Does your child balk at taking martial arts classes? Here are sure-fire ways to get him or her to look forward to every lesson and eagerly want to learn more and more.

If your child doesn’t like the idea of taking karate or other-style martial arts lessons, this might possibly be traced to some negative perception of the martial arts that he or she has picked up from somewhere.

It’s your opportunity as a parent to undo this perception.

I have studied martial arts in a variety of schools over the years and have a karate brown belt.

If your child is afraid or reluctant to take karate lessons, never become authoritarian with a growling “Well you’re gonna take karate whether you like it or not!”

The goal is to make your child feel good about martial arts — so good, in fact, that they never want to stop attending classes — even as an adult.

Never tell your child they must take karate “because I said so.”

This won’t cut it, and relying on this easy, quick response will fail to educate kids about the importance of martial arts.

“I’m afraid of getting hurt.”

Explain that more common physical activities, such as bike riding and playground equipment, have a much higher risk of injury.

Physical activities that involve wheels or a lot of running also rank high for injuries.

And according to the Centers for Disease Control, football, baseball, basketball and soccer comprise 80 percent of ER visits for kids 5 to 14.

Other high risk sports are gymnastics, figure skating, skiing and equestrian.

Tell your child that unlike many other sports, in karate, students wear protective padding, and work out on mats (stay away from martial arts schools that don’t use mats or a padded floor).

“I don’t want to fight.”

Explain that there is no angry fighting in martial arts, but there may be fighting on a basketball court or baseball diamond when kids get into arguments.

Learning self-defense, and sparring according to strict rules, are not the same as “fighting.” Tell your child that anger is not permitted in karate class.

“I don’t want to get beaten up.”

Explain that fighting, anger and hostility are forbidden in karate schools, and that karate lessons will help your child defend himself or herself against school bullies.

Ask your child why they are reluctant or afraid to study martial arts.

Chances are, they have seen martial arts in a video game or movie and thinks it’s full of violence.

However, they may also be fearful of failure.

Explain that in martial arts, there is no pressure to score points or make a perfect shot, and that it will be fun. Act enthusiastic.

If your child is still leery, ask the instructor to allow you and them to observe several classes first.

If your child, after you have tried all the tactics in this article, still feels discouraged about taking karate lessons, don’t give up.

Sign them up anyways; martial arts is something that your child will have to do because it is very good for him, just like kids must do other things they don’t want to do, like homework and taking baths.

But remember, always act enthusiastic rather than “because I said so!”

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/Kaderov Andrii