Karate and Martial Arts Teach Discipline and Confidence


Remembering Karate Lessons as a Child

The martial arts saved my life as a young child.  I grew up in one of the roughest parts of Brooklyn, New York.  During the 1980’s, there were a lot of street gangs, poor student attendance in schools and people feeling like they had no hope.  I can remember popping in a Steven Seagal movie and feeling like I was in a completely different world. For many kids in the 80’s, karate movies helped us to cope with everyday life.  I can remember asking my mother to enroll me in karate class.  Mostly all my friends were taking karate lessons. If you weren’t enrolled in martial arts program, you were more of the odd ball. I wasn’t any good in baseball, football or soccer.  However, when I stepped into the dojo, my sensei (teacher) said that I was a natural. He said that my punch was given with such force that it knocked the wind out of him while he was wearing protective gear.  I was only 15 at that time.  He said that if I stick with his program, I could make it all the way to my black belt. After school, most of the kids in my high school would go gang banging and driving around in cars causing trouble. I would head straight to the gym and start practicing my kata.  A kata is a training exercise of the martial arts. My sensei kept the dojo open 14 hours a day.  He was a man that loved karate and teaching people about the art that saved his life as well. When I put my feet on the mat inside of the dojo, I felt something electric flowing through me. It was part spiritual and part sport.  I found that sparring with my friends in karate helped me to gain confidence in myself. When you win a round in martial arts, you begin to see that you can accomplish a lot.  It is not easy to do karate as an art. It demands perfection in punches, kicks and blocks. One slips up can cost you a winning round on the mat and not being able to achieve your next belt rank.  Karate demands perfection. When I got older, I served in South Korea for awhile in the US Army.  I continued studying taekwondo with the South Korean soldiers (KATUSA).  It was amazing being able to study in Asia with some of the top taekwondo instructors.  I quickly learned that around 80% of all Koreans take taekwondo in school. Contact sports often save people’s lives that often have nowhere else to turn.  Even boxing legend Mike Tyson spent a lot of his childhood in the boxing gym.  In many cases, contact sports save people’s lives.  It’s often cheap to be enrolled in a contact sport.  You often only need boxing gloves and a uniform.  You can usually get started for under $100.00. Self-defense classes often bring out the best in us.  It gives us confidence that when he walks outside of our home, we can protect ourselves from those that wish to harm us. You never know when your self-defense techniques will come in handy.

A Brief History of Taekwondo

  1. Taekwondo started in Korea.
  2. It focuses on kicks, spinning kicks and jumping.
  3. You need to be fast in Taekwondo.
  4. Works best in competition.
  5. Developed in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
  6. Korea Taekwondo Association is the oldest leading organization for this martial art.

Karate is a martial art form that is practiced around the world. There are many different styles that are practiced in various parts of the world.  It comes mainly from Korea and Japan.  Karate and Kung Fu celebrity actors allowed karate to become more popular because of movies.  Some popular movies that cause many people to take an interest in karate and kung Fu are:

  • Enter the Dragon (Starring Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris).
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Ip Man
  • Fist of Legend (Starring Jet Li)
  • The Karate Kid (Starring Ralph Macchio)
  • Above the Law (Steven Seagal)
  • Blood Sport (Jean-Claude Van Damme)

Karate takes a lot of discipline. It involves a lot of stretching, jogging, technique and repetition. Once you learn a move, its important to practice it. Every sensei will teach their students to practice and to show up for class regularly.  Students that are not serious about this martial art will often fail and fall behind the rest of the class.  One of the best life lessons that karate taught me was to always run away from trouble. Never stick around for a fight.  Only use karate when necessary and all attempts to run away from trouble have been exhausted. Traditional karate is a lot different from what you see in the movies.  Karate is more about self-discipline than throwing kicks and punches on a mat.  When you are with other students, you are all striving to reach your next belt level. Once you reach the level of a master, you can open your own karate dojo or continue to practice this art for life.  There are many karate masters that practice way into their senior years in life.

Learning More About Kung Fu

  • Kung Fu is a Chinese Martial Art.
  • It is also called wushu and quanfa.
  • Bruce Lee made Kung Fu known throughout the world with his movies.
  • Kung Fu requires patience, time and energy to complete.
  • The most popular forms of Kung Fu are Wing Chun (Studied by Bruce Lee), Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi.
  • Kung Fu is known to trick the opponent and a martial arts expert must move fast.

What is Judo?

  • Considered a modern martial art.
  • Created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano.
  • It is often referred to as an olympic or combat sport.
  • Judo wants you to take your opponent down to the ground.

The Most Famous Kung Fu Masters of All Time:

  • Yip Man
  • 8 Wang Ziping
  • Du Xinwu
  • Zhang Ce
  • Li Jinglin
  • Sun Lutang
  • Shang Yunxiang
  • Li Shuwen
  • Ip Man
  • Bruce Lee

Shotokan Karate

This is a form of karate developed by Gichin Funakosh.  He was a karate master that lived and died between the years 1868 to 1957.  Gichin was known for his martial arts and after his death, his students kept on teaching karate to future generations.  He also founded karate-do (open hand). There are 3 parts to Shotokan Karate. These are: Kumite, kata and kihon.  Strong stances allow for better control over kicks and punches.  As you begin to obtain your brown and black belt, you begin to give ju-jitsu like techniques. There are 20 principles to Karate that are invented by Gichin Funakoshi.  These include, but are not limited to sympathy, reverence, endurance and serenity.  A person’s rank is used to show a person’s expertise.  The more training that a person has, the higher belt that they will wear around their waste. Advancing in Shotokan depends a lot on a person’s ability to perfect their kata.  If they can demonstrate their kata to their sensei with perfection, they will advance to the next belt level.

Is Karate for Kids a Good Idea?

Parents often wonder if sending their kids off to a karate lesson is a good idea.  They often wonder if the discipline in karate will help them to get better grades in school and perhaps protect them from harm in the classroom. Sending your kids off to karate is usually a good idea since your child will soon learn the importance of proper health, exercise, discipline, strength and confidence. If your child is a bit timid, karate will bring out self-confidence. It is known for building close friendships as well.  If your child is looking for a few good friends, karate often brings students together in order to bond well with a martial art that keeps everyone centered on themselves and helping other people.

Is Self Defense Exactly the Same as Karate?

Self defense is not the same as karate for many different reasons.   Learning karate takes a great deal of disciplining and advancing in a belt structure system that starts you out as a beginner and advances you to an expert.  It requires certain techniques.  People often don’t take karate in order to learn how to defend themselves. Instead, Karate is taken more as an art form and for many, considered to be more of a spiritual belief system.  Although Karate can defend you in times of trouble, it is not purposely intended to teach people how to do self-defense. Self defense is teaching someone a technique or move that would fight off an attacker or aggressor that would come to try and harm you.  There is no one style of self defense that works.  Many self defense techniques are taught by people that have never taken karate before or any form of martial arts.  Sometimes it could be taught by a neighborhood police association or a security company.  There is no specific rank structure.

Kickboxing Schools

Kickboxing schools are like Karate training in the sense that they teach you self defense using punches and kicks.  It was developed using boxing and karate combined.  Man, men and women use kickboxing for self-defense, exercise and as a sport.  The reasons for doing kickboxing are many.  If you have an interest in kickboxing, you should plan on paying around $100.00 per month.  You can often train in a gym with people of your own age group.

Originally kickboxing began in Japan during the 1950’s.  It made its way into the United States during the 1970’s.  Many people look at kickboxing as a sloppy way of doing karate.  Karate is known for practice in perfecting katas. 

If you are looking to drop weight fast, many people see kickboxing as a high intense workout. You often must move your body around nonstop for around an hour at a time. This may involve doing pushups, sit-ups, hitting a punching bag or simply sparring with someone.

If you are looking to tone your body, kickboxing is often the best way to do it.  You often feel extremely tired after your session has been completed. 

Kickboxing also give you a great deal of confidence. You may find that when you are in the street, you fear what may or may not happen to you.  Perhaps you have been robbed before or seen someone else get mugged. You may have a fear inside of you that wants to feel like you can handle yourself if you got into an intense physical altercation with someone.  The self defense moves that you learn will make you feel that you can become much stronger over time.

If you find that your life is loaded with stress, kick boxing could put you in an area where you can feel more relaxed.  Kickboxers often say that after an intense workout, they feel like they were able to let go of anger and pain inside of their heart.  They often feel like they can sit with friends and family with more patience.

When you are in public, your body will show that you are physical fit. This also gives you a lot of confidence when it comes to dating and trying to attract the opposite sex to you. You will often find that your stomach and arms because more muscular over time. 

Kickboxers don’t have any specific attire that they must wear when training. In karate, students must wear a gee and have a belt around their waist to show their years of training and accomplishments.  Kickboxers usually train in sweatpants or shorts.

Martial Arts Sparring

Martial arts sparring is training for self-defense or competition in the ring. Its purpose is to prepare the student for real life encounters that they will experience in life.  Sparring often lasts between ten minutes and 30 minutes. Some people go longer, but its most advised to give yourself adequate rest.  You can easily get tired even after spending ten minutes sparring. 

Sparring helps you to better your skills and movements that your teacher may have taught you. This allows you to see how your movements will work on someone else that you are training together with.  There are often rules to sparring such as: no hitting below the waste, no hits to the head, no real force punches and wearing your head and hand gear.  Sometimes a referee is put between the two people sparring in training. This is often common where the karate instructor will have his students sparring in front of the other students in the class.

Martial Arts Exercises

In martial arts, there are many exercises in which you will use to strengthen your body and mind.  Here are some of those exercises:

  • Punching a rice bag.
  • Knuckle pushups.
  • Riding a Bike.
  • Plank Jacks.
  • Speed bag drills.
  • Jump Rope.

Who Are the Most Famous Karate Masters of All Time?

  • Chuck Norris
  • Jigoro Kano
  • Gichin Funakoshi
  • Helio Gracie
  • Royce Gracie
  • Mas Oyama
  • Chojun Miyagi
  • Masahiko Kimura

Cheap Ways to Learn Karate

  • If you are on a tight budget and can’t afford to pay for karate lessons, here are some cheap ideas on how to learn:
  • Read books on karate.
  • Watch YouTube Videos.
  • Practice with friends that already take karate.

Martial Arts Tournaments

Tournaments take place all over the United States. You will find that entering one can be challenging if your karate instructor doesn’t believe that you are ready. A tournament means that you are often going for a trophy or financial prize.  If you win the competition, you get recognition from your peers and karate schools all over the world. Many karate tournaments take place all over the world.  Getting into one often requires you to be at your peak level of fitness and you must prove your ability.  Most tournaments require the participant to be a black belt. 

Tournaments are often popular with karate instructors. If you win the tournament, you will also acquire many new students that will hear about your winning and see you as the best person to learn from. 

Self Defense Tips

Always be observant when walking down the street.  Watch who is around you.

Don’t wait around for trouble. Run away when you can.

Always aim to hit your attacker one time.  You may not get a second chance to hit him again.

Call 911 if you feel that your life is in danger. 

Don’t chase your attacker.  Let them run away and then call police for help.

See if others are around to help you.  Look for people that can assist you.

Don’t try to show your attacker that you are stronger than them. Get away when you can.

As you can see, karate has many ways in which it can be used.  It is interesting to see how karate has evolved over the past century. Movies are making karate become more popular.  It is obvious that we live in a world that wants to experience the martial arts.

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