Karate without the Kid

Ripple Effect Martial Arts just released its updated schedule of karate classes. Not much has changed or shifted. But discerning eyes will note the addition of two more Adult Karate classes. It begs the question, what exactly is “adult karate?”

Technically, it’s karate without kids under 14. But that doesn’t really define it. Essentially, it’s a different way for adults to experience instruction.

Most of the adults out on the floor during regular karate classes are parents (that goes for me, too), taking belt-level classes and learning curriculum with their kids. These have the mat chats, where students big and small take a knee and hash out ideas about discipline, honesty, courage, and other Black Belt character traits.

These classes are also generally much larger, and thus the approach to instruction, drills, etc. is more uniform and geared toward the young. Warm-ups may start with a game. Classes end with instructors calling students up for special recognition. Report cards. Job lists. Word-of-the-Month worksheets. These are the building blocks of the school’s character development program, which is invaluable to parents and critical in boosting kids’ self-esteem.

Just limbering up before putting some adults through the paces.

Adult classes ratchet up the discipline, generally for three reasons:

  1. Classes are smaller. Most adult classes are later at night or earlier in the morning, and hence you really have to make the decision to be available (yes, it’s worth it). Whether the focus is on sparring, technique or conditioning, instructors are able to really crack the whip and give very individualized guidance.
  2. The focus is old school, and the intensity is, well, intense. Adult classes are geared to deliver a consistent physical and technical challenge from beginning to end. No breaks for taking a knee. (You might get a break for water.) The instructors design each class to combine technical training in kicks, blocks and counters with a hardcore, high-intensity gym workout that builds strength and endurance.
  3. The interactions are more direct. Once during pad drills in an adult class I was partnering with an orange belt I hadn’t seen in awhile. He was about 30 pounds lighter than me, several belt ranks below. I therefore dialed down the power on my sidekicks out of a (misguided) sense that I should take it easy on him. “You know,” he said, “I bet you could kick me much harder than that.” He was there—at an adult class—for the challenge. I let fly with the kicks, and he dug into the mat to absorb them. We both got so much more out of the experience.

So if you’d love the chance to throw kicks into adults for 45 minutes and feel extra sore the next day, try out a class without the kids.

Check out the full schedules of Ripple Effect Martial Arts adult and belt-level karate classes in Fort Collins and Longmont at mykarateclasses.com.

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