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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Karate

Updated: Apr 11

Photo by Perfect Angle Photography

Starting a new hobby, learning a new skill, and taking on a new challenge are all valuable ways to improve not only your quality of life but may in fact enhance your overall health and well-being. But beginning a new endeavor can be intimidating, especially when it comes to making the decision to begin training martial arts. This is why there are a few things I often hear from students once they have begun their karate training that might be helpful to you if you're considering taking up karate training.

Everyone Is Super Helpful:

One of the most common comments I hear from students after they have attended their first few classes is how surprised they are that everyone at the dojo is so friendly and helpful, and not only are the instructors knowledgeable and kind, but the other students are as well. I think sometimes we build up in our mind that because the topic of class is learning to punch and kick, the people involved must be unkind and hard to deal with. I've been around martial arts my whole life and I can honestly say that those involved in traditional karate training are some of the kindest and most humble people I've ever encountered; and because so many of them have a deep love for Karate and a passion for sharing it with others, they are often more than excited to teach new students and welcome them in to the karate family at the dojo.

So if you're considering taking up training, don't let your uncertainty about the people involved keep you from giving it a try. Traditional karate is specifically designed upon the foundational principles of humility so you'll feel right at home in a karate school.

No one expects you to be Bruce Lee:

One comment I hear often when discussing the idea of beginning karate training is, "I can't do that I'm too old" or something similar to that referring to the limitations a person has and their perception that those limitations mean they shouldn't even give it a try.

The truth is, no one is a master on their first day and the instructors know that when you begin your karate training you're looking to improve on many physical aspects in life. Flexibility, strength, balance, and focus might not be among your strong suits now, but as you progress through your training you will find that all of those things will improve over time.

The best part about traditional karate is that it's great for all ages and can be continued well into a person's senior years. This is because when you're training karate, your sills and abilities are not being compared to the skills and abilities of other students, rather they are being compared to your abilities on your first day. The slow pursuit of self improvement over the course of time is exactly what traditional karate is all about.

If you're considering beginning your karate journey, I encourage you to put your doubts aside and just try. Give yourself some grace and allow yourself to be a beginner and you'll enjoy your training much more.

Decreased Stress and Anxiety:

Another common comment students who train karate often mention is that they have noticed that their levels of stress and anxiety have begun to decrease over time. There are so many reasons this can happen but some of the main factors involved in helping to reduce these negative factors have to do with the increased physical fitness you will gain from your karate training. Improved strength and flexibility are huge factors in reducing stress and anxiety and there's nothing quite like attending a good karate class after a stressful day. You'll leave feeling accomplished and I often have students tell me that even their sleep quality has even improved.

Another reason you may notice stress reductions is due to the nature of learning a new skill and challenging yourself through a new endeavor. This requires focus and concentration, which is why many students feel like they have had a mental vacation while they were in class. The cares of the world seem to fade as you focus on the skills in class and giving yourself a chance to get a break from the stress of the world for a few hours a week is something that's sure to make you feel refreshed.

Finally, there's something to be said for community. Sure, joining a gym can give you some physical benefits too, but when you're in your karate class you will be gathered together with a group of like-minded people who all share a common goal. As you progress through the journey to black belt and beyond the other students begin to feel like family, and over time you'll develop friendships that go far beyond partnering up for a few punch and kick drills.

Better Overall Physical Health:

Making the decision to begin training karate can be one of the best health decisions you will make. Those who engage in multiple classes per week find that their weight decreases and their muscle mass increases. I've heard students tell me that that have noticed their clothes fitting baggy and they've lost inches in their waist and thighs. This is due to the many drills involved in training. Proper body mechanics and movement will be stressed in class and core strength is a large part of becoming proficient at the karate skill set.

The long-term physical benefits of karate training are second to none, so if you're looking for a fun way to enhance your overall physical health I encourage you to take that first step and just start. You'll have fun along the way, meet great people, and over time you'll find you're in the best shape of your life.

Learning To Overcome Obstacles:

Because learning karate is a vehicle toward self-improvement, there are some challenges within the curriculum that are designed to help you learn to face a challenge and work through it. These obstacles can range from memorizing a difficult pattern, learning proper footwork, and practicing techniques with a partner; and they are all designed to give students manageable challenges that will improve confidence as the skill is practiced to proficiency.

This can help you have a more positive outlook on challenges outside of karate as well, because as you become more confident through practice, you're learning that sometimes the best way to overcome a challenge is to put in a bit of effort and determination as you keep working through the difficult parts; and that's something that can go far to help you reach more goals more often.

As you can see there are so many positive benefits of traditional karate training and I hope I've been helpful in giving you some insight into how traditional karate can help you gain confidence, build friendships, and achieve some pretty impressive goals.

~Sensei Jen

For more information about our traditional karate program or to get started on your karate journey, we'd love to hear from you.

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