Karate, an oriental system of unarmed combat using the hands and feet to deliver and block blows, widely practised as a sport.
On Saturday which passed we had the privilege of watching Danny at his first karate grading. Its always such a great feeling to watch your kids excel at something and seeing them enjoy themselves while doing it.
“Here are the Two Rules of Miyagi-Ryu Karate. Rule Number One: ‘Karate for defense only.’ Rule Number Two: ‘First learn rule number one.’” Miyagi in The Karate Kid
While selecting which acitivities we wanted Daniyal to participate in from Grade R we came to the conclusion (jointly with him) that karate would be beneficial. Our reasons for selecting karate was simple :
1. Daniyal would become more active (little boys have an endless supply of energy, fact in our world, and when Danny cannot use that energy he gets frustrated. This was a great healthy way for him to burn up those extra kilojoules).
2. It promotes great balance and posture as well as works on their coordination and motor skills.
3. Boys, little boys, do not always know how to focus. Fact in our world again. Karate is meant to bring about a stillness and focus in kids. As Bruce Lee said, “Behind the punches, kicks, and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are.”
4. He would learn how to roll with the punches. Part of the lesson is to teach children how to toughen up, and learn how to deal with disappointments (i.e. protect themselves from being bullied – which has become a frightening thing with kids nowadays, work through disappointments like failing a test, build their self confidence).
5. Karate would assist us in teaching him how to gain self confidence and learn self respect The self-confidence that comes from knowing how to do something, and how to protect oneself, reduces fear and improves self-esteem. This translates into good grades and leadership in school. Karate for children emphasizes respect for others, in particular parents and other adults. When parents realize this, their relationships with their children remain balanced and calm as they grow.
6. He would one day be able to connect his mind and his body. A martial artist is taught to see, feel, and listen – both internally and externally (brings us back to focus).
7. This will be on the building blocks he can rely on when dealing with conflict resolution (this will assist him in both his personal life as well as his studies / work life).
8. At times (mostly winter) Daniyal can be a bit chesty (this could be because I was an smoker when I fell pregnant with him (but stopped when I found out I was pregnant, don’t judge), his lack of wanting to wear any form of warm clothes, his constant sweating which causes him to take off his clothes, or the RSV bug which had him help up in Hospital twice. Who knows. But karate also teaches kids / adults to breath. Nothing is more essential to the success of how we move our body than tapping into the life force of our essence – our breath.
9. Assists with socialization skills
10. Teaches kids how to set goals and work towards them. Following his grading Danny announced that he also wanted a black belt in karate. When I asked him how he would do that, he said “By working really hard Mommy.”
11. We are yet to reap the reward but it is also meant to improve little people’s listening skills. Danny definitely prefers talking to listening. Hoping this will change without him losing himself too much.
12. Promotes discipline and behaviour, need I say more?
“Daniel-san, never put passion before principle. Even if win, you lose.” Miyagi in The Karate Kid
The grading works as follows:
The younger karateka grade slower due to their shorter concentration span. They will first be graded for a Red belt (12th Kyu) and their second grading will be for the orange stripe on the Red belt (11th Kyu).
12th Kyu : Red belt
11th Kyu : Orange stripe on belt
Then as follows
10th Kyu : Orange belt
9th Kyu : Maroon belt;
8th Kyu : Light blue belt
7th Kyu : Dark blue belt;
6th Kyu : Yellow belt
5th Kyu : Purple belt;
4th Kyu : Light green belt
3rd Kyu : Dark green belt;
2nd Kyu : Brown belt
1st Kyu : Golden stripe
Thereafter follow the ten (10) black belts (Dan’s).
All in all, we are happy with our decision to sign Danny up for Karate. Here’s to many more successful grading’s and learning great life lessons along the way.
“Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off.” Miyagi in “The Karate Kid”