How to Be a Good Karate Parent (Hint: Use These 6 Magical Words)

Imagine the horror:

  • You’ve been driving your kids to Karate class, tournaments and camps for years.
  • You’ve spent boatloads of money on uniforms, belts, gradings and equipment.
  • You’ve invested hundreds of hours to relentlessly push your kids to the limit.

Then one day…


They quit.

Just like that.

You’re heartbroken. Flabbergasted. Why?!

You try to talk to them. You try to convince them to continue. You tell them they’ve come too far to quit now – give it another shot, kiddo!

But nothing works.

When a child makes her mind up, there’s not much you can do really.


Naturally, you start to blame yourself.

“What did I do wrong? Why did this happen? Am I not a good parent? I bought the best trainers, the best gear, the best…”


Just stop it.

I’ll tell you what you did wrong:

You got so spellbound by performance, glory, spotless track records, pride, success and hard work that you forgot what TRULY matters.


Now repeat after me:

Kids are not a physical manifestation of my own unfulfilled childhood dreams.

Got it?


In my years as a Karate teacher and coach, growing up in a martial arts family myself, I’ve witnessed too many talented kids get their enthusiasm sucked dry by well-meaning parents who unknowingly treat their kids as human bricks in a game of parental glory.

And it sickens my stomach.

If your kids’ success – whether in Karate, hockey, academics or football – is just another status symbol for you, then you should prepare to face a sh*tstorm of consequences once they grow old enough to understand this.

But don’t worry.

There’s still hope left.

According to psychological research, there are scientifically proven phrases that parents can use with their kids to ensure they stay motivated and super happy with their performance – no matter if they’re playing piano, throwing balls or kicking ass.

The top three statements moms/dads can make as their kids perform are:

Before Performance

  • “Have fun.”
  • “Do your best.”
  • “I love you.”

After Performance

  • “Did you have fun?”
  • “I’m proud of you.”
  • “I love you.”

But wait.

It gets even better.

Elite coaches B. E. Brown and R. Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC once conducted a three decade long survey, asking successful college athletes what their parents said that made them feel best when they played sports as kids.

Guess what their #1 answer was?

A simple phrase consisting of six magical words:

“I love to watch you practice.”

That’s it.

Nothing aggrandizing like “you’re the champ,” or discouraging like “try harderNot even a deceptively supporting “here’s a couple of things you can improve.”


“I love to watch you practice!”

Simple, elegant and incredibly powerful.

This 6-word phrase, dear Karate parents, is the key to ensuring your kids will love to practice Karate for years to come – with grades, belts, accolades and trophies acting as natural byproducts – not goals.

The only thing your kids really want is your undivided attention and approval anyway.

So give it to them.

Tell them: “I love to watch you practice.”

Since they love you back, the rest will take care of itself.

Greatness cannot be forced upon anyone.

It grows from the joy of practice.

Coach less.

Love more.


  • Stacey Bell
    This becomes complicated when you're not only your children's parent, but also their coach. As a coach, you have to correct what they do, redirect behavior in class, analyze their performance in practice and competition, etc. It can be difficult to switch back to "Mommy mode." I will say, though, that I truly, truly LOVE to watch my sons practice. :)
    • Stacey-san, this is the exact reason ancient martial arts masters would often take their kids to train under other masters.
      • Jesse - I'm so glad you said that. I have a martial arts school almost 30 minutes away but I've been considering signing my 4 y/o daughter up across the street for multiple reasons, but the most important one is because she knows she has me wrapped around her finger.
  • RcikG
    If the joy goes out of my own karate practice I will also quit! After 30+ years that's the only reason to train that makes sense to me. Seems simple and obvious but when it comes to our kids we miss it every time! Good article and great words for children! Osu!
  • There was a funny article on the Onion a few years back : "Karate Lessons Give Child Self-Confidence To Quit Karate",2297/ All joking aside, I think it's important for children know that what they're doing gets recognized. I really like that phrase "I love to watch you practice." I have said this to some of my students, I hope their parents tell them too. It should be possible for us instructors to say this and still be the authority who corrects and pushes them.
  • David
    While I do agree with how to motivate or not, I would also say that a parent shouldn’t just allow a child to quit because its “not fun anymore”. Investigate why. When I was still a child doing Karate, probably around the age of 12/13, I too wanted to quit, because “it wasn’t fun anymore”. But actually I was lying. There was a kid there who always hurt the other kids (especially me) during Kumite. I was getting bullied at the Karate. I didn’t like it and I wanted to quit. At that time, my mom kept poking around to really find out why I wanted to quit, and thus I finally told her. She reminded me how much I use to love Karate, and how good I am at Kata. And said, “Are you really just going to give up, and let this kid take the sport you love so much away from you?” She didn’t force me to continue, but the next Wednesday when I had to go to training, I told her I wanted to carry on. That evening, I faced the guy, and stood my ground. Two weekends later was a tournament, and I had one goal, I had to beat him in Kumite. I did, and after that I never saw him again, and I enjoyed my Karate more than ever.
    • David-san, what a powerful lesson and story. Thanks for sharing!
    • Philipp
      Good story! But that is unless there really is an underlying reason. I too practised karate for the first time when I was 11. I was a somewhat energetic kid, hyperactive one might say and I loved martial arts for their awesomeness, but my purple belt teacher couldn't handle me and so I had to spend almost all lessons on the "penalty bench" for goofing around. It was no fun and I really didn't learn a thing. Thank god I rediscovered karate with 23, when I was better at controlling my energy. Back then it would have been a pain for both my senpai and myself if I stayed in the club.
      • Amy
        Thanks for shsring this. I just got my dayghter into a classlast year at 5 1/2 yrs. I wanted to share this part of me with her as well as understand the importance of self-defense. She initially gained the confidence she needed. But she does have a bit of trouble paying attention. Not to the point of being disruptive but the teacher gets very frustrated with her. I work with her at home and she knows the material; it just seems no matter how hard she tries its not good enough and its frustrating as a mom who is also into martial arts to see her loose confidence. I started as a teen in the adult class so never went through all this. Learning a lot of thing as a parent in the martialarts. This page as well as other parent advise has helped me a lot to keep her confidence up so she doesn't give up. I just dont want her to give up and loose interest before she gets a real chance to experience it.
    • Eddy Munoz
      I think this is what's going on with my son I am not too sure since it's my mother that takes him to karate because I just do not have the time I wish I did because I truly enjoy to watch him practice
      • Ryan
        I know it's hard sometimes to find time to take your kid to practice I get that I'm 16 I started when I was 6 and my instructor quit when I was like 12 and I never wanted to try something different but it was my worst mistake ever so the moral to my story is if your kid is tired of karate try talking to the instructor if they can change something up or look around at other schools because back then I only liked one style of karate but that's all I tried and after I got back into karate last year learning about all the pressure points it really changed my mind I love it so much now I wouldn't even think about quiting so maybe talk to your kid and see if it is the style they are doing sorry if I didn't make sense but I'm sure you can get something good out of this
    • SMith
      I agree with David.... My kids begged to sign up for a martial arts program when they were 8 and 10.... I said "Great lets do it, but , we have to agree on 1 thing..." they asked "what" and I told them " You can't quit until you graduate or he closes the school" They were excited... and had no idea what they had just committed to.... Here we are 7 years and 5 months later and it is part of their lives... They have never asked to quit... and they know I wouldn't allow it as I believe that allowing a undeveloped mind to make that choice breeds bad life choices later... It tells them when shit gets hard I get the shit out of town..... So now one helps teach and the other does class 4 nights a week..... fights every week... and does as his instructor tells him... Their instructor is like another father to them..... and I think that is a very good thing..... I will say the direct asshole method doesn't work... praise works better than critiquing everything.... That is the instructors job.... Mine is to pat them on the back and say hey good job...
  • I think parents/coaches/adults also forget that children find their passion by trying different things. Karate is often just one of the things they learn in a day of learning - reading, writing, math, catching and throwing balls. And they live wonderfully care-free lives devoid of "deeper meaning" and "passion" Kids are not little adults and do not "get" the part of karate which makes us oldies drag our weary bodies to the dojo every week. I'm sure I'm not the only one who returned to karate as an adult exactly because I wasn't forced/coerced into carrying on when I was a kid.
    • Thst said I entirely agree with the sentiment of your article.
  • Nicole
    To be honest, those magical 6 words can come from anybody, not just the parents some of my friends for instance.... or even me...... well, Many of my friends... sometimes they get lazy,(well you know, towards the end of the class) in fact from any sport, but sometimes we'd be ask to comment on each other's performances, well.... we'd look at the seniors and say 'wow, I just love it when he does his kata' and then he/she'd smile, and then when he/she was told to do it again, he'she'd do it 10 times better, because he knows that, what he has been doing is good, and he gains confidence to do it, I myself had experienced it before, when I did it the first time, it was okay, better than others, but just.. 'okay', when my friends told me 'wow, that was an amazing performance!' I was doing it 10 times better subconsciously without realizing it myself until my sensei pointed it out, the good thing about that is, you'd feel happy and you wanna do it again so you set a benchmark and now, is aiming for greater heights so you see.... THAT, my friend is called TEAMWORK
  • I guess a thing to add to it is to put the children in the mental driver's seat so to speak. After saying something like "I love to watch you practice" ask them about some specific things they did "I saw you did some sort of kick thing there, can you help me with that one, show me how it's done?" "What was that thing in the kata?" "What did you like the best today?" that kinda stuff, to engage them and do two things - 1. REALLY show them that you love their practice by referring to specific things that they actually did during practice but without putting any evaluation or judgement in it. 2. Making them think about what they were doing.
  • Florian Pean
    I'm the sensei and my son trains with me (he's 9 and a green belt 6th kyu), he's been rather lethargic with his training lately not putting in the effort which I know he's capable of, saying that karate is boring. So I tried this on my son last night but all I got was an unenthusiastic "great". However I spent the last ten minutes with the class doing some punches on focus pads broken up with runs to the other side of the dojo and push-ups, sit-ups, star jumps, squats, etc... and they all loved it. They were all trying their hardest to beat me and laughing their heads off. Who knew that they would enjoy a little fitness training so much?
    • David
      Personally my Sensei also uses Fitness to keep the kids focused. When I was younger, we also sometimes trained outside the dojo on the grass, just having fun with karate. Doing things like "Who can do the kata the fastest?" And let the kids be the judges. Or have mini kata/kumite tournaments - and let the kids be the judges of that too. They love it.
  • Great article. I took the liberty to translate it into Dutch for our website (mentioning this site as the source ofcourse). I not appreciated, let me know and I'll remove it.
  • Per N
    I absolutely agree. The kids feel your commitment by the time and attention you invest in them. However, I have 3 kids, and I also would like to spend some time practicing my self. But still - urging them to have fun and praising their advance is the job half done.
  • Tracey
    We have been using the "i love to watch you..." for about a year now and it works fantastically. I try and make it specific when i rather than a just "practice" i will mention a specific move or how quickly he was following instructions etc It can be hard as a parent to not get swept away in the whole "chasing glory" thing and for me, seeing some of the other parents at tournaments is always a good way to remind myself what I don't want to be like :) I have seen kids yelled at and shamed for not winning and the looks on their faces is just so sad. Win or lose, we hi 5 and praise an good attempt! Kids are young for so short a time, I really want my kids memories of me to be as their cheer squad and not their critic.
  • Den
    Excellent article as always Jesse , would it be OK for me to copy this as a printout for the parents at our club , with an accreditation of course ?
    • Go ahead, Den-san. Thanks for your support!
  • Florian Pean
    As far as tournaments are concerned I borrowed this idea from an article I read. If my kids enter the tournament and do their best they get $50.00, if they get a place they only get $25.00, because if they get a place then that is a reward in itself. I think it stresses the importance of doing your best rather than getting a medal.
    • Nicole
      it does work, but personlly I do not agree with that, makes the kid chasing for money instead glory.. which might cause some problems,
      • Per N
        You can award in many ways - not necessarily money. I believe that you should not distinguish between medals or not, but award any progress. The progress does not have to be measurable, but could be showing more enthusiasm. All of this is actually about bringing up our kids to be good humans, who trust themselves and other people.
  • Ramon
    This brought tears to my eyes. Great advice, Jesse-san! I think this is your best article ever.
    • Ramon-san, I'm glad you liked it. Thank you. Keep keepin' it real! ;)
  • I think that's great advice. "I love to watch you practice." Very nice. But still, many kids have many interests and some prefer team sports, some prefer performing in musicals, some like to play tennis, and weirdly, some want to play golf! Go figure. It's good to expose kids to lots of choices but mostly, you got to let them find their passions. I followed my son into karate and spent 8 happy years in the dojo. My son was never as enthusiastic. My daughter loved it since she joined with some friends and they all went to blackbelt together. Then, she abandoned it for jitsu in college. Go figure. John, a black belt at 50
    • Per N
      Well, aims of karate are striving to improve and learning to concentrate while doing it. And that implies to soccer, tennis, karate or whatever.
  • Nick
    Meh. Started wanting to study martial arts when 3 years old. Wanted to study for the real goal of martial arts training, personal defense. Parental accolades or interest was not a factor; neither was glory.
  • Marko
    Hi Jesse san, I have one question about Open categries in WKF? Why it was abandoned? Thank you for your answer. Greatings
  • Jesse-San!You really speak out of my heart. This article sums up the core of karate and mental aproach that we need to reach the peak of our characters. Well spoken my Bro!
  • It's an interesting balance between letting kids explore different things and follow their interests on the one hand, and on the other hand making sure they don't become "quitters" and too fickle to stick with something to completion.
  • DavidB
    Hi Jesse, great article. I have a question. Between work and injury I'm a bit of a post karateka, but it's my greatest wish that I get my son into training when he's old enough (he is 4 atthe mmoment). As someone raised into the martial arts, what other advice can you give for responsibly encouraging a young child into martial arts?
  • Cayle
    This article hit me hard. Really hard, I did karate from the ages of about 6 until i was 12. And for the longest time I loved it. It was the only thing I was good at. The only place I enjoyed being. The only people who made me feel accepted. BUT my parents would constantly tell me i was doing something wrong. Even though my progress should have stated otherwise, I would get home and then my dad would start "showing me how to do it properly" despite never doing anything other than watching. I hated it. I hated having my mother there, or my father. Because i knew they were sitting there, judging me. This carried on for years until i started not looking forward to the next karate session, but knew i had to go because my parents would shout at me if i didn't. When i finally got the courage to say i want to quit, my mum broke down in tears, called me a failure, shouted i never stick to anything (I was a blue belt at the time) She cared more about me becoming a black belt than I ever did. I didn't care what belt i was, i just enjoyed being there. Until my parents sapped the enthusiasm from me. I was forced to do every grading. Forced to go to every session. Until it was a chore. And now four years on. I want to go back. but I know i'd go back as a blue belt, and i don't want that. If i went back i would want to start again. From a white belt. And progress at my own pace. I'm not even sure if you can do that. But i want to.
    • Cayle, I'm coming into this discussion late. However, I wanted to pass along that... Your Karate is just that... YOUR Karate. Though we train together and, strive for the same likeness in our kata and techniques? Karate is an individual quest. Ultimately, YOU are the person who is on the mat alone. Be it for testing or in a tournament. It's you training, you fighting, you striving to be the best Karateka you can be. So, If you want to start over as a white belt? Have at it! Once you get your feet wet again, and, you feel more comfortable with where you are? You may be asked to train at a higher rank. In the end, Rank means nothing other than a guide for your Sensei to know what Kata and fighting techniques you should be training? Your belt is simply part of your Gi. Your Karate is what YOU make it. If you are diligent in your training and strive for excellence. Then your Karate will be strong and excellent. I know I'm long winded. But, the gist is... Train for You my friend and, you will train for the right reason. Osu!
    • Aeryn
      Yes,you can! You start again as a white belt! Simply by going to another martial arts dojo! That is if you do have negative thoughts about the one you previously attended. The new sensei will also help you to achieve your goals.
  • Debra
    My entire family except for my husband trains. I guess I have more of a laid back approach to my kids. I train because I want to train, I try not to live vicariously through my kids. It must work both kids have stuck with it, one is a shodan and the other is Ichkyu. I also teach a martial arts class for special needs kids that my own children help with. When my kids see how hard those students try and love training, they can't help but be motivated to continue their journey as martial artists and realize...who the heck cares about a rank?? It is just pure joy and fun!!!
  • KarateMama
    I never articulated this to my daughter, and just recently experimented with it in another context. She was having a bit of trouble with preparations for her Drama final exam and was getting a little discouraged. After she ran through her monologue for me, I said the six magic words. She's confident she aced the final.
    • KarateMama
      4.0 so she must've aced the final :-)
  • My son started martial arts at 4, and when he turned 10 announced he wanted to quit. I got out a calendar and we drew a circle around a date 6 months in advance and I talked to him about 'the dip' in any long term commitment and the habit to let time evaluate if we are just temporarily bored, reached our limit, or figured out our passions lie elsewhere. About 5 months passed and he worked one on one with a teenage black belt that pushed him hard, made him sweat, and he got in the car with shaking and aching muscles. I had watched. It looked brutal. I was about to say "You can quit now" when he grinned and said "That was the best workout ever!" The quit date came and went. He is 16 now and still goes to the studio as often as he can, competes, and leads others. The same 6 month test let him leave behind piano lessons, so it could have gone either way. I don't think your six magic words would have worked for him, but the research is fascinating. Thanks for the post.
  • Samantha Freeman
    Great advise Jesse-san, as a child i couldn't count the times on my hands i said 'dad, i want to quit', i was always hateful and angry about the fact that he continuously said no. In saying that, i always trained as hard as i could as soon as i made it to the dojo, sometimes that can be the issue for kids, is making it to the dojo. My dad would pack my bag and push me in the car for training 3 or 4 times per week, and i am ever grateful for it, as i wouldn't be in the position i am today with my karate. In the midst of me constantly wanting to give it up, he started karate as he didnt want me to stop doing it, and went on to get his black belt and start a dojo himself. Sometimes your parents are the most inspiring reason people do their sport, my dad certainly is!
  • Gary
    Jesse-san, Excellent article. At my dojo I can see the way some of the parents push their kids or (to me) even worse drop their kids off and leave and never watch them train. My dojo offers a family class and it's one of the highlights of my week to train along side my 7 year old son and take the drive home where we both other each other advice on our training.
  • Jackie torres
    That's really good advice, that's why I want to enroll my cousin in karate lessons, to boost his confidence but he refuses to go to a class! He says it's too hard and he knows he will be bad at it. I've tried to bribe him and told him that he can take it with a friend but nothing works, any advice on how to get him to at least try it?
  • Michael
    Meh. There is a lot of truth to this post, but also a whole lot it leaves out. So while I'm about to focus on the negatives of this post, know that I also understand it's positives. It's really simple to be critical of parents who are enthusiastically involved with their child's sport, it's always the easy and popular way to get heads nodding and claim the moral high ground. But every situation is different, so taking this approach isn't really all that helpful because it doesn't address the situation with any complexities. I've told me son he has a choice with martial arts. He can choose to go at his own pace, study what he loves, have fun, no pressure, all that good stuff, but IF he wants to do that, then competition really isn't the goal and should be mostly avoided. In competition you have to keep up, or else you're just reminded regularly how much better other people are than you at your sport, which isn't fun. On the other hand, IF he wants to really compete, then that's a whole new level of commitment, and with it comes responsibilities. It means that his father has to pay a lot of money for private lessons, for driving him all over the state, for tournament fees, for hotel nights, equipment and gas money. When he wants to compete, it means I'm spending something like $750 per month on his martial arts, and with that I have some demands. For that amount of money, I need to know that he's trying his best, and that he isn't afraid to be self-critical in an effort to improve where he can. If he's falling short on that, I need to know I can remind him of it. If that's too much to ask for $750 per month, then just don't compete, go have fun at your own pace. That's ALWAYS an option with me. Martial arts competition represents a chance for kids to learn something about the relationship between hard work and reward. When the martial arts teachers make villains of the parents who are trying to pass this lesson on to their children, which they often do, they're doing nobody any favors, especially not the kids they think they're protecting. In short, there is a balance here that can be struck. And after all, we all know the importance of balance, don't we.
  • Victor
    Jesse-san, Thank you for this very insightful article. I have to admit, I often find myself trying to push my older son to strive to achieve more than I did at his age, much to his dismay. For a while, he didn't even want to train with me. I needed this reminder to let him enjoy the journey, since I want it to be one he will continue for his entire lifetime. Thank you again!
  • John preece
    I tell my son i love him and proud of him lots. My takeaway from this article is "i love to watch you practice", genius. I do, but never tell him. My son went through i'm gonna quit a year ago so i started doing ut three times a week with him. He is now reenegsed and loves the sport again. I have lost 8 stone doing it with him. Hopefully its something we can share forever now :). He has now trained for four years and in april he is taking his 1st kyu at the age of 10 and a half :). Great article though.
  • KarateDad
    Dear Jesse This is a great article. I must tell you that I had shared this in my blog, but it was translated to my native language so that people can read it in my country. I hope it's okay with you.
    • Sure! Just link back to the original article.
  • Hi! Jesse i`m from Mèxico, i love your Blog, so i decided to make my own Blog for mexican KarateNerds. In my dojo a lot of parents are always looking at their smartphones during and after the class is over, and the poor children are always giving their best, and parents never cherrish them, and after i gave the parents a translation of this article, things started to change for better, i`d love, that you give me permission to translate some of your posts. sorry for my english... your Blog is awesome, incredible, and let me tell you that in Mexico lives a lot of Karate Nerds like you!!! Eres el mejor GRACIAS!!! (Your are the Best, THANKS)
  • Trish O Neill
    That is so true. My Dad watched me train every night as a junior and always told me to do my best before each competition. I never felt pressured and always knew someone was at the side of the dojo, standing proud. I hope he is watching me from above and still feeling proud.
  • sachin
    I'm only a green belt.but when I train with some of this kids I see what you talking about , parents do not understand what karate is all about
  • FRS
    I always tell my kids "Have fun and enjoy xyz" :-) that seems to work great! I remember that my parents always have said "do your best" and i realize pretty soon, that me "best" wasn't enough to win. I often finished in the top-ranks but never able to win. In retroperspective these results were really good and constant over a long time. But I had a hard time to get along with the fact that there will always a bunch of people better than you. So the "do your best" strongly annoyed me over all the years!
  • Tracey
    I am so heartbroken today. Yesterday was the first day back to karate for our second season. Myself, my 8 year old and my 6 year old all started together as white belts in the same mixed class. Last year we went to tournaments, summer camp, classes and workshops. I chose this as a sport because it was something we could all do together, up until yesterday everything was great until my 8 year old son announced that he doesn't want to go back, he wants to do skateboarding... ugh!!! What is he going to learn about discipline, respect, etc. doing skateboarding... should I force him to go back? I don't agree with letting a kid quit things year after year and make the parent pay to outfit them for every sport of their annual whim. If he quits does that mean we all have to quit? I just don't have time to run around to different sports in the week with my work schedule. I barely find time to do the 2 class a week karate. What do I do...
  • Great article and such an important part of success for kids! I'd like to add that ALL of the child's parents and caretakers should try to be consistent with their support. Sometimes we see situations where one parent is very supportive about an activity and another, for whatever reason, is not...OR sometimes the parents are supportive of the child, but tend to have a contentious relationship with the instructors! Consistency with support and modeling healthy relationships is so important.
  • Rose
    Hi Jesse, My 15 year old is at the top of his game in karate and he just quit a few weeks ago. He says he just doesn't enjoy it any more. I want to give him space and I agreed a break from karate is not a bad thing. I am hoping and praying he will go back because a talent like his should not be wasted! What should I do to gently urge him back to the dojo?
  • Alexander Vasolla
    Excellent Article Jesse-san, It is difficult finding the balance when one is both the instructor and the parent, but very helpful way of thinking.
  • Hello i am practicing Taekwondo since one year now. ?i am totally a Taekwondo Nerd & just found your really inspiring Videos and Posts. You are an Inspiration for me as well. All Martial Arts are one family. Thank you for your passion! All the best
  • Me and my wife recently signed up our son for karate lessons, and I think that having some tips for us would be really helpful! I'm a huge fan of your tip to encourage practice and helping our son build his love for karate and continue to work hard. I'm going to have to share your article with my wife, and hopefully we can become some great karate parents with your tips!
  • Jacintha
    I don't know if this is still being monitored. I'm having issues, not with my child but with the karate teacher. He has said that under no circumstance is any of his students to learn any other form of MA (including wrestling or brazilian jiu jitsu) and anyone found doing it will be asked to leave. What do you guys think about this? Another issue, My child loves karate and does very well. Unfortunately, due to multiple ankle and foot injuries (torn tendon, dislocated toe etc) has been advised to take a few months off ... it was ok at the beginning, but now the teacher has started talking bad about my child to everyone. It all seems so sad to me. I need some perspective. I hope someone can help!
    • todd
      If your "teacher" is speaking bad about your child in front of others, confront them, & LEAVE. Thats totally not acceptable. Secondly, we cross train in Jits ourselves (we hired a Jits Instructor to come in and train us), our style of Karate is mostly Stand-up. Our goal was to make all our students well rounded in self-defense and adding Jits to our program has done that. Our students can now defend themselves standing up or on the ground...again if your Instructor is against that...LEAVE. Your priority is your childs safety not your Sensei's feelings. Good Luck!
      • Jacintha
        Thanks so much Todd. We've had a very teary few weeks. My child says that he ruined Karate and does not want go to any other Karate school in town. I live in a very small town, where all the karate schools are intertwined and interlinked. I feel no matter where I put my child, there will not be any feeling of comfort. To top everything off, this "sensei" is also a PE teacher at the school, so there is constant exposure. Right now, we have taken a clean break from the Karate community here, and have started BJJ. It's heart breaking, but as you said, the emotional and physical well being of my child is a higher priority than the "sensei"'s feelings. Thanks so much again
        • todd
          If this Sensei is also a PE teacher at a local school, you can bet he's treating others the same way... He should be reprimanded or fired for not being able to effectively deal with those he's supposed to be instructing. Good thing you broke free....he'll give all of us a bad name!
    • Smith
      Okay.... first.. you should be able to train in whatever you want to... Second if your child is injured.. screw the instructor.. Find another school..... Your child may start over but he/she will be better off in the long run..
      • Jacintha
        Thank you so much. I feel like since I have been a Karate mom for so long, I began to accept all kinds of things that I usually wouldn't. This whole situation is very unhealthy and the "dojo" is becoming cult like. Expressing an opinion or not doing well in tournaments isn't welcomed and you are shunned (and in my case, shouted at) by the "sensei", and therefore all the other students (and moms as well). It's becoming too much drama - and I'm sorry, as much as we love karate, it's just a kids karate class! All in all, it leaves a bitter feeling. I am glad that my child has chosen to break free. Thank you for your input and support.
        • Smith
          My kids have a very strict instructor....he gets upset and punishes them when need be.... but he never talks down to them...
  • Leslie Maidenberg
    My kid just got his black belt and wants to quit because his friend quit. While one side of me would love to stop paying and driving, his only other interest is playing video games and watching youtube (he's 11). If I didn't push him to go to karate he'd be on an ipad or game console. So, until he develops a passion or interest to which he's willing to commit, video games not counted, I'll be choosing the activity.
  • hi Jesse ! tnX for this great article , i do agree with you .
  • HI JESSE SAN, I loved your article and with your permission would like to send this article to my student's parents, Also being in India and the culture and lifestyle being much different then other western countries what I say may not be relevant to them but it is here. Out here the parents most of the time judge their own kids in comparison to the winner of a tournament and quits karate for their kids not only that most of the time they are the ones influencing their kids to leave this noble art just because they lost an event, I just ask those parent during their kids schooling it may many times occur that they are not alway ahead of their class and some or other kids are better in studies do they go ahead leave studying and tell their kids to pursue something else? They do not. They must take Karate-Do as well that seriously like studies, and the their whole outlook would change and possibly their attitude as well. I guess that's all do let me know if I made some sense.- Thanks

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