If you are the parent or the legal guardian of the child enrolled in the program, you definitely want your child to succeed (whatever it means) on their training journey. However, some parents don’t realize just how important their encouragement is to a child’s success. They may also not know how they can show support in ways that will genuinely be helpful. Encouragement can come in the form of simply watching your child’s training, or even participation in parent-and-child classes.
1. Know the Dojo Etiquette
Etiquette is hugely important in Kyokushin Karate and martial arts as a whole, and parents should know what is expected of them and of students. One of the most important things you can do is to familiarize yourself with Dojo Etiquette. In Kyokushin Karate, instructors are generally addressed as “Shihan (Expert – 5th Dan & Higher”, “Sensei (Instructor / Teacher – 3rd & 4th Dan )” or “Senpai (Senior – 1st & 2nd Dan or 1st & 2nd KYU)”. This title may be placed after the instructor’s name or, more commonly, before his or her name (ex. Sensei Irek)
Kyokushin Dojo is seen as a sacred practice area and students are required to show their respect. Shoes need to be removed prior to entering this area. It is also customary to bow twice with loud “OSU” upon entering or exiting the Dojo and greeting others, particularly one’s seniors.
Generally, spectators are welcome to watch their children in class, as long as they do so quietly. Some instructors may welcome verbal encouragement from the sidelines. However, it is better to err on the side of quiet respect if you are unfamiliar with the Kyokushin culture. When in doubt, ask the instructor before or after class. Both the instructor and your child are sure to appreciate your consideration for the class.
2. Know the Benefits
Familiarizing yourself with many benefits of martial arts for kids can help you feel great about having your child pursue it and in turn will make your engagements to them more sincere. A few Benefits include:
• Self-defense – Although there is more to martial arts than the physical aspects, it is still an excellent asset to be able to defend oneself. This can give both parents and children some peace of mind.
• Self-confidence – Sports are great way to teach your child the value and satisfaction of hard work. Working toward and ultimately achieving a goal, can foster a sense of self-esteem and independence.
• Respect – The practice of martial arts etiquette can teach children to be respectful in other aspects of life and open-minded toward new customs and cultures they may encounter in the future.
3. Know Best Practices
Sitting in on classes is one of great ways to show your child that you are invested in him or her. Many children are eager to show mom or dad what they’ve been learning. Asking the child questions outside of class about techniques, etiquette or anything else you observed can be a great way to help him or her review what has been taught. It can also help a child feel good to teach an adult something new.
4. Try It Yourself
If you are looking to take your support to another level, the best thing you can do is to participate in your child’s classes or take a dedicated parent-and-child class! You don’t need to commit to becoming a black belt, but it is the hands-on way to further your understanding of the sport and what your child is learning. You may choose to take only few lessons for a basic introduction, or may find that you deserve to pursue it yourself! It would be great way to create shared experience s together and help your child practice at home.
5. One Big Thing NOT to DO
Even well-meaning parents can make mistakes. One of the biggest no-no’s is calling out to correct your child’s performance during class. Not only is this disrespectful and distraction to the teacher and other students, but it can also be embarrassing to your child and cause him or her to become self-conscious and distracted. You’re paying to have our child trained by an expert, so let the teacher do just that. Technical criticisms should be left to the instructor. As the parent, you should focus on positives. If you have any concerns, you should discuss them privately with the instructor outside of the class time.