddler. Of course, he was still only two; it is normal for toddlers to be shy. We thought that as he grew up he would be less shy and more outgoing; that he would develop skills dealing with other children. I took him to the playgroup at a community centre or a library program for toddlers. I also took him to the playground so that he would get exposed to the other children. He went to daycare twice a week as well. Most children get excited just from going out. They play with new toys, craft books etc. However my son rarely enjoyed going to these places. Sometimes, on weekends, we took him to the children's museum or an amusement park. We often ended up going back home 15 minutes later because as soon as he saw other children having a good time, he would get tense and cried hysterically.
We often got advice from co-coordinators at the community center. As experts in early childhood education, they said I should keep taking him and he would eventually get used to it. I was skeptical about their suggestions. He seemed to be getting more shy and introverted. He definitely had low self-esteem as he was growing up. We were really getting worried about how he would adjust when he started going to school. A bit after his third birthday, I read an article about karate for kids on the Internet. It said how effective karate is for children in building self-esteem and confidence. As a native Japanese, I've always wanted my son to learn Karate but it still seemed a bit early for him to start. With my husband's agreement, we decided to sign my son up at the Japan Martial Arts Centre for three months. The manager at the dojo told us that if my son couldn't join the class at first, the membership would be held until he was ready to do the class. As I expected, he couldn't join the class at first.
Actually it took two months for him to join the class. The instructors always paid attention and encouraged my son to join the class. I still remember the day he joined the class. He was three and half years old and it was the turning point for him. My husband and I refer to it as the "BEFORE Karate" & "AFTER Karate" period. The change was obvious and significant. Everything he couldn't do without mom before Karate, he could now do by himself. He could join the preschoolers programs, get on the ride at the amusement park and so on. He is now five years old and still attends Karate classes regularly. I think that it is still to early for him to realize how big a role Karate has played in his life, but my husband and I sure do. He enjoys it and the special sense of pride that comes with accomplishment. The self-esteem and confidence Karate has given him, truly works.
Another Beautiful Story:
Tuesday April 29, 2014
Here is a wonderful comment from one the parents of our students:
"Just wanted to tell you how important your progress report was to J's confidence. He is really proud of his new belt and was telling everyone about it for the rest of the day, but it was your comments that really buoyed him up and made him feel good about himself and will also motivate him to keep trying. He really loves coming to the dojo because he feels loved there - all of the Sensei's make him (and I am sure the other kids notice this too) feel welcome and accepted. He likes the order and discipline - it appeals to the way his brain works - there is a right and systematic way to do things, repetition, and so on.
So thank you to you and all the other Sensei(s) for creating an environment that the kids are happy to come to."