How to Get Your Kids to Set Goals.. and Achieve Them!

We talk a lot about “black belt training.” It’s something kids learn about even as they earn their white belt. It’s all about goal-setting, and a kid’s first (karate) goal could run the range of:

  1. Throwing a punch or a kick
  2. Showing off in front of their parents
  3. Getting a smile and clap from Mom and Dad
  4. Getting applause from a whole group of their peers

These are simple (though still wonderful) goals, and they set kids up to achieve more and more. When you get involved in martial arts, get your kids training to become black belts, you gain several advantages when it comes to goal-setting, including:

A structured curriculum: In a black belt program, kids gain skills and strength gradually, with rewards all along the way. For example, you start from one push-up. At black belt, you realize 100. Obviously, this doesn’t happen overnight, but over the course of months and years, with the guidance of certified black belt instructors who know the curriculum first-hand. All this allows kids to have clear milestones to work towards and set goals for achieving the next level while keeping them excited and engaged.

An entryway to competition: Competitive events range from races on the mats as a warm-up before class to board breaking and tournament forms and sparring matches. These are exciting events, and parents can take part by cheering from the benches or (even better) by joining their kids in class. Black belt instructors help your kids set competitive goals, for instance just signing up for their first tournament. Parents and kids can then set a goal to get first place in forms and sparring, or join the Demo or Competition teams. The black belt journey as a whole helps students work hard to gain distinction (and self-confidence) through competition.

Goal-setting exercises: Our black belt training curriculum incorporates goal-setting exercises, worksheets, evaluations and discussions (mat chats). Kids can learn how to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) and develop a plan to achieve them.

A supportive environment: Every black belt student-in-training needs support. Coaches (that’s you, parents), instructors and fellow students can provide guidance, motivation and accountability to help kids stay focused on their goals. You have to see it to experience it, but parents of black belts can reflect back on this black belt community helps reinforce the values that we teach from the mat. Applause, smiles, high-fives are just the beginning.

Overall, martial arts provide a structured and supportive framework for kids to set and achieve goals, fostering discipline, self-confidence, and personal growth along the way. If you’re curious about what the black belt journey could mean for your child’s goal-setting habits, get started here.

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