Courtesy in the Martial Arts: Courtesy at Home (for Kids!!!)

Anyone who’s ever been in a karate class or even just walked into the karate school knows that courtesy is at the forefront. You’re greeted with courtesy, you’re answered with courtesy. It’s an essential element of the atmosphere at the karate school.

But how does karate teach courtesy at home? Does it translate?

It does.

The reason is reward. When kids bow to an instructor, the instructor bows back. A raised hand gets a high five. A good kick gets an approving nod. Kids notice.

Parents can encourage this at home. When your kid does anything on their own initiative (gets up one time, does their homework, picks up their clothes and toys, brings their dishes to the sink, practices karate), give them a high five and a word of thanks.

On the other side of the coin, when your kids misbehave, yell, make a mess, speak with disrespect, be courteous in your response. Of course this doesn’t mean letting them off the hook; but there’s a courtesy even in punishment (or correction) that will leave a far more positive impression.

If you’ve ever seen a kid get in trouble in karate, you’ll see the instructors bring courtesy and discipline into the same sphere. The idea isn’t to express anger or frustration, but simply to address what’s wrong. That attitude impresses kids on the mat. It impresses them at home, too.

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