Northern Karate Schools started in 1972. Since that time, we have seen a dramatic shift in children beginning their martial arts training. ‘Back in the day’ classes were much longer, and the intervals of skill learning and repetitions lengthy, but well-received. Students of all ages often stayed after class and did additional practice on their own, rather being bundled and rushed off to the next activity. There is no question that we have progressed from a physical (soccer, baseball or ball hockey outside) to a more cerebral culture (spending time on computers/smart devices, or playing video games). It’s a simple fact: children are wired differently now. Perhaps smarter, or more tech savvy, yet unfit, poorly coordinated, and with shorter attention spans. There’s also a growing number of ‘special attention’ students. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders we encounter in Northern Karate Schools, and without taking steps, this problem continues through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, an inability to control behavior, hyperactivity, and mood swings.
NKS’ programs offer coping tools to help students and parents better manage these and other conditions. Additionally, as change and unpredictability can cause additional stress, we provide structure and stability, along with repetitive, purposeful movements that can help children focus. Stripe and belt incentives celebrate individual, rather than team, achievement and serve as a path toward self-esteem and self-confidence. Providing a supportive environment and responding to difficulties in a kind and caring manner, while expecting personal best is a must. Martial arts practice is about overcoming challenges, developing skills, and improving the quality of life.