Think about the last time you played a board game, or another activity that involved a contest, did your child lose? How did your child handle this defeat? If your child pouted, tried to change the rules last minute, flipped the board over, or showed other behaviors that coincided with their feelings towards their loss, they may struggle with showing good sportsmanship outside the home as well.

Enrolling your child in the martial arts can benefit them in social, moral, educational and physical areas of their lives. Following the code of respect within martial arts classes and tournaments also teaches our students to follow the guidelines of good sportsmanship.

Respect:

One of the core values that is discussed and practiced within any martial arts gym is respect. Each class begins and ends with a bow to the instructor, fostering a sense of respect, trust and the will to learn and grow within the hour long session of class. When students are taught to respect their instructors, they also are guided to respect their classmates during partner work. Karate as well as the other arts, focus on self improvement. Karate is all about what the student works on and what the student individually achieves in order to reach and set new goals towards perfecting a kick or earning a higher belt rank. In tournaments, if a student doesn’t do as well as desired, this creates an opportunity for self reflection, instead of a reason to get angry or disrespect an opponent.

Reward System:

As mentioned above, Karate is an individually ranked sport. Classes focus on self improvement. To grow, personal goals must be set. There is a reward system in place so that as a student practices, attends classes and puts forth dedicated efforts, they will eventually earn higher belt ranks. In between these larger goals there are always smaller goals to work towards, such as perfecting new punches, rotations, kicks, etc. Students are accustomed to working hard and feeling proud of their achievements even more so due to their extended effort and time put into their pursuits. Students learn through this system that the journey to success is not always quick and smooth. Disappointments are expected, but Karate students are taught to respect the process and handle their defeats appropriately, respectfully and with good sportsmanship.

Confidence:

As your child meets their goals and sees that their hard work and dedication is the key that led them to where they are and where they eventually will be in their Karate journey, their confidence will also begin to rise! There is no better feeling than knowing that you are the creator of all of your accomplishments! Your child’s increased self esteem will allow them to handle hardships more easily, not only in Karate, but in their academics, social, and home lives as well. Having confidence behind every kick, punch or block allows for acceptance of the gains and losses. When your child has confidence in their mental and physical attributions one disappointment won’t leave them feeling defeated, instead they will brush off their shoulders and try again, knowing that they have the will and ability within themselves to succeed again.

Communication:

Good sportsmanship is a mature quality to possess. It’s okay to not always feel 100% when a loss occurs, however, it is important to know how to handle these disappointments in a respectful and composed manner. Speak with your child about how they handle losses in their lives. From a failed test to a loss on the Karate mat, does your child blame the outcome on an opponent, get angry and teary eyed, or do they accept this defeat and vow to look at their performance and use this as material to work on bettering their future outcomes?
Karate helps your children to have the tools needed to benefit multiple areas of their lives. Working toward healthy goals and engaging in physical activity all while making friends holds the recipe to happiness and good sportsmanship!